UK restaurant chain munches on £19m loan

The UK restaurant chain is attempting to carry out a long-term plan of opening 500 locations over the next decade. Challenger bank OakNorth provided the finance.

Restaurant chain Leon is continuing its mission of improving the quality of fast food in the UK after successfully securing a £19 million (€22.3 million; $24.6 million) loan intended to finance its ambitious expansion plans.

Challenger bank OakNorth Bank, established only a year ago, provided the loan, which the restaurant chain said will contribute to doubling its presence in the UK. More than 50 sites have been earmarked to be opened over the next four years and the company is looking to add 1,000 people to the existing workforce.

OakNorth chief executive Rishi Khosla established the bank as means of providing finance to fast-growing small businesses filling the void left by traditional banks. The bank provides loans against property as well as a number of other assets, including stock, debtor books, machinery and intellectual property.

The restaurant chain which markets the statement “why can’t fast food be good food” is eyeing up success to rival fast-food chain McDonald’s, opening 500 locations over the next decade.

Law firm King & Wood Mallesons advised Leon on the deal, while Reed Smith represented OakNorth. Reed Smith partner Leon Stephenson said: “The appetite for alternative lenders remains strong despite liquidity concerns following Brexit. It is a really exciting area and one we are following closely.”