Little Chef plans franchise growth
10 September, 2012
Little Chef is planning to grow again across the UK via franchises and an emphasis on its core product, a profile in the Mail on Sunday reveals.
It has been a turbulent few years for the roadside chain, including the closure of 67 under-performing sites earlier this year. But it is now firmly on the front foot, with changes including modern new signage and the launch of a takeaway offer.
The franchise route has been set by Little Chef chief executive Graham Sims, who says the first operator should be opening in East Anglia in the autumn. “There is great opportunity in the market so we’re developing our franchise model as we feel there are a number of new franchisees supported by government or European funds who are willing to put money into redevelopments themselves. In return we’ll give them all the support they need.”
Sims is also taking Little Chef’s food offer back to its roots. “We wanted to go back to basics and be known for great food and great value. Our customers want a traditional diner experience and classic British food.” He also admits that the TV-based partnership with Heston Blumenthal was more about profile building than sales. “Customers don’t want fine dining in a Little Chef. It raised the profile and he helped us enormously, but his menu was less than 5% of our sales.”
Sims has also hinted at other initiatives including children’s parties and tie-ups with brands including Cadbury’s and Heinz.
For the full story, see Little Chef battles back with fry-ups and franchising.