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Roadchef Motorways Ltd [1]
Industry Hospitality
Founded July 1973 (July 1973)
Headquarters Norton Canes services, UK
Area served
Key people
Simon Turl (Chief Executive)
Revenue £200,000,000
Number of employees
Parent Antin IP
Website Roadchef

Roadchef is a company which operates 28 motorway service areas in 20 locations in the UK. Behind Moto and Welcome Break, it is the third largest motorway service area operator (followed by Extra).[2]


Roadchef was founded in July 1973 by Lindley Catering Investments and Galleon World Travel.[3][4] The company was originally family owned but in November 1995 was sold to a management team and its most recent change of ownership was to the Israeli Delek Group.[5]

Over the years Roadchef have acquired a portfolio of 20 sites. A large expansion occurred in 1998 when Roadchef agreed to purchase Blue Boar Group and Take A Break for £80 million and thus proceeded to integrate these acquisitions into an enlarged Roadchef Group. At the time, Blue Boar was the fourth largest operator of motorway services areas in the UK with three operational sites and one development site. The acquired Watford Gap site was the first motorway service area to be opened in the UK in 1959 and is one of the UK’s best known sites. A few years ago (according to Google Finance), "Roadchef Motorways was one of the largest Motorway Services Area (MSA) operators in the UK, with 21 sites representing 24% of the market and serving some 60 million visitors each year."[6]

Roadchef recently announced a multi-million refurbishment programme[7] and their newly refurbished Clacket Lane services on the M25 is one of the largest sites in the UK. They are also very proud of their Strensham services on the M5[8] which contain a wealth of new brands and included the successful trials of McDonalds, WHSmith[9] and The Hot Food Company (Restaurant);[10][11] this occurred as a result of the 2008 refurbishment[12] and has also given the services a number of unique brands which include Soho Coffee Co, Pizza Hut Express, Subway and Cotton Traders.


Roadchef operate the following services:


Roadchef motorway service areas have varying facilities but despite this all sites provide two hours free parking, toilets and food 24 hours a day, seven days a week.[13] generally have Costa Coffee and McDonald's. Throughout 2007, the independent site Motorway Services Online had Roadchef listed as the operator with the lowest rating. This role has now been taken by First.[14][15]

Restbite (Restaurant)[edit]

Available at most service areas, this is Roadchef's own brand self-service, free-flow restaurant. It is slowly being phased out in favour of McDonalds.[16]

Hot Food Company (Restaurant)[edit]

Available at three Roadchef service areas (Clacket Lane, Sandbach and Strensham) it was designed to reflect changing customer demands as less time is spent in the restaurant. It offers similar food to Restbite (Restaurant) but utilises counter service as opposed to a free-flow self-service environment. This is so as to save space and reduce queues.[17][18]

The Burger Company[edit]

This own-brand fast food outlet is available at some Roadchef service areas and replaced the failing Wimpy chain. It is a quick fix until the sites are to be all refurbished to McDonalds outlet of which Roadchef is a fairly recent franchisee.[19][20]


This company are coming to many Roadchef service areas as part of their £12,000,000 refurbishment plans.[21] The Burger Company (which replaced the former Wimpy) is being replaced with this franchised outlet which aims to provide McDonald's well known food at high street prices.[22][23]

Pizza Hut Express[edit]

Pizza Hut have one motorway outlet which is found at Strensham Northbound only.[24][25]


A branch of the Subway sandwich chain can be found at Strensham Northbound only (in the forecourt).[26] This is just their second motorway outlet.[27]

Costa Coffee[edit]

Courtesy of Costa, Italian coffee (along with other drinks, snacks and sandwiches/toasties) is served at all Roadchef service areas. The replacement of an own-brand coffee shop with a high street name was pioneered by Roadchef in 2007 whilst also pioneering advertising brands such as Costa on motorway signage through a legal loophole. Moto followed soon after (also using Costa) and later Welcome Break utilised Starbucks.[28][29] Roadchef are currently refurbishing and expanding their Costa outlets as part of their £12,000,000 refurbishment project.[30]

Pasty Presto[edit]

Operates 3 Pasty Presto kiosks. Situated at its Sedgemoor southbound, Strensham southbound and Taunton Deane southbound services. Also formally had kiosks at Chester and Norton Canes.

Pasty Presto is a chain of Cornish pasty shops providing quality products and excellent service.

Offering handmade award winning genuine Cornish pasties, delicious gourmet coffee and fresh pastries baked in store on the day of sale to guarantee the highest of quality.

Soho Coffee Co[edit]

This was introduced to Strensham Southbound during their 2008 refurbishment.[31] In 2012, it was also introduced to its northbound counterpart Strensham Northbound. They provide coffee, snacks, small meals and a salad bar.[32]


WHSmith originally replaced all of Moto's own-brand shops after a successful trial at Toddington and this was copied by Welcome Break and eventually Roadchef where it has been deemed a massive success.[33] The stores stock WHSmith's usual travel store range which includes food, drinks, newspapers and magazines, stationery, books and much more at typical high street prices. WHSmith can be found at every Roadchef service area.


Fonebitz is available at seven Roadchef locations and offer a small selection of pay as you go phones and phone accessories along with advice and expertise.[34] The outlets vary greatly in size from a tiny kiosk to a moderately sized store.[35]

Cotton Traders[edit]

Cotton Traders currently have 6 outlets in RoadChef services. Strensham services were the first to gain a Cotton Traders.[36][37]

Days Inn[edit]

This budget hotel chain operates all the motels sited at Roadchef motorway service areas after being rebranded to Days Inn from Premier Inn in September 2010.[38][39]


Roadchef use a range of forecourt operators which include BP, Esso, Shell and Texaco [40] to provide fuel at all their service areas. Roadchef are the first UK motorway service station operator to install a network of 50 kW DC rapid charge points at their motorway service area across the UK to improve the uptake of electric vehicles and attract different customers for longer (whilst their vehicles charge). The first charge point was installed at Clacket Lane Services with the remaining sites to be completed by September 2014.[41]

See also[edit]


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  6. ^ Roadchef Motorways Limited - Google Finance
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