The Ecton East branch was a former Little Chef restaurant located on the eastbound side of the A45 near Ecton, Northamptonshire.
Address and Onsite InformationEdit
ADDRESS: A45 Eastbound, Ecton, Northamptonshire, NN3 5LU
ONSITE FACILITIES: Scoffer's Cafe, Esso
A site with history. Built by Roadchef in the 1980s, this was one of a pair of sites (Ecton West being the partner). At this point, possibly having seen the success Forte had with non-motorway sites and the Little Chef brand, competitors Granada, Welcome Break, Rank and Roadchef were all eyeing up the major A-roads with a thought to installing scaled-down motorway services upon them.
At the time, the A45 was the main route from the M1 at Northampton and linking the A1, the M11, the A11 and large settlements of Northampton, Cambridge and Ipswich to the port at Felixstowe. As a result, a good, busy route to choose and by the end of the 80s Little Chef, AJ's, Kelly's Kitchen and Roadchef all had a presence on the stretch between Northampton and the A1. Roadchef's flirtation was short lived and by the early 90s, AJ's had taken over both Ectons. By 1991, Kelly's Kitchen has been bought by Forte who had rebranded their two sites to the east of Ecton - Wellingborough (W) and Rushden (E) as Little Chef and by 1998, Little Chef's then owners Granada, having already bought Forte two years previously, also bought AJ's and rebranded all the sites as Little Chef, including both Ectons. This gave them 7 Little Chefs in and around the A45 in the short space between the M1 and the A1. In addition, with the opening of the A14 between the M1 and A1 just to the north of this section of the A45, this route had become quieter.
Casualties were inevitable and with Rushden and Wellingborough so close by, and already decked out in Little Chef's corporate identity, the axe fell on the Ectons between 1999 and 2000.
While Ecton East re-opened as successful independent, Scoffers, West was not so lucky and to date it still lies empty. It has now been vandalised and left in a state of disrepair for so long that its demise seems fairly inevitable
So the Little Chef may have been short lived but Scoffer's still happily soldiers on with many positive reviews.