ROADSIDE restaurant chain Little Chef has been put up for sale by the company that bought it out of administration in 2007, it was reported yesterday.
The firm, known for its Fat Charlie mascot, is expected to attract interest from service station operators such as Welcome Break and Moto, as well as coffee chains such as Costa and Starbucks.
According to a weekend newspaper report, turnaround firm R Capital is likely to put a price tag of tens of millions of pounds on the chain, which it rescued when there were just under 200 restaurants across the country. A radical restructuring plan has focused the business on a core estate of 78 profitable restaurants and a relaunched Express takeaway service.
Little Chef also previously hired celebrity chef Heston Blumenthal to revamp the group’s menu as part of a Channel 4 documentary.
Little Chef opened its first branch in Reading in 1958, which had just 11 seats. It became well established across the country in the 1980s, serving millions of customers a year from more than 230 branches in its heyday.