Little Chef entrusts IAS Smarts with fresh look

The roadside restaurant chain Little Chef has called in PR support ahead of the launch of its first new-look branch later this year.

Birmingham-based PR shop IAS Smarts has picked up the six-figure account following a four-way pitch. It becomes the chain's first retained agency since 2006, when Little Chef used Euro RSCG Biss Lancaster.

Decreasing sales forced Little Chef into administration last January, after which the company was bought by private equity group R Capital for less than £10m.

R Capital has been looking for a buyer since last summer, but has struggled to find anyone willing to take on the whole business.

Now it looks likely that it will shelve plans to sell the whole business and may sell up to 20 sites instead.

IAS Smarts' Birmingham office director Rebecca Scully said: 'Whether it is selling the company or not, the critical thing is to start making more of the brand. There is a perception that Little Chef has gone away. It is now turning that around and showing that the menu has changed.'

Little Chef marketing director Cathy Stevenson insisted that PR activities would not support any drive to sell individual outlets or the entire company.

The agency will promote the opening of the first new-look restaurant in autumn and the brand's 50th birthday party in September.

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