When it comes to design, there’s no such thing as too many cooks. At least, that seems to be the policy for the roadside-restaurant chain Little Chef, which has just announced its umpteenth image change since running into financial dire straits around a decade ago.
The latest rebrand – which coincides with a shake-up in senior management – will be undertaken by Manchester agency We Are Creation and the theme will take things “back to basics”. If by basics it means full English with extra chips then it could be on to a winner. As motorway munch-stops have become increasingly dominated by international fast-food chains and overpriced M&S outlets, there’s a niche for a restaurant that just focuses on big fry-ups at a fair price. In fact, with more than a million sold each year, the Olympic Breakfast is the most popular thing on the menu. Who stops off on the A11 for Heston’s “rope-grown Scottish mussels in white-wine sauce” or “braised ox cheeks”? Greasy food is what keeps the British roads lubricated.
And it’s nostalgia for the golden age of Little Chef that will inform the new visual identity. We Are Creation’s Easter campaign for the restaurant used vintage colours and typography, with a “nod to the exterior boxy signage that everyone remembers seeing from the back seat of a 1983 Ford Sierra”. Better pass that napkin, we’re getting teary just thinking about it…
In the meantime, Little Chef’s wispy mascot, Charlie, a shade between the Michelin man and Casper the friendly ghost, who seems to be either perpetually welcoming you in with a big hug or running out of the restaurant as fast as he can, will be tweeting his progress @LC_Charlie. #hashbrowns, probably.