Little Chef sold to Kuwaiti firm Kout Food Group for £15 million
The restaurant chain went on sale in April by turnaround firm RCapital
The restaurant chain Little Chef will not disappear from Britain's roadsides after being snapped up by a Kuwaiti company for £15 million.
RCapital, who bought the chain in 2007, sold 81 sites to the UK arm of Kout Food Group, which owns Burger King and KFC outlets across the UK. RCapital will keep just two outlets.
The group has paid somewhat less than the £20 million first mooted when the chain was put up for sale.
Jamie Constable, Chief Executive of RCapital said the new owners would “take the brand to the next stage”. They will hope to capitalise on a breakfast and travel dining market estimated at £3 billion in the UK.
Fadwa Al Homaizi, Chairman of Kout Food Group Restaurants UK, said: “KGFR-UK has exciting plans to revitalise the Little Chef brand.
“Little Chef will benefit from a process of brand renewal in keeping with current trends, supported by traditional British values.”
Kout are expected to keep the name Little Chef.
The firm's Fat Charlie mascot has been a familiar sight for UK motorists for more than 50 years until 2004, when the image was slimmed down by former Chief Executive Tim Scoble to take the restaurant "forward into the 21st century".
However, its future appeared uncertain when it was put up for sale earlier this year and fast food and coffee chains began viewing its sites.
Little Chef was established 50 years ago by entrepreneur Sam Alper. There are now 83 Little Chef chains located at the side of motorways across the UK, employing 1,100 staff.
In 2009 Little Chef became the focus of a Channel 4 documentary featuring celebrity chef Heston Blumenthal as he introduced a new menu to their Basingstoke site. Blumenthal's revamp of the menu and refit of the restaurant interior provided a model for a further ten new concept restaurants and a rebranding exercise was undertaken.
Despite this, the company still reported losses in 2012 and RCapital announced the chain would go through a "pre-pack administration" to offload failing leases, before being put up for sale in April 2013.
Culinary experts in The Netherlands thought it was 'fresh' and 'tasty'
Renee Zellweger on plastic surgery: 'I'm living a more fulfilling life and I'm thrilled that perhaps it shows'
Kim Jong-un 'purge': Six North Korea officials missing for weeks 'may have been executed'
Diwali: What is the festival of lights – and how is it celebrated around the world?
Nathan Cirillo: Final pictures emerge of soldier moments before he was shot dead by Ottowa gunman
Jimmy Carr's controversial Oscar Pistorius joke goes too far at the Q Awards
Of course, teenage girls need role models – but not like beauty vlogger Zoella
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Support for EU membership 'at highest level since 1991' with most Brits wanting to stay 'in'
Thousands with degenerative conditions classified as 'fit to work in future' – despite no possibility of improvement
Residents should throw a street party and mix with immigrant neighbours, councils told
Russell Brand threatened with arrest after filming outside Fox News headquarters
- 1 Marijuana use by teenagers does not result in a lower IQ or worse exam results, study finds
- 2 Watch what happened when food critics were unknowingly served McDonald's
- 3 Jimmy Carr's controversial Oscar Pistorius joke goes too far at the Q Awards
- 4 Australian café owner sparks debate after saying 'No' to having unruly children on premises
- 5 NHS staff banned from drinking tea or coffee on the job because it looks like they're not working hard enough