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Business Shapers: John Vincent

Posted on 7 November 2012

John spent many years in the city working for Bain & Company before setting up the Leon chain with partner Henry Dimbleby in 2004. They now own eleven restaurants in London and are well known for their ethical, sustainable approach to food – "fast food doesn't have to be bad food".


Business Shapers: John Vincent

John Vincent

Co-Founder of Leon Restaurants

Business Shapers from Mishcon de Reya

In association with Jazz FM’s Jazz Shapers

Literally from the start of working at P & G I worked for them for 4 years and Bain where I worked for 7 years a Consultants firm, every day you know a part of my brain was thinking what am I going to do, you know, what is the business I am going to do and I always knew that I was in maybe the second best job at Bain & Company but it wasn’t the best thing I could do.  And so I was at Bain and I was struck by the fact that the food that I was eating daily either travelling or for the office was making me fall asleep and wake up fat and that was basically the type of food that was available.  I thought then there is nothing in the word fast nor in the word food that means that fast food has to be bad for you and so you know someone said to me once if you want a big business, solve a big problem.  But I could probably write more books on the failures that we’ve had than I could write books about the successes.  I think that, I think the thing to do is to not, is to try and not to focus on those too much and to understand you know to keep an eye on where you’re going. 

I think that when we are most successful it is when we are absolutely focused.  It’s when the people running the business are delving deep into the detail in the most important areas and I think that the one thing we try to remind ourselves of every time is there are going to be some things we delegate in the business and there are going to be some things that we are all over like a rash. 

I think that it’s very easy when people watch the Apprentice or Dragons Den they think that being an entrepreneur is about bright lights and parties, and I think fundamentally it’s about doing the detailed grunt work and I think that if you’re a. focusing on the right thing and you’re b. doing the most detailed grunt work yourself and being getting stuck into that, I think that is probably the biggest recipe for success. 

I have a great friend called JP who talks about the fact that you know when he dies he want to you know be there in heaven with a big cigar and thinking ‘wow, what a ride’’.  And I think that there is something at the end of the day when we sit there after we have put the kids to bed where we want to have been a good captain to the ship for that day.

Business Shapers from Mishcon de Reya

In association with Jazz FM’s Jazz Shapers

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