Little Chef is in exclusive negotiations with the co-founders of the Out of Town restaurant group, Lawrence Wosskow and Simon Heath, about an autumn sale.
The deal, for all 233 Little Chef roadside sites and the brand name, is currently in due diligence and is expected to be signed for a figure in the region of £55m.
The 233 sites include 118 stand-alone properties and 115 restaurants co-located on Travelodge sites, the budget hotel chain owned by parent group Permira.
"It simplified things to sell the whole kit and caboodle," said a Little Chef spokesman, "Travelodge is now completely a hotel business and Little Chef remains a true road network brand."
The spokesman added that he expected Wosskow and Heath to retain the brand. "It was very much sold as a going concern but they will obviously change things and make it more up to date."
Among the five failed bidders was restaurant group Paramount.
Wosskow and Heath founded the Out of Town restaurant group in 1988. They sold it to venture capital group Penta in December 2002 through a management buy-in.
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