Roadside restaurant chain Little Chef has confirmed that it will close 67 sites and shed between 500 and 600 jobs.
In a statement the company said the sites had been trading unprofitably for a number of years and their closure would allow Little Chef to focus its resources on developing its more successful restaurants. This includes rolling out its deli concept and opening in new locations.
Once the closures and staff consultations have been completed Little Chef will operate 94 sites and employ approximately 1,500 people.
Chairman Graham Sims said that when the business was rescued from administration by private equity firm RCapital in 2007 it 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," he said. "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.
"By closing these sites we will be able to focus our attention on protecting over 1,500 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."
By James Stagg
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