By Marcus Leach

Little Chef, the iconic British roadside restaurant chain, owned by private equity boutique and turnaround specialists RCapital, has opened nine new concept restaurants, creating an additional 70 jobs.

This is the first phase of an investment programme being undertaken across the estate over the coming months and years.

In addition to the three original concept restaurants at Popham, Kettering West & York, the additional nine brings the total of new concept restaurants to 12 currently. Customer satisfaction across the 12 concept restaurants is on the up with over 20,000 covers per week, with average spend per head up by over 14%.

RCapital rescued the Little Chef business from collapse in 2007, saving nearly 3,000 jobs. Under RCapital’s ownership, the business has gone from a loss of £7 million to a sustained profit of £2.5 million, with the aim being to return Little Chef to its original place as the number one roadside restaurant.

As part of a substantial £20 million investment programme, the plan is to roll out at least 20 new restaurants in the next twelve months with the rest of the estate to follow.

“Together with the new management team I have spent considerable time analysing the DNA of the Little Chef brand, undertaking extensive research into roadside consumer habits and analysed all of our learnings from our current concept restaurants," Little Chef’s Managing Director, Tracey Mulligan said.

"The team know that if we continue to concentrate on the things that really matter; brand development, fresh new restaurant design, great service and re-focus on quality and provenance of food, tailored around current road user needs, this will make Little Chef more relevant than ever to our 10 million loyal customers and to the new customers we wish to attract.”