Little Chef hopes to attract a brand new customer base by offering wireless internet access at its roadside restaurants.
The scheme, which will see Wi-Fi hotspots installed in most of the company's 232 UK restaurants, is part of Little Chef's wider rebranding initiative, which is expected to see the end of the fat chef logo and a refreshing of the estate.
Cathy Stevenson, marketing director of Little Chef, was brought to the company by owners Lawrence Wosskow and Simon Heath in May to oversee the brand overhaul. She hopes the Wi-Fi initiative will bring back business custom to Little Chef restaurants.
"We are trying to widen our appeal," she told Caterer. "Years ago we used to attract a lot of business traffic, and we want to get back to that - somewhere where people can meet and conduct business."
Stevenson admitted that early take-up of the technology has "not been brilliant", but hopes a planned marketing push - due to be launched in the next month - will drive up the numbers.
Marketing activity is likely to centre on discounts on the price for using wireless in a Little Chef. "We may look to do promotional deals at the start," Stevenson said. "This is new for us, so we are not sure on the price point, but we are looking at a one-off cost at the moment."
Little Chef will measure the success of the project by how the profile of the customer base changes, Stevenson added.
By Daniel Thomas