|Location||Onslow Village, Guildford|
The Guildford branch was a former Little Chef restaurant located on the southbound side of the A3 near Onslow Village, Guildford, Surrey.
Address and Onsite InformationEdit
Address: A3 Southbound, Onslow Village, Guildford, Surrey, GU2 7RZ
Onsite Facilities: American Golf
The Guildford Bypass opened in 1934, and a garage and filling station was built next to a crossroads. Onslow was built at the same time, next to the garage.
By the 1980s, upgrades to the A31 and A3 had increased the traffic levels considerably, and the old garage became a BP and a Little Chef opened in 1988. By modern standards the services were small and had a dangerous entrance, but in the context of the A3, an outdated, narrow, road with frequent crossroads, it was able to fit in seamlessly. A number of industrial units joined the services.
The Little Chef at Guildford had all of the ingredients of a successful site. Not only was it positioned next to a busy dual carriageway which served a lot of long distance traffic heading to the South Coast but it was also positioned right next to the large town of Guildford and right next to Onslow Village, a densely populated suburb of the area so there was always the chance of attracting locals to the Little Chef as well as traffic on the A3.
Built in Little Chef's house style of the mid 80s to early 90s, with the pitched roof, double front and red brick walls, this branch is typical of the era apart from the branding. In any other site of this era the words "Little Chef" appear in red and white on the front of the building yet here there is only the circular logos.
As Guildford grew, a number of competing facilities moved closer to the services, including a large supermarket. Locals found it easier to use other petrol stations while long-distance traffic probably didn't see the forecourt until it was too late. In 2007, the BP garage closed and was demolished.
After the closure of the BP, the Little Chef started to face problems as the number of customers visiting the restaurant started to decrease and the restaurant became less busier as time went on. Sadly, It all came to an end in 2009 when RCapital decided, without warning, to close two Little Chef branches that were deemed to be underperforming with Guildford being sadly one of the two. The other casualty was South Cave West
Happily, all was not lost as the Little Chef reopened as an American Golf branch in 2009/10. Some eagle eye spotters will notice that an extension was built to the back of the American Golf building after the Little Chef closed. The American Golf is still operating today and it is proving to be doing a fairly good trade.