Peach Report

Little Chef to close 67 sites

11 January, 2012

Little Chef is to shut 67 sites across the UK - around two fifths of its total estate of 161. It said the closed restaurants were making a loss and blamed the weak economy and poor location of the affected branches.

The closures will mean the loss of between 500 and 600 full and part time jobs. The rest of its estate continues to trade strongly, it added.

The move is the latest attempt by private equity parent R Capital to turn round the fortunes of the Little Chef brand and follows a series of upbeat initiatives, including new branding and signage and investment in an electric car initiative. It also follows the arrival of Graham Sims, formerly retail managing director of BP, as its new chairman.

Sims said: “Despite very hard work from some very committed colleagues, we have been unable to life the performance of these sites to a level where they are viable. Consequently, following a thorough review in which we considered all the choices, it is with regret that we have had to close a number of sites.” Little Chef would try to find alternative jobs for people affected, he added. “By closing these sites, we will be able to focus our attention on protecting over 1,500 of our colleagues’ jobs.”

Little Chef managing director Tracey Mulligan revealed some of the challenges facing her brand at the Peach 2020 Conference last year.