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Fast food chain LEON introduces “parent shifts” to promote flexible working

With plans to open 50 new locations in the next four years, creating an extra 1,000 jobs, LEON has unrelieved a new working pattern for parents and joined the Hire Me My Way campaign.
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The LEON business, which operates as what it describes as a “naturally fast food chain”, wants to hire flexible team members, managers and head office staff. It will do this by promoting “parents shifts”, which will mean flexible working arrangements to help balance family life with joining LEON.

LEON recently raised £19m of funding to help it with a site roll out which is set do double the footprint, and said it will examine remaining roles to ask what more can be done to make flexible working options available.

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The money it recently raised was secured from specialist bank OakNorth and came 12 years after the business was set up by John Vincent, Henry Dimbleby and Allegra McEvedy.

Marco Reick, people director at LEON, said: “At LEON we have one simple goal: to help everyone to eat well and live well. We know that there are lots of reasons why people want to work flexibly. Some are parents or carers, others are pursuing their passions. Helping our people balance work and home keeps them well. And that makes us happy.”

Alongside its “parents shifts” initiative, LEON has also become part of national flexible working campaign Hire Me My Way. It aims to make it clear at the point of advertising a job which are available to flexible workers and also be more open to discussing the possibility of it during the recruitment process.

Hire Me My Way is aiming to make sure one million part-time or flexible jobs are advertised each year in the UK, which would mean a three-fold increase from its current level. Statistics show that while 54 per cent of the UK’s workforce has a part of it would is flexible, only 8.7 per cent of full-time jobs worth in excess of £20,000 are advertised with part-time or flexible options.

Debra Maccow, a shift manager at LEON, said: “My manager at LEON has been really supportive. He identified a store where I could work shifts that would allow me to look after my daughter too. I love it. I think everyone deserves a chance to work, whether they’re a mum, or have someone to look after.”

In July LEON created its first overseas restaurant, in Amsterdam, and plans to open another there in February 2017.

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Hunter Ruthven

Hunter Ruthven is the editor of Real Business. He is also the editor of Business Advice, a title focused solely on a section of the business community currently underserved – micro companies. Alongside this, he is part of the team that hosts the Growing Business Awards, First Women Awards and Future 50 initiative.

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