Fat Charlie to hit the road as new owners are sought to take on struggling Little Chef

Little Chef has been put up for sale by the private equity group Rcapital and bidders, believed to include McDonald’s, Costa Coffee and KFC, are said to be unlikely to retain the brand

Fat Charlie, the cheerful logo outside Little Chef restaurants, is poised to disappear from roadsides when a new owner takes over.

Little Chef has been put up for sale by the private equity group Rcapital and bidders, believed to include McDonald’s, Costa Coffee and KFC, are said to be unlikely to retain the brand.

Rcapital bought Little Chef when it went into administration in 2007 and, after slashing its workforce from 4,000 to 1,100 and closing almost two-thirds of the 234 outlets, brought it back into profit.

Interest has been shown in buying up the 83 remaining restaurants but Rcapital has indicated that the brand created in 1958 could disappear amid changing demands by consumers.

"The market is changing and fast food and coffee houses are growing in popularity,” the private equity company said in a statement. "It is not a surprise that the majority of the offers for Little Chef are from companies that may want to re-brand the estate.

"Rcapital has a deep affection for the Little Chef brand and it is hoped that some Little Chefs will remain on Britain's A roads even if some sites are re-branded.

"Over the last six years, Rcapital has successfully completed an operational turnaround and financial restructuring, which has repositioned the business and brought the group of companies back into profitability. With the turnaround successfully completed it's time to explore the next phase for the food service operator."

Little Chef attracts about six million customers a year and meals include steak and ale pies, fried breakfasts and baked potatoes. Menus had remained static for years and one of the tasks undertaken by Rcapital was to overhaul them. As part of the turnaround Heston Blumenthal was called in to revamp the food on offer.

The sale of Little Chef is thought unlikely to be completed before the end of the summer. Rcapital has appointed KPMG to sell it.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Sport
England's women celebrate after their 3rd place play-off win against Germany
Women's World CupFara Williams converts penalty to secure victory and bronze medals
Arts and Entertainment
Ricardo by Edward Sutcliffe, 2014
artPortraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb go on display
News
newsHillary Clinton comments on viral Humans of New York photo of gay teenager
Arts and Entertainment
The gang rape scene in the Royal Opera’s production of Gioachino Rossini’s Guillaume Tell has caused huge controversy
music
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Spanish Speaking

£17000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - German Speaking

£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Japanese Speaking

£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you are fluent in Japanese a...

Recruitment Genius: Graphic Designer - Immediate Start

£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Day In a Page

The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'