Following our little video interview with Mr & Mrs Smith Founder and Chairman Ed Orr a couple of weeks ago on their bond issue, it seems a few other companies have been thinking the same way.
Leon Restaurants, purveyors of fine and healthy fast foods to the masses have launched their own bond issue, this time with payment in their own currency, the £eon pound. The £eon Pound can be used in their own restaurants as well as, they hope, other participating places in due course. This means that they can offer a relatively higher rate of interest on their bond.
Disclosure, I know the founders socially and think they run the best restaurant chain on the planet. I was more excited that they opened in Kings Cross than I was about the new concourse.
Henry even gave me a free wrap once but I do not own shares…
The Leon Bond…
Dear Leon Club Member,
Last month we sent out an email to a small group of Club Members to see if they would be interested in investing in a Leon Bond. We were overwhelmed by the response and have decided to launch it for all Club Members in early June.
This letter is intended to tell you more about the bond and to let you know what you will need to do if you want to invest, so that you can be ready.
“This is a brilliant idea! It sums up what I love about Leon :)” – Leon Club Member
What is the Leon Bond?
We are often sent messages asking us to open new restaurants – so often that we wondered whether the people who eat with us would like to get involved in helping us grow. This kind of collaboration between customers and businesses is increasingly common – King of Shaves have issued a bond, as did our friends at Hotel Chocolat. It is very simple. Club Members who want to get involved lend Leon the money, and in return we give them interest along with some other edible and non-edible perks. We’d rather pay interest to our Club Members than to the banks.
What would we use the money for?
Expanding the Leon chain by opening new restaurants in carefully selected locations, creating jobs, and making good food available to more people. We are also planning to set up a not-for-profit Leon Foundation. In future we may use the money to set up Leon outside the UK. A proportion of the money may be used to replace debt we currently hold.
The Leon Foundation
Our vision is to make it easy for everyone to eat good food. We are currently doing this in our fast food restaurants, but we believe that our expertise and contacts can be of use more broadly. So we are setting up the Leon Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation with the same vision. The first step of the Leon Foundation is to set up an annual summer cookery school with chef Mitch Tonks on the river Dart in Devon for children with renal illnesses, who require a very specific diet. The children we will be taking come from homes where very little or no primary cooking is done.
How does the bond work?
We are launching the £eon Pound: an alternative currency that will be available in Leon restaurants. You can use it to buy food, drink, cookbooks or anything else in any Leon. We are also talking to like-minded business who would accept them too.
– You buy a three year bond, after which time you can ask for your cash back or you can ask to extend
– You will be paid interest in £eon Pounds
There will be three bond options you can invest in any combination up to £10,000 in total:
1. Invest £1,500 for three years and receive 120 £eon Pounds each year
– equivalent to a 8% net return or 10% gross return for the basic rate taxpayer
2. Invest £3,000 for three years and receive 300 £eon Pounds each year
– equivalent to a 10% net return or 12.5% gross return for the basic rate taxpayer
3. Invest £5,000 for three years and receive 600 £eon Pounds each year
– equivalent to a 12% net return or 15% gross return for the basic rate taxpayer
– In addition to the interest, every bond will be entered into a seasonal prize draw only for Leon Bond holders. This will be drawn four times a year on the autumnal equinox, the winter solstice, the vernal equinox and the summer solstice. Prizes will include places at our cookery school on the Dart in Devon, residential cooking holidays, hampers of food from our suppliers and other goodies.
– You know the money is being put to good use: opening new Leons and the Leon Foundation
“Great idea – power to the people, not the banks!” – Leon Club Member
What happens next
We will be sending out a full invitation document to all club members in early June.
If you are not a member of the club, you will have to join to receive the document. You can join here http://www.leonrestaurants.co.uk/join/. It is simple to do and there is no fee.
There will be a simple online process where you can apply for the bond and make an electronic payment. The closing date will be in early July, so if you want to invest you will need to have the money available by then. If the bond is oversubscribed we will allocate it on a first come first served basis.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read this. If you have any questions, you can send them to TheLeonBond@leonrestaurants.co.uk. If you do this, please leave a phone number.
Henry Dimbleby and John Vincent