Photo courtesy Charlie Round-Turner show photo

Blogs and News

9th Mar 2018

How to Motivate Staff with Leon

High Quality fast-food chain showcases their method to create brilliant teams

The Business Forum is always a major highlight of Wandsworth Enterprise Week. With a keynote speech from Councillor Guy Senior, the borough was helped by a lot of information about the dilemmas of Brexit.

Marco Rieck, People Director of LEON, the high-quality fast food chain, delivered a very comprehensive look at how they stafffed their chain of restaurants with highly-motivated team members. Some of their methods would seem radical and outrageous to more orthodox businesses – like having some of their staff sing to customers, but seems to have a powerful effect on staff retention (always a significant issue in the catering and restaurant sector): Rieck quoted staff turnover of 6% which is very low compared to his competitors: “Team retention is the holy grail of the restaurant sector.”


LEON staff were motivated by what he called a “Glimpse of Brilliance”, or being praised for doing everything. Then he brought on stage one of the Council Staff organising the event, Louise, for the G.O.B. treatment – prior to his speech he had had wine spilled over his shirt and she raced over the road to Moss Bros to buy him a replacement. The audience applauded her going beyond the call of duty.

One of their restaurants has a fitness centre above it and team members can lead yoga, fitness, etc classes, using their skills and get paid for it. A member of their restaurant staff is an expert in sustainability and pushed them to get rid of plastic straws very quickly.

It was clear that LEON has a different, fun culture that resonates with its personnel, and the clear possibilities of career progression means that the people who work there have good prospects, which is not the same for much of the fast-food sector, with its reputation for long hours, low wages and few opportunities to move up the ladder.

Steve Pinto, CEO of Wandsworth Chamber of Commerce, rounded off the session by summarising the events and thanking all the participants and Wandsworth Council who put the whole Enterprise Week on. 

Author: This article was written by Julian Jackson, Wandsworth Chamber of Commerce's resident blogger and copywriter -