Little Chef in £15m Kuwaiti sale
- 4 August 2013
- From the section Business
The Little Chef restaurant chain has been sold to a Kuwaiti-owned business.
The BBC understands that Little Chef, which employs 1,100 people, was sold for about £15m.
It has been taken over by the UK arm of Kout Food Group, which already runs more than 40 Burger King and KFC outlets in the UK as well as the Maison Blanc brand.
Turnaround specialists RCapital put the company up for sale in April and had warned about its future.
Little Chef serves more than 6 million customers a year.
Kout "has exciting plans to revitalise the Little Chef brand," said Fadwa al-Homaizi, the chairwoman of Kout's UK arm.
"Little Chef will benefit from a process of brand renewal in keeping with current trends, supported by traditional British values," she added.
There had been fears that Little Chef would disappear from the UK's A-roads, marking the end of more than 50 years of trading in the UK, which began with an 11-seat restaurant in Reading in 1958.
RCapital has owned the roadside restaurant chain following administration in 2007, when it underwent significant restructuring.
That included cutting the number of outlets from 234 to 83 and reducing staff numbers from 4,000 to 1,100.
The firm said that Little Chef was the "biggest and longest turnaround in our nine-year history".
Jamie Constable, the head of Rcapital said: "Since we put Little Chef up for sale people have asked us, why sell the business? The answer is very simple. We are specialists in reversing the fortunes of businesses with significant financial and operational problems.
"It was much harder than we expected. As the country faced one of the worst economic declines in living memory, we rolled up our sleeves and got on with it, we believed we could make it work and we did."