James Caan 'planning rescue of Little Chef'
Caan could buy revamped roadside eatery chain and even expand it into the Middle East
JAMES CAAN is planning a rescue bid for the Little Chef chain which would save the name in the UK and result in the franchise being expanded to the Middle East, reports the Daily Telegraph.
Former Dragons' Den star Caan's private equity firm, Hamilton Bradshaw, is carrying out due diligence on the restaurant group, which was put up for sale by Rcapital in April.
Last month, it was claimed that catering chains including Costa, McDonald's and KFC were interested in buying and rebranding the Little Chef group.
Now sources close to Caan have suggested he is interested in buying the brand and securing the majority of Little Chef's 1,100 jobs. The starting price for the group is believed to be between £10m and £15m.
The Little Chef chain was bought out of administration in 2007 by RCapital, in a deal reported to be worth £9m. Chef Heston Blumenthal was brought it as part of the revamp to help redesign the chain's menus. The business now operates at a profit.
Caan believes that the motorway service station chain could be expanded to the Middle East, where such franchises are under-developed.
The Little Chef news comes after a tough week for Caan, the government's new social mobility tsar. He was accused of hypocrisy when he spoke out against nepotism – only for it to be revealed that he employs both his daughters. The elder girl, Jemma, 26, works for a recruitment firm he part-owns. Her sister Hanah, 25, is on the board of trustees of the James Caan Foundation.