|Location||Corwin Roundabout, Hayle|
The Hayle branch was a former Little Chef located at the Carwin Roundabout by Hayle, Cornwall.
Hayle was one of two sites to open between 1988 and 1990 on the A30 in Cornwall with fellow site Chiverton Cross opening slightly further north east around a year earlier. Both restaurants were in the same style. This differed slightly from Little Chef's house style of the era - double fronted with large windows and built from red brick - as both sites were white harled with wooden gables and smaller windows with wood detailing. They were also much woodier inside with darker wood trim, partitions and wicker lampshades. It is believed that Forte, at the time, was experimenting with different building designs and interiors so these two were guinea pigs!
The Hayle site represented the ideal formula for Little Chef by being located at an at-grade roundabout, meaning it was visible and served multiple routes, by being located alongside a filling station for greater complimentary business and by being located on a major tourist road close to a large employment centre. A good choice.
When Hayle opened it became something of a celebrity in Little Chef terms being both the furthest south and the furthest west site in the UK. However, the quality of the location did not go unnoticed with McDonalds and Brewers Fayre also setting up in close proximity to the Little Chef. It is thought that this, along with seasonal variations in traffic levels on the A30, may have had an impact on the site's business.
In 2004, the owners Permira decided to put Little Chef up for sale and, in doing so, put 131 of their sites up for sale, earmarking them for closure. Hayle was one of these closing in 2004/5. It is unknown if, due to subsequent business and owner changes over the next 7 years, the site was just forgotten about but it lay empty and wasn't actually advertised for sale until 2011. By this time there was a Travelodge onsite, alongside the Little Chef too which was constucted after the Little Chef's closure. Although the two brands weren't under common ownership at the time the lodge was built, it could only have helped the case for the restaurant as it would have given it a captive on-site audience, especially in the evenings and at breakfast.
The site still lies empty but would make a great re-opening for Little Chef.