Fast-food chain Leon will turn its restaurants into mini-supermarkets in a bid to ease food concerns caused by panic-buying in the UK.
Shelves across the country have been stripped bare of essential items, as shoppers form lengthy queues outside stores — despite official government advice that this is not necessary.
Leon, which has more than 75 restaurants and styles itself as “Naturally Fast Food”, will transform its shops and launch a new eCommerce platform that allows customers to book a delivery slot a few days in advance, similar to how other supermarkets do.
Both the restaurant and website will sell restaurant-quality ready meals, sauces, meats and other food that customers can store and eat at home.
The platform will launch by March 25, while customers will also be able to buy food immediately using Deliveroo and JustEat.
An influx of stockpiling shoppers caused massive queues at supermarkets around the UK, despite the Government insisting that there would be no shortage of food and supplies during the coronavirus outbreak.
Lines of customers could be seen at branches of several major retailers in London, where residents could face tougher measures due to the capital’s higher number of Covid-19 cases.
Leon founder and CEO John Vincent said: “Right now you have struggling restaurants and their staff ready to provide food to customers on the one hand, and on the other, supermarkets with empty shelves.
“The balance isn’t right. Not for customers, not for people facing job losses and not for businesses.”
The new online platform has been developed alongside hospitality provider Absolute Taste but will work in partnership with other catering companies and food suppliers to offer them the chance to sell directly to customers.
Nigel Harris, founder of Absolute Taste, said: “There are butchers for hotels, pubs and restaurants. There are suppliers of fruit and veg employing thousands of people and they will go bust after Boris did his job on restaurants – we think our new platform for delivering to the home will help solve two critical issues right now.”