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Rcapital sells Little Chef

05 August 2013

Kuwait based firm, Kout Food Group to keep Little Chef on Britain’s A roads

Rcapital, the owner of the roadside restaurant Little Chef, has today sold the business to a new owner, Kout Food Group Restaurants UK Limited (KFGR-UK).

KFGR-UK is wholly owned by Kout Food Group k.s.c.c., a company listed on the Kuwaiti Stock Exchange, and a member of the Al Homaizi Group. KFGR-UK also owns the iconic Maison Blanc brand, in addition to more than 40 Burger King and KFC units as well as Cha Cha Moon, a concept developed by Alan Yau for KFGR-UK.

Rcapital took the decision to explore options for the roadside restaurant business in April 2013 and appointed a corporate finance firm to manage the process. The aim was to find a buyer that would take the business and its operating brands on to the next stage.

Rcapital has a deep affection for Little Chef and strongly believed it could find a buyer to keep Little Chef on Britain’s A roads. Over a period of three months interested parties from the UKand abroad showed interest in purchasing the business. The offer from KFGR-UK stood out due to its commitment to grow the business and the brands.

Jamie Constable, CEO of Rcapital said: “Since we put Little Chef up for sale people have asked us, why sell the business? The answer is very simple. We are specialists in reversing the fortunes of businesses with significant financial and operational problems. We turn businesses around, we rebuild and fix them, that’s our business. Looking back, Little Chef was the biggest and longest turnaround in our nine year history.

“When we bought the chain, it needed huge changes to revive the business and bring it back to profitability. It was much harder than we expected. As the country faced one of the worst economic declines in living memory, we rolled up our sleeves and got on with it, we believed we could make it work and we did.

“Having owned Little Chef for a long time it feels like we are selling part of ourselves. But we take comfort from the fact that the new owners will take the brand to the next stage.”

The private equity house that specialises in business turnarounds purchased Little Chef in 2007. Over the last six years, Rcapital has successfully completed an operational turnaround which has repositioned the business and brought the group of companies back into profitability. The move was part of a long-term rebuild strategy to create consistently profitable sites against the backdrop of one of the worst recessions in living memory.

The acquisition of the Little Chef group marks the entry of KFGR-UK into the all-day breakfast and travel dining segments, an estimated £3bn market in theUK. KFGR-UK’s Chairperson Mrs. Fadwa Al Homaizi, said "KFGR-UK has exciting plans to revitalise the Little Chef brand. Little Chef will benefit from a process of brand renewal in keeping with current trends, supported by traditional British values."

Kout Food Group which is the exclusive franchisee in Kuwait for Burger King, Pizza Hut (over 30 years), Applebee’s and Taco Bell, also operates a portfolio of Middle Eastern brands such as Ayyame, Kabab-ji, Burj Al Hamam and the gelato parlour concept Scoop A Cone.

Little Chef employs 1100 staff and serves more than 6m customers a year and has sites across Britain’s A-roads from Devon toScotland. The restaurant chain has occupied a special place in the nation’s hearts for over 55 years.

New menu launches for Summer 2013

19 June 2013

After 55 years of roadside dining, Little Chef is still serving up the best of British food and we are thrilled to be releasing a delicious new menu this summer, full of quality ingredients, new dishes and of course, some old favourites.

Menu highlights include a brand new selection of 100% British beef burgers with crispy gastro fries, beer-battered onion rings, homemade coleslaw and your choice of special sauces including blue cheese and smoked applewood cheddar. Also new to the menu is brand mascot Charlie’s secret French toast recipe, served with maple syrup and if you fancy, a side of bacon!

Little Chef is the go-to destination for roadside dining, with all menu items available to enjoy in a relaxed and comfortable setting at your choice of 78 restaurants around the country. If you are in a hurry or just after a quick snack on the go, all Little Chef dishes are also available for take away.

Additional light snacks such as salads, sandwiches and paninis are also available as well as a variety of hot drinks including quality Lavazza Italian coffee – the best cup of the coffee on the roadside!

 

Little Chef fast facts:

o Over a million Olympic Breakfasts are sold around the country each year
o Little Chef opened in 1958 and celebrates its 55th birthday this year
o Number of Little Chef restaurants around the country: 78
o Number of customers served last year: 7 million
o Britain’s favourite Little Chef dishes:
o No 1. Olympic Breakfast
o No. 2 Early Starter
o No 3. Toasted Teacake and Preserve
o Cups of tea served around the country each weekend: 13,107

 

We've teamed up with Park Resorts to make this summer extra special!

27 March 2013

We’ve been busy this year continuing on our mission to fuel the nation from Britain’s roadsides. In a recent meeting at Little Chef HQ our mascot Charlie decided you’ve had a lot to put up with so far this year with all of the wind, rain and snow. So we decided that it was about time we gave you a little something to make sure this summer is extra special. From today all Little Chef customers can receive up to 50% off UK family holidays with our new partner Park Resorts. 

Park Resorts UK holiday parks offer you and your family a wide choice of home from home self-catering accommodation, swimming pools, entertainment, sports courts and kids’ clubs and with 39 UK Holiday Parks to choose from, all right beside the sea, you’re guaranteed to have a superb time packed full of amazing memories!

What’s more, if you book your holiday with Park Resorts you’ll receive 10% off at Little Chef this summer to make the most of your time spent together.

Click here to found out more about our fantastic offer.

 

Little Chef Teams Show Big Heart

18 February 2013

We may be known for feeding the nation with our famous Olympic Breakfast’s, but since September 2012 our dedicated staff have also been working tirelessly to raise money for Action Against Hunger’s Love Food Give Food campaign, which helps build better lives for the world’s poorest children and their families.   We are extremely proud to announce that through this fundraising we raised a total of £25,978.50 – with a massive thanks going to all the staff and customers involved!

Action Against Hunger’s Head of Food Related Fundraising, Emma Cullingford, said: “We are thrilled to have the support of Little Chef. As a hugely popular family-favourite restaurant they have helped us spread the word about Love Food Give Food far and wide and have raised an incredible amount of funds towards the fight against hunger. Their support will help us save more lives and provide communities with sustainable access to food and safe water. We are hugely grateful to the entire Little Chef team for getting behind Love Food Give Food and turning their passion for food into action against hunger.”

Congratulations to all our restaurants nationwide and our generous customers for helping us raise such an impressive figure for a very worthy cause.

Our iconic chef makes a comeback

14 February 2013

Charlie, our iconic mascot has taken to Twitter this year in a bid to get ‘Britain breakfasting Little Chef style’.  Charlie has been with us at Little Chef since the very beginning and carries a wealth of knowledge, from team members birthdays to how many eggs are griddled each week (73,565 if you must know!), and of course he can whip up the perfect breakfast in a matter of minutes.  Despite his healthier outlook on life in recent years, Charlie still enjoys indulging in our famous Olympic Breakfast, followed by an order of delicious Jubilee pancakes and a cup of good old Yorkshire tea.

With a new menu full of quality ingredients, freshly cooked to order, take-away options, Little Chef Express and now one of the best cups of coffee on the road, Little Chef has come a long way since opening in 1958. Turning 55 this year is no small feat, and Charlie sees a bright future ahead, bacon butties’ and all!

Find out more about our Charlie here and be sure to give him a warm welcome on Twitter @LC_Charlie

2 for 1 Pancakes for all trEAT members!

11 February 2013

This month at Little Chef we’re cooking up a glorious offer of 2for1 on our pancakes for our trEAT members in anticipation of Pancake Day on 12th February. Don’t spend the day cleaning up flour from all over your kitchen, instead why not pop along to your closest Little Chef and let us do the hard work for you? Whether you’re a Jubilee Junkie or a Maple Syrup Monster we’ve got a pancake waiting for you.

Click here to sign up or download your voucher

Click here to find your nearest Little Chef

Love Food Give Food

01 October 2012

We have joined forces with the UK foodie fraternity to support Action Against Hunger’s Love Food Give Food appeal, which calls on diners nationwide to help raise crucial funds for the fight against child hunger, by doing what they do best – dining out.

This year, the UK Government is doubling every pound raised through public donations in aid of the appeal, helping the charity to reach twice as many malnourished children. There’s never been a better incentive to eat out at participating restaurants, as thanks to the UK Aid Match a contribution from you can go even further in helping save the lives and build healthier futures for malnourished children around the world – giving a helping hand to those who need it most.

During October 2012, donate at any Little Chef and help end child hunger with Love Food Give Food 2012. For more information on everything that’s going on this year, including how you can get involved, visit www.lovefoodgivefood.org.

The Treasure Hunt Winners!

26 September 2012

The Badger family from Banbury won the Little Chef Treasure Hunt competition. Congratulations to Gillian and Steven and their children, Thomas and Alice, who scooped the top prize of £2000 worth of holiday vouchers. Gillian said "We travel a lot as a family and as a result we visit Little Chef often. We’ve always wanted to go to Disneyland Paris –  and now with the help of Little Chef we can make that dream come true for our children.

The Hutchings-Bell family from Taunton, Somerset have won the second give away, the iPad. They were, "amazed and shocked to hear the news!".

The 'Eat free for a year prize' went to two prize winners, the Kavanagh family from Leeds and the Davis family from Camberley in Surrey. They will be sent Little Chef vouchers to use at any Little Chef, every month for the next 12 months. Congratulations to all the winners and thank you to everybody that entered. Make sure that you keep an eye on our website for our exciting future promotions!

Win free meals for a year!

20 September 2012

Fancy taking your friends or family out for a meal for free, every month, for the next 12 months? Well now here’s your chance.

Refer two friends to receive our TREAT offers, and you will be put into the draw to win a £50 voucher every month from October 2012 to October 2013.

To enter, complete 4 simple steps.

1. Contact your friends and family

2. Send them to this link http://littlechef.co.uk/friends/register

3. Ask them to sign up

4. Send us an email to marketing@littlechef.co.uk with the names and email addresses of two of your friends, we’ll check they’ve signed up and put your name in the draw.

The draw will take place on 30th September, and we will announce our winner in October. Good luck!

The Little Chef Treasure Hunt ends

15 September 2012

Throughout the summer Little Chef customers have been busy taking part in our exciting kids Treasure Hunt competition. Entrants were invited to collect three names of Charlie’s relations and note them on a Treasure Hunt postcard for a chance to win a family holiday to Disneyland Paris, iPads or a free family meal every month for a year. The competition is now closed and we are totting up the winners. The draw will be held on the 20th September and the winner will be announced on our website. We will be sending the main winner holiday vouchers to the value of £2000, so if you're not sure about Disneyland Paris - don't worry, you can choose to book somewhere else. Good luck to everyone that entered!

Save on petrol

20 August 2012

We know that many of you plan to holiday in the UK this summer particularly in some of the popular holiday hotspots reached by the A303. To lend a helping hand to those of you on a summer stay-cation our Little Chef restaurant on the A303 near Chicklade is offering the Great British public savings on their fuel bill throughout August. Simply stop off for a bite to eat or drink in our Chicklade restaurant to receive discounts on both petrol or diesel, receive a voucher for 5p off per litre of fuel when you spend over £20.00 or, 10p off per litre when you spend over £40.00. Vouchers are valid for the month of August and are redeemable at the PACE fuel station alongside the Chicklade Little Chef on the A303. Happy stay-cation! 

Leave the DS at home ... it’s family interaction that we want: Little Chef spot resurgence of classic family car games

17 August 2012

Eye-Spy with my little eye something beginning with ‘C’ ... ‘C’ for ‘Classic car journey games’ or more precisely the return of them. With 85% of you stopping to see us when on a long drive and 66%* when you’re on the way to a UK holiday we find ourselves discussing long car journeys often! Whilst we’ve been doing so we’ve noticed a resurgence of old fashioned in car entertainment for kids. Activities that not only engage and educate children and encourage family interaction but most importantly don’t cost a penny!

We asked you what your favourite family car games are and while it was close, the firm favourites are……

1) Eye-Spy (spotting game where the clue is in the first letter of the word)
2) 20 Questions (guessing game where you can only answer yes or no)
3) Pub Cricket (where runs are scored by the number of ‘arms’ and ‘legs’ in a pub name)
4) My Mummy Went Shopping (repeating and adding to a shopping list until someone forgets)
5) Eddie Stobart (shouting ‘Eddie Stobart’ when spotted then guessing the name on the front)
6) Backseat bingo (pre created sheets with pictures that you must spot along the way)
7) Car Snooker (where participants create ‘breaks’ by spotting car colours and are timed)
8) The ‘are we there yet game?’ (first person to say it has a forfeit to complete at the next stop)

To download the Little Chef Backseat Bingo card, visit our Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/littlechefcouk 

Win a holiday for four to Disneyland, Paris, an iPad and free meals for a year in the Little Chef Treasure Hunt.

02 August 2012

Six of Charlie’s family members – Charlie is the name of the Little Chef mascot of course - have come to work at Little Chef over the summer. Customers who collect the names of three of Charlie’s relations from three Little Chef restaurants can enter our prize draw by filling out a postcard (given out at restaurants) to win the family holiday for four to Disneyland, Paris, iPads and a family meal every month for a year. There are also six Little Chef badges to collect, given out free to every entrant. So come and enjoy the fun of the Little Chef Treasure Hunt this summer.

Little Chef Express

31 July 2012

Little Chef has launched a dedicated take-away service called ‘Little Chef Express’, now available at 11 locations around the country. The Express menu includes bean to cup barista coffee, tea and hot chocolate, soft drinks and a range of meal deals including a breakfast bap and regular hot drink for £2.69 and a muffin and regular hot drink for £2.69, all to take away.

Visit a Little Chef Express at the following sites: Bangor; Barnsdale Bar South; Colsterworth; Huntingdon; Monmouth North; Monmouth South; Northop Hall; Sutton Scotney South; Sutton Scotney North; Warminster and Whiddon Down.

Lavazza and Little Chef

23 July 2012

Roadside restaurant Little Chef has partnered with Lavazza to offer motorists quality Italian coffee served by highly trained barista staff. Little Chef is already proud of the fact that it offers one of the best cups of tea on the A roads and in fact sells 4 million cups each year. The Lavazza partnership takes its hot beverage offering to a new level and positions Little Chef as the first choice for coffee and quality food-on-the-move for all motorists, eat-in or takeaway.

Commenting on the announcement, Little Chef Chairman Graham Sims said: “It’s true to say that customers pretty much have access to quality coffee on every corner of every UK high street today, what was missing is really great coffee whilst travelling on our A-roads; this changes that. Customers want first rate beverage products and we will now serve it up to them, just like the best on any high street. Lavazza is a major player in the food and drink market and we now offer a product that is sourced and made by the bean sourcing experts. If you’re going to offer quality coffee, it might as well be Italian quality coffee, they are after all famous for it.”

35 years and still going strong

20 June 2012

1st – 5th June 2012 - The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee weekend proved a success for Little Chef’s across the country as over 13,000 Jubilee pancakes were given away in celebration of 35 years on the menu.  The top three locations for Jubilee pancake sales were the Sourton Cross, Oswestry and Builth Wells restaurants, serving over 1,600 pancakes between them.

Margaret Dunning, Little Chef’s longest serving employee and current Saughall Manager was asked to comment on her fond memories of this favourite treat, “Back in ’77 it was rumoured that the Queen loved pancakes and we decided to create the Jubilee pancake in her honour and to mark the 25th anniversary of her reign. 35 years later they’re still going strong as one of our biggest selling desserts... so long as people still love them, we’ll still make them.” 

Little Chef and Europcar

29 May 2012

Little Chef has teamed up with Europcar in the search for the best family travel tips because both brands know that family journeys can stretch parents’ patience to the limits.

“Every parent will have stories to tell of emergency stops on the side of the road for a toilet break and fights breaking out amongst kids sitting together on the back seat as the boredom of a long journey takes its toll”, said Ken McCall, Managing Director, Europcar UK Group. “So, to mark our partnership with Little Chef, we thought it would be fun to ask our customers to share their tips for having a stress-free journey".

Suggestions can be posted onto the Europcar Facebook page (www.facebook.com/EuropcarUK) or tweeted to (@Europcar_UK). Europcar will then collate all the suggestions to create the top ten tips for family travel this Summer!

Little Chef are offering Europcar customers a fantastic Kids Eat Free deal during June. And TREAT card customers don’t miss out either, getting a whopping 40% discount when hiring a vehicle with Europcar.

Commenting on the partnership Little Chef Chairman, Graham Sims, said:: “With over 90 Little Chef restaurants nationwide, we’ve been offering motorists great value on good food for over 50 years. Together with Europcar we’re helping families get out for less this June with our fantastic deals. When kids and parents need a break from the car, nothing beats the fresh food and friendly service available at a Little Chef.”

The Daily Telegraph interviews Graham Sims

14 May 2012

Little Chef CEO Graham Sims was recently interviewed by Harry Wallop from The Daily Telegraph. In the interview, Graham discusses his own history with Little Chef and how his career has come full circle. His first time working for the company was 35 years ago where he flipped burgers and cleaned griddle pans.

After spending a large part of his later career with BP in Spain and then the UK, Graham was key to introducing the successful Wild Bean Café. He returned to Little Chef in October 2011 as Chairman, and took over as CEO in April 2012.

Fast facts
Age: 54
Family: Married with one son
Lives: Hampshire
Favourite meal: The Olympic Breakfast

For more information on Graham’s plans for Little Chef you can read his recent interview in the Daily Telegraph

Upload a photo and win £50

14 May 2012

How would you like the chance to win a £50 voucher to take your family and friends for a meal at Little Chef? Well it’s simple:

1. Just upload a photograph of your favourite Little Chef meal on our Facebook or Twitter page
2. Add a short caption explaining why it’s your favourite
3. Put #LittleChef at the end of your caption
4. Then we will enter you into the draw to win a £50 voucher. Easy.

The voucher can be used at any Little Chef, and with our Dine for £5 menu could be used to feed up to ten people!!

One lucky prize winner will be announced on our Facebook page on 31st May 2012.

Norwich Evening News review

09 May 2012

Little Chef at Weston on the Green (Northbound) was recently given a fantastic write up in the Norwich Evening News.

Unbeknownst to staff, restaurant critic Christopher Gray went along to review this location after hearing about the new concept style. Christopher was a big fan of the new look and very impressed by the staff’s cheery and attentive service.  He also gave the food a glowing review and for his main course he chose to order the signature Braised Ox Cheeks, calling them “rich, dark and tender”.

From the “clean and functional appearance” to the sounds of spring soundtrack in the restrooms, Christopher has great feedback across the board.

Well done to Emma Hartrey, Michelle Bone, Selina Daly and the rest of the team at Weston on the Green, this is one restaurant critic who is sure to come back for more.

To read the full article go to the Norwich Evening News website

Alex James raves about Little Chef chips

30 April 2012

Alex James of Blur re-confirmed his love for Little Chef this month. It was the chips that Alex has been raving about this time, stating his favourite come straight from the kitchens of Little Chef. The full story is in The Sun.

Meanwhile we have been picking up fantastic reviews nationwide. Little Chef’s at Northampton  Weston on the Green North and Kettering West have all had great write ups recently by the Northampton Chronicle and Echo, Oxford Times, and Northampton Evening Telegraph.

Adele visits Little Chef!

17 April 2012

‘Rumour has it’ that pop superstar Adele visited Little Chef in April proving her love for a good old fashioned English fry-up, and of course, a Little Chef lolly to go.

For the full story visit The Sun.

Little Chef appoints Parker Hobart

11 April 2012

Britain’s iconic roadside restaurant chain, Little Chef has appointed Parker Hobart as its retained consumer agency for the next twelve months.

The move comes as the business restructures under the leadership of recently appointed Chairman Graham Sims and the continued ownership of the turnaround investment specialists RCapital.

Parker Hobart’s role will be to support the company as it aims to return to former glories. The role will combine consumer PR with marketing support as the business approaches the key summer trading period.

Commenting on the appointment, Little Chef Chairman Graham Sims said: “This appointment is part of a much bigger plan to return Little Chef to where it rightly deserves to be as a brand and as a business. We wanted to work with a boutique agency that genuinely understood the collective goal and that was also prepared to go the extra mile. We do recognise after all that there is plenty to do.”

Parker Hobart Managing Director, Sarah Harding commented: “Little Chef is a truly iconic brand that has a wealth of brand equity to trade off. We fully understand its recent history and we’re pleased to be working with a new management team with impressive credentials in this specific sector as well as proud to be working with a brand that has rightly earned its place as a British institution.”

For further information, please contact:

Parker Hobart

Email: littlechef@parkerhobart.com

Tel:        0207 7590 7485

Little Chef and venturethree Win Double Honours at the 2012 Transform Awards.

23 March 2012

Britain’s iconic roadside restaurant chain Little Chef and global brand consultancy venturethree are delighted to have won Gold and Silver honours at the 2012 Transform Awards announced at a gala dinner on 21 March.

The companies were awarded top prize of Gold in the category ‘Best rebrand from the Consumer services Sector' and Silver for ‘Best creative strategy’.

The Transform Awards areEurope’s only awards programme to honour excellence in rebranding, repositioning, and brand transformation. Little Chef and venturethree picked up Gold and Silver in recognition of the brand redevelopment programme led by venturethree and implemented by Little Chef.

Key to the success of Little Chef’s rebranding was the development of the ‘Wonderfully British’ brand idea, which influenced all elements of the new look restaurants, from food and service, to packaging, restaurant design and communications. venturethree worked in collaboration with Little Chef and their strategic partners to revitalise Little Chef and to blend the best of its existing brand with a totally modern and individual new identity.    

Commenting, Graham Sims, Chairman of Little Chef said: “The rebrand, guided by venturethree, has ignited a new sense of energy in the business, and everyone at Little Chef feels very proud to be a part of it. We are thrilled to have been successful in two categories at the Transform Awards, and this prestigious double accolade is further proof that Little Chef is a ‘Wonderfully British’, modern and creative brand that offers the highest quality food, service and style.”

Stuart Watson, Creative Director at venturethree stated: “We are delighted by the success of our collaboration with Little Chef. Our objective was to retain all the good DNA of this iconic brand while creating a thoroughly modern look and feel which is brought to life through every touch point, creating the best possible Little Chef experience”.

Little Chef Gets the thumbs up from Top Gear

29 February 2012

Little Chef, Britain’s iconic roadside restaurant chain, was delighted to have received an accolade from Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May during this week’s episode of Top Gear on BBC2.

On Saturday 18th February, the Top Gear presenters and crew visited the Wisley Little Chef – on the A3 in Surrey - where they enjoyed their chicken, ham and leek hot pots and buttery mash from Little Chef’s ‘Good to Go’ takeaway range, followed by a selection of treats

Jeremy Clarkson gave a rave review of this visit on the Top Gear programme broadcast on Sunday 26th February, praising the chicken hot pot as “the second nicest thing I have ever put in my mouth!”

From this Friday 2nd March to Sunday 11th  March, Little Chef will be giving all of their customers the chance to try their delicious hot pot and mash while stocks last as part of their Dine for £5 menu – available all day every day or just £2.99 to takeaway.*

Commenting, Graham Sims, Chairman of Little Chef said: “We are delighted that Top Gear chose to pay us a visit.  The fact they loved our food is testament to the work we have put in to improve our menus and our service to customers in the last few years.  Customers all over the UK are giving us fantastic reviews and we are really confident for the future as we roll out our New Concept menus across our estate. Little Chef is thriving again.”

To view a clip of the Top Gear show click here.

* Available at our new restaurants. Go to http://www.littlechef.co.uk/findalittlechef for more info and to plan your route.

Restructure completed

07 February 2012

RCapital, the turnaround specialist, today announces it has completed the restructuring of the Little Chef group.

In January, Little Chef announced plans to close a number of its sites that were trading unprofitably.  The move was part of a broader restructuring strategy that included a detailed review of the lease agreements. Rents on many sites were set well above market levels and today's announcement has been prompted by a deadlock in negotiations with a number of landlords.

RCapital remains the owner of the roadside restaurant chain following the restructuring process. As a result of this move, Little Chef will continue to operate the 95 sites which it identified in January as being consistently profitable. There will be no further job losses or restaurant closures as a result of today's news.

Commenting on this announcement, Jamie Constable founder of RCapital said:

"Any restructuring of lease commitments is always a complex arena and needs a willingness of the landlord to negotiate. Although we have had some great support from some of our landlords, we have taken the business through a formal re-structuring process to complete the planned closures."

Graham Sims, Chairman of Little Chef added:

"Today's announcement represents a final hurdle in long journey to complete our critical rebuilding process. We are profitable and cash generative and will continue to deliver first-rate customer service to our customers. Little Chef is very much open for business."

For further enquiries call Tom Buchanan or Daniel Yea at Maitland on 02073795151.

Little Chef re-brand shortlisted at the Transform Awards 2012

24 January 2012

Venture 3, the design agency responsible for the Little Chef re-brand are pleased to announce that their work has been shortlisted at the Transform Awards 2012.

The Transform Awards are taking place on 21st March 2012 and the Little Chef re-brand has been shortlisted in the following two categories:

Best Creative Strategy

Best Re-brand from the Customer Services Sector.

Little Chef - Latest News

11 January 2012

Little Chef, the roadside restaurant chain, today announces that it will close 67 of its current portfolio of 161 sites.

The sites earmarked for closure have been trading unprofitably for a number of years due to a variety of economic and locational factors.

Little Chef’s remaining sites are all trading profitably. The closures are expected to result in the loss of between 500 and 600 jobs at sites across the country, subject to local consultations. These jobs are a mixture of full and part-time roles. After this action, it is anticipated that the remaining workforce will number approximately 1,500 people.

Although the decision to close the sites was not taken lightly, it was essential to complete this action in order to allow the company to focus its capital resources on developing the remaining portfolio of sites, introducing the New Concept – which has been highly successful– and targeting new sites. Little Chef’s strategic plan is to expand its business by opening and introducing new sites over the coming years.Overall, Little Chef continues to trade strongly.

Commenting on this announcement, Graham Sims, Chairman of Little Chef said:

“When we acquired Little Chef four years ago we inherited a number of sites with leases that were uncompetitive. Despite very hard work from some very committed colleagues we have been unable to lift the performances of these sites to a level where they are viable. Consequently, following a thorough review in which we considered all the options it is with regret that we have had to close a number of sites. This means some people’s jobs are at risk throughout the organisation. We will do everything in our power to help every individual find alternative employment within the Little Chef organisation. I know this will be tough and an uncertain time for many people in our team.

By closing these sites we will be able to focus our attention on protecting over 1500 of our colleagues’ jobs and enabling our investments to be targeted on our remaining strong sites and to develop our brand and our New Concept - towards which the customer response has been very positive.”

Little Chef flushes away the competition winning the 'Best Roadside Restaurant' at the loo of the year awards.

02 December 2011

Little Chef, the iconic British roadside restaurant chain, has cleaned up at the ‘Loo of the Year awards’ and been awarded best roadside restaurant/service station toilet in England 2011 for its Kettering West restaurant.

82% of people who have stopped at the motorway in the last three years have stopped to visit the toilet so it’s important that the UK’s leading roadside restaurant chain has impeccable standards in this area. 

Tracey Mulligan, Little Chef Managing Director comments, “Being on the roadside means that a quick loo break is part and parcel of our customers journey. We pride ourselves on having the best toilets on the roadside and as part of our revamp have made them a key talking point. Designed by Ab Rogers all our toilets have had a modern and bright makeover which include sky ceilings and relaxing farmyard noises.”
To pick the winners Loo of the Year judges made an unannounced visit to inspect the toilet entries and judged them on a number of factors, which together make toilets clean, safe and hygienic. The Awards are open to all public toilets and assess a whole host of different venues including retail, hospitality, leisure, transport and local authorities.

The awards hosted by the British Toilet Association were held on 2 December at a presentation in Kenilworth.

Little Chef backs Road Safety Week Campaign

22 November 2011

Little Chef, Britain’s iconic roadside restaurant chain, is backing national Road Safety Week 21-27 November 2011, coordinated by the charity Brake, by offering drivers free water to enjoy inside their restaurants, giving them a place to stop, rest and stay hydrated.

Little Chef will also be offering free Tyre Tread Testers to the first 10 drivers who mention Road Safety Week at its 13 New Concept Restaurant till points each day during the week of the campaign. They will also be giving away free bottles of water and chocolate bars, while stocks last.

To reinforce the importance of road safety and to make sure customers are aware of road safety issues, Brake’s road safety questionnaires will be available for customers to have a go at completing whilst they’re taking a break from the road and relax with a bite to eat.

Little Chef is among thousands of organisations, schools and community groups around the UK taking part in the Week to raise awareness about how we can make roads safer and prevent needless tragedies.

Little Chef’s Chairman Graham Sims, comments “As the UK’s most iconic restaurant chain on the roadside where drivers stop for a break, road safety concerns are paramount to Little Chef. We are committed to bringing the best in quality offering to the roadside and that includes providing local communities and drivers alike, a welcoming place to stop, rest and re-charge their batteries.
In addition to our support of the Road safety Week campaign, at all Little Chef restaurants, customers can pick up a loyalty card, sign up on-line and get free refills on hot drinks”.

Little Chef has 159 restaurants around the country and its New Concept Restaurants are located at:
York
Doncaster
Markham Moor North
Shrewsbury
Kettering West
Black Cat
Fontwell
Weston on the Green North
Wisley South
Ilminster
Podimore
Popham
Amesbury

Road Safety Week is an annual event coordinated by Brake, now in its 15th year, which involves thousands of schools, communities and organisations taking action on road safety. It is supported by headline sponsor QBE Insurance, additional sponsor FedEx, and regional sponsors. See http://www.roadsafetyweek.org.uk/ for more info.

TREAT yourself to a new offer!

30 September 2011

Little Chef has today launched a new loyalty card incentive to run alongside the already established free refills offer.

Registered holders of the new TREAT loyalty card, which was launched in July, were emailed a voucher to redeem a free teacake or packet of biscuits to enjoy with their hot drink refills.

Generally, loyalty schemes ask customers to collect points, or make a certain number of visits before redeeming an offer, but registered TREAT cards allow Friends of Little Chef to benefit from two great offers without having to collect a thing.

Apart from the TREAT card of course... which can be picked up at any Little Chef restaurant and activated online. Once customers are registered they can claim their refills when they buy any hot drink at any Little Chef restaurant.

Registering a TREAT card today means that a customer will receive future offers by email, starting with a real winter warmer in November, and in the meantime they can have as many free refills as they like!

For more information go to http://www.littlechef.co.uk/friends/treatcard

It's Tea Time at Little Chef for Taylors of Harrogate

26 August 2011

Taylors of Harrogate - the home of Yorkshire Tea - has recently formed a partnership with the iconic British roadside restaurant chain, Little Chef, to provide 'a proper brew' for its 10 million customers.

The new joint venture unites the two long-established British companies in their commitment to offering customers the highest quality tea on the roadside.

Spokesman for Taylors of Harrogate, Steve Evans, said: "We are working alongside Little Chef to offer their customers a unique new tea experience across their 162 restaurants. We are serving Yorkshire Tea in a white china tea pot accompanied by a jug of milk and bowl of sugar cubes, on a tray. Loose leaf tea will be available in Popham, Kettering West, York and the ten recently opened new concept restaurants. Little Chef has partnered with Taylors because we have a strong, common bond - a passion to provide customers with the best tea possible and a belief in doing traditional things properly."

Little Chef Managing Director, Tracey Mulligan, commented: "We have some really great plans to bring the best tea experience back to the British roadside and we are proud to be partnering with Taylors to develop and deliver them. A pot of tea is already our bestselling beverage with over three million enjoyed last year at our restaurants and we are excited to be introducing loose leaf tea into our 13 new concept Little Chef restaurants."

RCapital Invest 20M to Build on Little Chef Success Story

30 May 2011

Big Changes Ahead for Iconic British Brand

Little Chef, the iconic British roadside restaurant chain, owned by private equity boutique and turnaround specialists RCapital, has opened ten new concept restaurants, creating an additional 70 jobs and seeing sales increase by up to 47% in the first few weeks*. This is the first phase of an exciting investment programme being undertaken across the estate over the coming months and years.

In addition to the three original concept restaurants at Popham, Kettering West & York, the additional ten, which also include a new take away offering, 'Good to go', brings the total of new concept restaurants to 12 currently. Customer satisfaction across the 12 concept restaurants is on the up with over 20,000 covers per week, with average spend per head up by over 14%.

Little Chef's Managing Director, Tracey Mulligan comments: "Together with the new management team I have spent considerable time analysing the DNA of the Little Chef brand, undertaking extensive research into roadside consumer habits and analysed all of our learnings from our current concept restaurants. The team know that if we continue to concentrate on the things that really matter; brand development, fresh new restaurant design, great service and re-focus on quality and provenance of food, tailored around current road user needs, this will make Little Chef more relevant than ever to our 10 million loyal customers and to the new customers we wish to attract."

The latest restaurant update sees the addition of a new 'Good to Go' deli offering, which will provide customers with the highest quality food on the go, better than anywhere else on the roadside. Ethically sourced ingredients include free-range British eggs, free-range chicken, fish caught from sustainable sources and tea and coffee is fair trade and rainforest alliance yet all at an affordable and competitive price in the market place.