Kout Food Group to ‘revitalise' Little Chef after £15m deal

05 August 2013 by
Kout Food Group to ‘revitalise' Little Chef after £15m deal

Kout Food Group is expected to retain the Little Chef name, after it emerged that the Kuwaiti-owned firm was acquiring the ailing roadside diner brand for £15m.

The new owner is buying 81 of Little Chef's 83 sites from RCapital, the turnaround specialist that took Little Chef over in 2007.

During that time, RCapital reduced the number of sites the roadside diner business was operating from 200 to 83.

The UK arm of Kout Food Group already runs more than 40 Burger King and KFC outlets in the UK as well as the Maison Blanc brand.

Its UK chairwoman Fadwa Al Homaizi said it had "exciting plans to revitalise the Little Chef brand".

The first branch of Little Chef, recognised nationwide by its "Fat Charlie" logo, opened in Reading in 1958. It had 230 branches at the peak of its success.

But it has had a chequered history in recent years, undergoing several changes in ownership. It was sold in 2002 by foodservice giant Compass Group to private equity firm Permira, before again being sold to the People's Restaurant Group, ahead of RCapital's takeover in 2007.

The various owners have tried a number of measures to boost its popularity in recent years, including appointing celebrity chef Heston Blumenthal to the brand in 2009, and launching a takeaway concept in 11 sites called Little Chef Express in 2012.

The most recent initiative, aimed at bringing younger diners back to the Little Chef brand, has involved setting up a temporary marquee at the Boardmasters music festival in Cornwall later this week (7-11 August).

Little Chef to appear at Boardmasters festival in bid to broaden appeal >>

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