Leon, John’s dad, in Praia da Rocha, 1965

“On the one hand, it seems a long time ago that Henry and Allegra and I opened our first restaurant in Carnaby Street. It wasn’t surprising that we didn’t know how to serve naturally fast food, because no-one had been foolhardy enough before to try it. We got better at it – faster and more consistent – and we grew. We have made so many mistakes in the last lucky 13 years, and we have had to learn how to stop and breathe (literally) when things seem to get beyond us. On the other hand I feel we are such a young company. A friend of JK Rowling told me that the world of Harry Potter in Rowling’s imagination is ten times bigger than what has been put in the books – she knows the names of Harry’s Grandchildren and all the adventures they have. Leon is like that. We have such big and detailed dreams about where and how we will create fast food ‘as it would be in heaven’ and how we will make it easier for people to live and eat well across the world. We are grateful for the fact that we remain independent. July 4 happens to also be the real Leon’s birthday (my Dad). He was never involved in the company directly but he has been a constant source of moral support. So here’s to Leon, to Allegra and Henry, to the 1000 colleagues of mine at Leon, to you for supporting us, and to independence.”