Leafi was founded by Liam Farrell and Fiona Barber in 2006, initially as an events company. In 2008 Leafi opened its first café, the Buttery Café at the historic Burgh House in Hampstead. As well as operating the garden café, with a focus on home cooked food made using fresh, locally sourced and seasonal produce, Leafi also provided catering for weddings at the venue.
Since then, Leafi have opened restaurants and cafés in a number of locations linked to the arts, including the world-famous Foyles bookshop; the Courtauld Gallery on the Strand in London; St John’s Smith Square Concert Hall in Smith Square, Westminster and the Turner Contemporary gallery in Margate.
While all these venues are unique, they all attract a customer base with high expectations of the quality of food and drink served, as well as of the welcome, service and surroundings. All the venues also offer facilities which require high quality event catering, including private parties, weddings and corporate functions.
Fiona Barber says:
“We believe eating out is about having fun. The menu is at the core of all culinary experiences and as self-confessed ‘foodies’ we scrutinise of all aspects of the food we serve in great depth. We believe in honest home cooking and wherever possible we use fair-trade, rain forest alliance and free range ingredients. We only buy from farmers who treat animals with the respect they deserve.”
Leafi has worked with buying specialist Lynx Purchasing since 2009, having initially been put in touch via a former Leafi employee. Taking advantage of Lynx’s ‘no fee, no contract;’ approach, the company is able to take advantage of prices negotiated by Lynx on everything from staple products such as dairy and dry goods, to specialist food and drinks including fresh fish.
“With event catering, it’s important that we have the flexibility to match the occasion, from fun to formal, and relaxed to regimented. We provide full management of the project from start to finish, with a dedicated event manager co-ordinating with the venue throughout.”
Leafi estimates that they save around 12% on products bought through prices negotiated by Lynx. Fiona says: “They are always on hand to recommend a supplier and in some cases are willing to take on suppliers you suggest become part of the buying group.
“John Pinder of Lynx has genuinely become an everyday part of our organisation, and nothing is too much trouble for him. We have very precise specifications for the products we want, which means that Lynx is not always able to match us directly to a supplier, but in those cases John is always able to recommend someone he knows in the industry who can help us.”