The Warminster branch was a former Little Chef restaurant located at the junction of the A36 and A350 near Warminster, Wiltshire.
Address and Onsite InformationEdit
ADDRESS: Warminster Services, Bath Road, Warminster, Wiltshire, BA12 7RU
ONSITE FACILITIES: BP, EG Diner, Burger King, Subway, Travelodge (Book Room)
Warminster Services opened in 1992 and was positioned just off a roundabout serving the A36 and A350 roads. Roundabout sites were always great places to build service stations at as they provided easy access to all routes and were also easily spotable. Warminster was built by Motorway Services giant Granada as part of their plans to conquer the A-roads with scaled-down motorway-style sites. Others included Blyth (A1), Musselburgh (A1), Markfield (A50), Colsterworth (A1), Saltash (A38) and their older site at Monmouth (A40). All of the other service areas opened before Warminster, making it the newest proper A-road service station today. These each had a Granada Country Kitchen restaurant, shop, small arcade area, lodge and fuel forecourt. In the early 90s, Granada decided to replace the restaurant at all A-road sites, with the exception of Blyth, with AJ's Family Restaurants who it had done a deal with. This gave them a direct rival to Forte's Little Chef brand for the first time. They then added Burger King to all sites.
However, in 1995 Granada got their hands on rival chain Forte and this gave Granada control of Forte's well established roadside brands. By 1996 the AJ's at Warminster became a Little Chef and its lodge a Travelodge. Subsequent owner changes around 2000 then saw Granada merge with Compass and demerge again leaving Compass with the roadside portfolio. In 2002 Compass then passed Little Chef and Travelodge onto Permira of Canada. However, Granada, now called Moto, kept Little Chef, BK and Travelodge at Warminster as part of a franchise agreement.
In 2006, following a successful trial, a Coffee Tempo! outlet was built alongside the Little Chef and BK. However, the Coffee Tempo! at the services changed to a Little Chef Express in 2012 along with 10 other Coffee Tempo! sites.
In 2016, the Little Chef was given a refurbishment. However, it did not sport the Wonderfully British design. Instead, it was given a retro 60s/70s look with a chequered carpet, wooden chairs and retro lampshades. Along with the refurbishment, a Subway opened alongside the Little Chef.
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 Warminster 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.