Restaurant chain chief killed in car crash

BOB PAYTON, the American who almost singlehandedly revolutionised family eating in London with his Chicago-style theme restaurants, has died in a car crash, write Emily Green and Danielle Nagler.

The entrepreneur who founded the Chicago Pizza Pie factory, the Chicago Meat Packers, Chicago Rib Shack and Henry J Beans, was killed on Wednesday night when his Range Rover collided with a road sign on the A1 near Letchworth in Hertfordshire.

Mr Payton, 50, who was cut from the wreckage, was pronounced dead on arrival at hospital in Stevenage. Police are investigating the cause of the accident, which occurred as he drove towards his Country House Hotel at Stapleford Park in Leicestershire.

The man who said he went into business 'to open a restaurant in which I'd want to eat', always claimed he worked on the principle of thinking like his customers.

The policy paid off. After the launch of his first pizza restaurant in London in 1977, Mr Payton's company, My Kinda Town, went on to establish an empire of 30 restaurants in cities including London, Paris, Tel Aviv Barcelona and Buenos Aires.

According to Peter Webber, MKT's managing director, when the company went public five weeks ago, it was valued at pounds 33m.

Obituary, page 30