Roadside restaurant closes

STRETHAM S Little Chef restaurant has closed down as the national roadside food chain fights to secure its future. A closed notice went up on the door of the Cambridge Road restaurant on Friday despite its parent company, The People s Restaurant Group,

STRETHAM'S Little Chef restaurant has closed down as the national roadside food chain fights to secure its future.

A 'closed' notice went up on the door of the Cambridge Road restaurant on Friday despite its parent company, The People's Restaurant Group, announcing it had managed to strike a deal which would save most of its 235 outlets.

Nine jobs have been lost after the decision was taken to close the restaurant because "it was not viable".

Ely's Little Chef, at the junction of the A10 and A142, fared better with the news that it was safe along with its 30 jobs.


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Specialist turnaround group, RCapital, which rescues companies facing financial trouble, will take over the Little Chef brand, rescuing 193 restaurants nation-wide and saving over 3,500 jobs.

The Little Chef has been operating for 40 years and opened its first restaurant in Reading in 1958, the same year Britain got its first motorway.

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It was bought by The People's Restaurant Group - a company formed by two entrepreneurs - in 2005.

But Little Chef has suffered over the last five years as fast food groups and family-run pub chains have infiltrated the roadside food market.

Now The People's Restaurant Group owner, Simon Heath, will continue to steer the business forward.

He said: "This business has been through incredibly tough times in recent years, but one thing we do know from our existing customers and the media is that Little Chef is a much-loved brand. RCapital shares our belief in turning this business around and recognises that there is enormous potential for it to succeed.

"I have no doubt that we now have a huge task ahead, but this is a British icon which has, despite its chequered past, maintained a level of brand integrity. Albeit out of date, the roots of its offer remains relevant and it clearly has a future in today's marketplace."

I have a team around me who thoroughly understand the restaurant business and who will now move forward with RCapital's team of financial experts to get the business back on track as quickly as possible.

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