|Location||Winterbourne Zelston, Bere Regis|
Address and Onsite InformationEdit
ADDRESS: Red Post Services, A31, Winterbourne Zelston, Bere Regis, Dorset, DT11 9EX
The services first opened in the 1980s and was home to a filling station and a Happy Eater restaurant, which opened in 1985. The duo of facilities made up the Red Post service area which gained its name from a crossroad nearby which had a red fingerpost often used in navigation when prisoners were being transported from Dorchester Prison to Poole. The prison wardens would've been told to "turn right at the red fingerpost" when transporting the prisoners.
Along with Happy Eater, Little Chef was also a roadside restaurant chain which was growing all over the UK. However, out of the two, then owners Forte saw that Little Chef was the more lucrative brand, thus between the early to late 90s, a majority of existing Happy Eater sites were converted into Little Chefs by Forte and by 1997, Bere Regis Happy Eater had joined the Little Chef portfolio.
In its Little Chef guise, Bere Regis seemed to be a decent Little Chef site. Although quite a rural site located miles away from the nearest town, the lack of alternatives nearby made Bere Regis an attractive Little Chef site, not only for regular commuters who use the A31 but also for holidaymakers, who would use this section of road to gain access to the west of England.
In August 2014, the Little Chef was joined by a Subway outlet as part of Kout's plan to replace Little Chef Express.
In 2017, Euro Garages took over the Little Chef chain and throughout the year, a majority of the restaurants were converted into brands such as Starbucks and Subway. By January 2018, only half of the Little Chef restaurants remaining were converted, leaving around 35 to 40 Little Chefs still trading. Due to Euro Garages being unable to use the Little Chef name after 31st January 2018, they had to think of an option to quickly convert the remaining restaurants. This was when EG Diner was born and Bere Regis was one of the first of these to open. However, at the end of Summer 2018, the EG Diner ceased trading, leaving the Subway to soldier on alone. Unexpectedly, the BP filling station later closed its doors in late 2018, followed by the closure of the Subway in March 2019, leaving a now abandoned eyesore on the side of the A31. It is currently unknown what the future of the site will hold.