Naturally Fast Food brand, LEON, recently opened its first branch in Temple Bar. Managing Director Stuart Fitzgerald tells us more about their mission to make it easy for people to eat and live well.
First off, Stuart, can you tell us more about your approach to ‘Naturally Fast Food’ and your mission to make fast food good food?
The concept for LEON came out of a simple question – why can’t fast food be good food? Traditional fast food makes you sleepy and when you wake up you don’t feel good, so at LEON we’ve created what we believe fast food would be like in heaven. As our menu is based on the benefits of the Mediterranean diet and lifestyle, we use lots of plants, grains and pulses, small quantities of meat and fish and of course an occasional treat ….or two! Our mission is to make it easy for people all over the world to eat and live well.
What do you think makes the menu at LEON unique?
We serve our food super quick and it tastes delicious, but our menu is built on natural flavours and ingredients. That’s the real differentiator. LEON is everything you love about fast food, without the guilt. The LEON menu includes our take on fast food classics like GFC (gluten free chicken nuggets) and the LOVe Burger, a 100% vegan quarter pounder which is our best-selling menu item in Ireland. I think the other thing that makes our menu unique is the breadth of our range. For breakfast, we serve everything from toasted muffins filled with ingredients like halloumi and smashed avocado to amazing porridges, egg pots and breakfast boxes. For lunch and dinner, we have a variety of large and small rice hot boxes, wonderful salads, burgers, baked fries and sides.
With concerns about sustainability and the environment now very much to the fore, how do you address those issues on a day to day level at LEON?
LEON is about food that tastes good, does you good, is affordable and kind to the planet. That’s been our mission from the start. We treat meat as a side dish, serving more plants and smaller quantities of meat to our customers. Currently half of our menu is plant based. We’re fanatical about food waste, sustainable ingredient sourcing and the reusable and recyclable nature of our packaging. All of our restaurants are powered on green energy. We’re trying our best to not make a mess of the planet and we get great engagement from our guests who are equally passionate about sustainability and their own environmental impact.
What would you recommend from the LEON menu for a person choosing to order food for delivery on Just Eat for the first time?
Either the Moroccan Meatballs Hotbox or the Vegan Sweet Potato Falafel Hot Box. Both are absolutely delicious, very filling and come with rice and a side of LEON slaw. You can’t go wrong!
What’s your own favourite item on the menu?
That honestly changes every week. I’ve been loving the grilled Halloumi Wrap lately. It’s a flatbread wrap containing grilled halloumi, cos lettuce, baby plum tomato, parsley & mint, LEON aioli and our sweet chilli jam. I’ve also been eating lots of GFC nuggets, which are absolutely delicious.
What other developments do you have in the pipeline for the rest of this year?
We’ve some lovely menu changes planned for later this year, some new restaurant openings and a couple of cool campaigns which are currently under wraps! We also recently launched a ‘Meatless Mondays’ partnership with Communicorp which involves LEON providing meatless breakfast and lunch to the good people of Today FM, Newstalk, 98 FM and Spin FM once a month. The initiative is the brainchild of the Communicorp sustainability committee and it’s amazing to see how quickly mindsets are changing when it comes to the power of plants and our collective environmental impact.
Order LEON for collection or delivery to your home or office on the Just Eat app. Now delivering to: Dublin 1, Dublin 2, North City Centre, Smithfield, Grand Canal Dock, Portobello, The Coombe, Christchurch, IFSC & Blackpits.