Consultation over Little Chef closures

‘Jobs at risk’ says company chairman.

A question mark hangs over the future of two roadside cafes operated by Little Chef in East Devon as the company prepares to close 67 branches.

A spokeswoman for Little Chef, which has a total of 161 outlets, has told the Midweek Herald that locations of proposed closures are not being revealed until after a consultation.

However, the company’s chairman says jobs are at risk “throughout the organisation”.

The chain has two cafes in East Devon - one near Shute on the A35 and one near Monkton on the A30.

The sites earmarked for closure have been trading unprofitably for a number of years, the company says.

Ip to 600 jobs will be lost at sites across the country.

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Graham Sims, chairman of Little Chef said: “When we acquired Little Chef four years ago, we inherited a number of sites with leases that were uncompetitive.

“Despite very hard work from some very committed colleagues we have been unable to lift the performances of these sites to a level where they are viable.

“Consequently, following a thorough review in which we considered all the options, it is with regret that we have had to close a number of sites.

“This means some people’s jobs are at risk throughout the organisation.”

Mr Sims added: “We will do everything in our power to help every individual find alternative employment within the Little Chef organisation. I know this will be tough and an uncertain time for many people in our team.

By closing these sites we will be able to focus our attention on protecting over 1500 of our colleagues’ jobs and enabling our investments to be targeted on our remaining strong sites and to develop our brand and our New Concept - towards which the customer response has been very positive.”

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