Rcapital, which announced its intention to sell Little Chef in April, revealed over the weekend that it had sold the iconic business to Kout Food Group Restaurants UK Limited (KFGR-UK). According to press reports, the company was sold for around £15m.
Little Chef's new owner also controls the Maison Blanc brand as well as more than 40 Burger King and KFC units and the Cha Cha Moon noodle restaurant concept which was developed by Alan Yau.
Business turnaround firm Rcapital, which acquired Little Chef in 2007 after the company went into administration, had been concerned that the Little Chef brand would be removed from a number of sites following any sale or could disappear altogether.
However Jamie Constable, chief executive of Rcapital, said the sale to the UK arm of Kout Food Group had progressed because of its commitment to the long-term future of the brand.
"Having owned Little Chef for a long time it feels like we are selling part of ourselves," he admitted. "But we take comfort from the fact that the new owners will take the brand to the next stage.
KFGR-UK’s chairperson, Fadwa Al Homaizi, said: "KFGR-UK has exciting plans to revitalise the Little Chef brand. Little Chef will benefit from a process of brand renewal in keeping with current trends, supported by traditional British values."
The sale of the iconic roadside restaurant operator is the latest twist in the eventful Little Chef story.
It opened its first site in Reading in 1958 and grew to 234 sites. However the business went into administration in 2007 and various attempts were made to revive the fortunes of the brand including new leadership, a sell-off of sites and even bringing in Heston Blumenthal to transform the diner's food.
"We turn businesses around; we rebuild and fix them, that’s our business. Looking back, Little Chef was the biggest and longest turnaround in our nine year history," said Constable.
“When we bought the chain, it needed huge changes to revive the business and bring it back to profitability. 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," he added.
Little Chef is currently recruiting for a number of restaurant managers to work across the UK - for more information and to apply, click here.