Flat Planet’s global ambitions
25 October, 2011
John Vincent doesn’t look much like a hippy, but the co-founder of Leon, the London-based healthy fast-food business, would claim to be a idealist entrepreneur. His vision is to put a human dimension back into business – and he is seeking like- minded business people to join him.
He is already collaborating with Ellie Frost, who left Jamie Oliver’s organisation on October 1 after nine years to set up on her own, developing projects in the social enterprise arena. Frost most recently set up the international roll-out plans for Jamie’s Italian (see Jamie’s worldwide dealmaker)
Both believe that good business has to have a strong purpose and that for-profit operations can make major contributions to tackling big social issues – and can be more effective than the voluntary sector.
Central to Vincent’s plan is to develop his latest Flat Planet venture as a network of community-based restaurants, cafes and social-hubs, with a core ethical bias – and ultimately make Flat Planet more of a loose-knit movement that will work with and support similar businesses.
The original Flat Planet flat-bread operation, on Great Marlborough Street in the West End, is to be revamped (which Frost is helping with), while strengthening its community-ties. “We hope to create a place where people can come together to eat well, be inspired and energised, share good ideas and hatch plans,” he says.
Vincent has already linked up with one of America’s most high-profile restaurant entrepreneurs Brad Blum, a former boss of Burger King, Olive Garden and Romano’s Macaroni Grill, who is currently bidding to take control of the Cosi chain.
Blum also has his own ethical agenda, says Vincent, which he drives through his privately-owned Dogmatic gourmet hotdog business on Union Square, in New York. Dogmatic and Flat Planet are now cross-promoting and supporting each other, and will help each other expand globally.