Billionaire Issa brothers buy fast food restaurant chain Leon EG Group bought the fast food chain Leon Restaurants for £100m. (iStock Image)
EG GROUP’S billionaire brothers have now bought fast food chain Leon Restaurants for £100m, just months after acquiring supermarket chain Asda from US owners Walmart.
The Isaa brothers, Mohsin and Zuber, whose parents moved to the UK from Gujarat in the 1970s, own the Euro Garages chain of petrol stations as part of their EG Group business.
Leon, founded by John Vincent, Henry Dimbleby and chef Allegra McEvedy in 2004, pitches itself in the category of ‘naturally fast food’ with a focus on creating a healthy menu that tastes good, in a sustainable way.
Mohsin and Zuber Issa said Leon is a fantastic brand that they have long admired.
“We have a huge admiration for the business that John and the Leon team have built over the years, and firmly believe that their culture and values closely align with our own.
“The acquisition of Leon presents EG Group with a fantastic opportunity to further develop the menu offer, the various concession formats including drive-throughs, and will enable us to significantly build on the existing network by exploring opportunities across our own sites along with other strategic locations,” they said.
With an extensive network of over 70 restaurants, Leon has 42 company-owned restaurants operated on leasehold locations, with a strong presence in London as well as other large cities across the United Kingdom.
In addition, it has 29 franchised sites at key strategic transport hubs (mainly airports and train stations) across Britain and five other European markets, principally the Netherlands.
“In some ways this is a sad day for me, to part company with the business that I founded 17 years ago in Carnaby Street (London). But I have had the pleasure of getting to know Mohsin and Zuber across the last few years. They have been enthusiastic customers of Leon, going out of their way to eat here whenever they visit London,” said John Vincent.
“They are decent, hard-working business people who are committed to sustaining and further strengthening the values and culture that we have built at Leon, a business that has my dad’s name above the door.
“Mohsin and Zuber will not just be superb custodians of the Leon brand, through EG Group they have the vision, investment appetite, food service expertise and network scale to take Leon to many more people and places,” he said, adding that he is confident the brand will ‘flourish’ and expand its appeal outside of London under the new ownership.
Prior to the addition of the Leon store network, EG Group said it already operates over 700 food service outlets in the UK and Ireland of which 310 operate from standalone premises.
Despite the impact of COVID-19, the company said its food service business accounted for 46 per cent of the gross profit of the UK and Ireland division in 2020. The group’s food service brand portfolio includes other third-party brands such as Starbucks, KFC, Burger King, Greggs, Sbarro, Cinnabon and Subway.
Founded in 2001 by the Issa family, the EG Group employs over 44,000 people, working across more than 6,000 sites across Europe, US and Australia. The brothers, Mohsin and Zuber, were both conferred with a CBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List 2020, for their contribution to business and charity.