The Stoke branch was a former Little Chef restaurant located on the A500 near Stoke on Trent, Staffordshire.
Address and Onsite InformationEdit
ADDRESS: A34/A500 Junction, Talke Pits, Talke, Stoke on Trent, Staffordshire, ST7 1UP
ONSITE FACILITIES: EG Diner, Subway, Travelodge (Book Room)
The site is situated at a busy grade separated junction serving the A500 and A34 roads near Stoke on Trent and not far from the M6 motorway.
The site was first built during the 1980s by Granada as part of their plan to expand into the A-roads. In terms of naming, the site has been given a couple of names with Stoke being the most common and Talke being the originally planned name. Granada used Stoke as a chance to expand their small 3 star hotel chain, Granada Hotel. The chain only had a few sites with Alfreton (A38), Charnock Richard (M6) and Sheffield included as part of the few. The hotels usually had integrated restaurants within the building and the usual filling station next door (with the exception of Stoke). However, by 1994 Granada decided to sell off three of these smaller services come hotel sites at Alfreton, Sheffield and Stoke on Trent to focus on its core portfolio and Forte took them over. The restaurants became Little Chefs and the hotels became Travelodges.
Ironically, after deciding to get rid of them, Granada then ended up inheriting the sites back as part of its takeover of Forte a year later and, now with its hands on both Little Chef and Travelodge. During this period, a Burger King was added alongside the Little Chef, but this closed in the mid 2000s. Once again though, Granada lost their power over Little Chef in the early 2000s and handed the responsibility to Compass, which didn't last long in owning Little Chef.
In 2002, the Little Chef recieved the "New Choices" Makeover, giving it some smart new furniture and access to exciting menus from Harry Ramsdens, Upper Crust, Wiseguys Pizza and Caffe Ritazza. Like a few other Little Chefs such as Penrith and Haydock, Stoke also recieved a licensed bar as part of the refurbishment. However, the menus were later removed and it continued to trade as a standard Little Chef, but quite a smart one
In 2014, Stoke received a Subway outlet, giving the site a boost in terms of facilities.
In 2017, Euro Garages took over the Little Chef chain and throughout the year, a majority of the restaurants were converted into brands such as Starbucks and Subway. By January 2018, only half of the Little Chef restaurants remaining were converted, leaving around 35 to 40 Little Chefs still trading. Due to Euro Garages being unable to use the Little Chef name after 31st January 2018, they had to think of an option to quickly convert the remaining restaurants. This was when EG Diner was born and Stoke was one of the first of these to open. However, these EG Diners at the moment are literally just unbranded Little Chefs with the EG Diner menu. The remaining Little Chefs are expected to follow the same path, although some will only be open for a short period of time, as they have further plans to be replaced by other brands.