A ROADSIDE restaurant chain based in Sheffield is to slash its workforce by almost a third – by closing nearly 70 cafes around the country, as well as cutting jobs at its head office in the city.
Little Chef has announced plans to shut 67 of its 161 restaurants, as well as axing around 20 workers at its headquarters off Brightside Lane.
Up to 600 people in full and part-time roles face losing their jobs. Little Chef says the branches earmarked for closure are not turning a profit and pledged to help find jobs for affected staff elsewhere in the firm.
The Little Chef brand was saved in 2007 by turnaround group RCapital when it fell into administration.
Chairman Graham Sims said the group inherited a number of ‘uncompetitive’ sites following the takeover more than four years ago.
“Despite very hard work from some very committed colleagues, we’ve 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 we have had to close a number of sites. This means some people’s jobs are at risk throughout the organisation.”
Mr Sims added: “We will do everything in our power to help every individual find alternative employment within the organisation. I know this will be tough and an uncertain time for many people in our team.” He said closing the restaurants will enable the company to ‘protect’ around 1,500 jobs, and invest in revamped cafes and menus.
Last year several revamped branches opened, featuring a menu created by Michelin-starred chef Heston Blumenthal as part of a Channel Four television show.
The cafes, located next to motorways and major roads, still serve the chain’s traditional dishes.