Abington Motorway Services
Name Abington Motorway Services
Number 473 (estimated)
Year Opened 1992/93
Year Closed 1997/98
Road M74/A74(M), A73, A702
Location Abington, South Lanarkshire
County South Lanarkshire
Postcode ML12 6RG

The Abington Motorway Services branch was a former Little Chef located within the Welcome Break motorway service area at Abington (M74 J13)

This site replaced two existing Little Chefs (Abington North and Abington South) when the A74 was upgraded to motorway. A proper motorway services was deemed necessary to fulfill the requirements of the motorway traveller and so Forte chose to relocate and expand its operations at a new junction site which easily served all routes. The Little Chef opened at the same time as the rest of the complex, coinciding with the closure of the old facilities further south. 

Curiously Forte never gave this Little Chef a number - or if it did it was missed off all subsequent publications which listed Little Chef sites - so we have assumed the number 473 for it which was never used and in keeping with the numbers used for other sites which opened at the time.

The Little Chef had a prime position in the services being right opposite the main entrance to the services building and therefore the first thing customers saw when they entered. 

However, in 1995 Granada made a hostile takeover bid for Forte, which was successful, giving them control of all Forte's roadside brands including Welcome Break, Little Chef, Happy Eater and Travelodge. However, given that they were already a major player in the world of roadside services, Granada were then forced to sell off all Forte's motorway sites by the Monopolies and Mergers Commission. Thus Welcome Break along with its motorway sites (with its non-motorway sites retained under the Granada brand) was sold but Granada retained the rest of the brands for its own sites. Welcome Break motorway sites, like Abington, were allowed to retain Little Chef, Travelodge or Happy Eater for a short time until Welcome Break's new owners came up with a new concept. By 1998, Abington's Little Chef had gone and had been replaced by Welcome Break's new in-house brand Red Hen. This was essentially the same format as Little Chef but with more of a country farm feel to it. Red Hen was phased out in the early 2000s as Welcome Break decided to focus more on the emerging cafe culture and replaced Red Hen with in-house Coffee brand Coffee Primo with Abington's Red Hen changing in 2002. Further change came from 2010 onwards with Coffee Primo replaced by Starbucks which is the brand that currently fills the former Little Chef space at Abington Motorway Services.