East Anglia: Ten Little Chef restaurants to close with loss of around 80 jobs

AT LEAST 10 Little Chef roadside restaurants in the East of England are among those to be axed under a programme of closures announced by the company earlier this year, it has emerged.

Little Chef said in January that it planned to close 67 sites across the country out of a total portfolio of 162 restaurants, blaming the decision on a combination of economic factors and uncompetitive rents.

No details of the sites identified for closure were released at the time but, following completion of a restructuring at Little Chef last month, the properties affected reverted to their landlords and some are now being marketed in a bid to find new tenants.

Budget hotel chain Travelodge owns the freehold to 48 of the sites, which are being marketed through specialist hospitality sector agent Christie & Co, and these include the Little Chef restaurants on the A14 west-bound at Newmarket and the A11 north-bound at Attleborough which have already closed.

Also on the market are the restaurants on the old A14 at Haughley, near Stowmarket, the A12 south-bound at Capel St Mary, near Ipswich, and the A12 south-bound at Rivenhall, near Witham, although these are among a number of sites which will continue to trade as Little Chef outlets until September.

The Little Chef outlets on the A14 at Swavesey, near Cambridge, and Hemmingford Abbots, near Huntingdon, are also among those being sold through Christie & Co, together with others at Harlow, Baldock and Hockliffe, near Leighton Buzzard.

A spokeswoman for Little Chef was unable to confirm how many employees were affected by the closures in the region but in January the company said that between 500 and 600 jobs were likely to be lost nationally, suggesting a regional total of around 80.

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Following completion of its restructuring last month, Little Chef said the 95 restaurants being retained were consistently trading profitably.