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The Rise in Roadside Hospitality

Remember Little Chef and Happy Eater? This year is set to bring a revival of roadside eateries, with new restaurants being launched.

Could this mark the return of popular roadside dining?

Launch of New Roadside Restaurants

Loungers, a leading nationwide operator of the Cosy Club and Lounge restaurant brands, says it sees the potential to reinvigorate roadside dining in the UK and has just launched a new roadside dining brand, Brightside.

The first Brightside site is now open on the A38, south of Exeter, with two additional locations opening this year, one in Cornwall in the Spring and another in Devon this Summer. Brightside offers fresh food and value for money in nostalgic surroundings, with plenty of vegan and gluten-free options.

Loungers are not the only ones, as upmarket hotel and diner brand Mollie’s Motel & Diner has announced plans to expand to over 100 sites over the next 10 years, which includes roadside locations, with around 75 bedrooms and a 145 cover diner.

Fast restaurant brand PizzaLuxe is also looking to ‘shift the stigma’ around what restaurants in the travel space can offer with expansion planned across the UK’s motorway network in the coming years.

Why Are Roadside Eateries Increasing in Popularity?


Roadside restaurants offer a quick and convenient service, with everything in one place. Customers can take a break, refuel or recharge their batteries and stock up on a few essentials, without having to divert off their route and add extra time to their journey.

Rise in Staycations

A recent survey by Verdant found that 84% of people are likely to go on a staycation in 2023, with over half (56%) of those saying that the cost of living crisis would steer them towards a staycation over a holiday abroad.

With more and more people using the roads, with many planning staycations, roadside eateries are expected to increase in popularity.


With the cost of living crisis, customers are seeking more affordable prices. Many find roadside diners are often cheaper than restaurants situated in town.

Investment & an Image Overhaul

Part of the reason brands like Little Chef and Happy Eater struggled and eventually closed, was many people considered the food poor quality and not value for money. Unfortunately, even famous Michelin star chef, Heston Blumenthal redoing the whole Little Chef menu in 2009, was not enough to save it. With large overheads and increased competition from fast food chains and street vendors, who offered a quicker service at cheaper prices, traditional sit-down restaurants were unable to compete.

Investment from large chains such as the Loungers group and Mollie’s Motel & Diner, will be looking to reinvent the dining experience and keep up with changing consumer trends. Healthier, more diverse food that can successfully cater for dietary requirements will be important. As will be the need to embrace technology, offering customers high speed wi-fi and a unique dining experience.

Deliver a Quick Convenient Service

Undoubtedly, one of the key benefits of stopping at a roadside restaurant is a quick convenience service.

MCR Systems makes this possible with SymPOS GO, a convenient and portable mobile EPOS device that can take payments quickly from anywhere.

To book your free demo, call our expert team on 0116 299 7000, or email


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