Little Chef, once the nation's favourite roadside diner, will be forced into administration next week if last-ditch talks to keep the company afloat fail this weekend, according to a report in the Times.
Little Chef, which operates 235 restaurants in Britain and employs almost 4,000 people, has been in crisis talks to save its future over the Christmas break.
The roadside diners are believed to be losing up to £3 million a year, forcing the group to look for new backing to help it meet rent payments.
According to the Times, Simon Heath, the co-owner, and other management will continue talks this weekend about a possible rescue by American investors, as well as talks with the group's main landlords, budget hotel chain Travelodge and the Israeli property group Arazim.
"Negotiations will continue until January 2," a spokeswoman for the company said. "Little Chef is still here."
The spokeswoman told the Times that the group's restaurants would remain open this weekend.
She declined to comment on the possibility that the group might be forced to close down any of the outlets in the new year.
by James Garner