The Axminster branch was a Little Chef restaurant located on the A35 in Shute near Axminster, Devon.
ADDRESS: A35, Shute, Axminster, Devon, EX13 7PZ
ONSITE FACILITIES: Starbucks
Throughout the 70s and 80s, and in order to rapidly expand the Little Chef chain across Britain, Forte set about purchasing a number of roadside buildings on major A-roads, including existing cafes and houses, and converting them into Little Chef restaurants. This was a process which saved time and money as it meant that Forte didn't have to build as many restaurants from scratch. Opened in 1984/85, Axminster was a standalone Little Chef restaurant in the village of Shute, a few miles away from Axminster, and was formerly the Swanmoor Café.
Although deprived of any other onsite facilities, Axminster's location on a single carriageway section of the A35 meant that the restaurant was easily accessible to all traffic. Furthermore, the route's popularity with holidaymakers retreating to nearby Cornwall and the rest of Devon meant that it was a site popular with tourists as well. It was a site well chosen.
Although it is believed that Axminster didn't receive the Choices makover in 2002, it received similar furniture used in this refurbishment scheme, giving the restaurant the character of a Choices branch without the use of menus from other brands. Around 2015, the restaurant was given a light refresh and the furniture had changed once again.
Despite doing a decent trade, coupled with the fact that this standalone Little Chef had dodged a huge closures list between 2001 and 2012 (an era when standalone restaurants were usually the ones up for the chop), the Little Chef at Axminster finally closed its doors in 2017, following Little Chef's takeover by service station operator, Euro Garages. It later reopened as a Starbucks.