Leon sales jumped by more than 50% to top £80 million in 2022 as the healthy fast-food chain rebounded from a slump in demand amid pandemic store closures.
But losses widened to £15 million for the year while KPMG resigned as auditor, company filings show, with the business instead opting to appoint PM+M, a little-known accountancy firm in Blackburn, as a replacement.
Leon, which is known for its wraps, vegan burgers, rice boxes and waffle fries, told the Standard its chargrilled chicken burger has been its best-selling menu option, while the firm’s app & loyalty scheme have seen users consistently increase month on month since its 2022 launch.
Two of Leon’s top-five best-performing stores were in London, where the company was co-founded by David Dimbleby’s son Henry Dimbleby, before being bought by the Issa brothers in 2021 and acquired by Asda in May this year. Leon is one of the key hospitality outlets owned by the Issas after they sold all their KFC franchise outlets earlier this week. They also made a buyout bid for coffee chain Caffe Nero which was rejected.
Leon said: “While the business saw a continued recovery from the lingering impact of covid-19 in 2022, wider market conditions remained challenging.
“This included the impact of the war in Ukraine, which led to inflationary pressures – particularly on electricity and cost of sales – and industrial action on the rail network that impacted restaurants close to transport hubs at those times.
KPMG’s departure marks the second time a big-four accounting firm has stepped away as auditor from a company tied to the Issas, after Deloitte quit as auditor of EG Group in 2020 over governance concerns.
KPMG continues to serve as auditor for EG Group.