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Capel St Mary
Capel St Mary.jpg
Name Capel St Mary
Number 658
Year Opened 1996/97
Year Closed 2000/01
Road A12
Location Capel St Mary, Ipswich
County Suffolk
Postcode IP9 2JR

The Capel St Mary branch was a former Little Chef restaurant located on the northbound side of the A12 near Capel St Mary, Suffolk

Address and Onsite Facilities[]

ADDRESS: London Road, Capel St Mary, Ipswich, Suffolk, IP9 2JR

ONSITE FACILITIES: Zaynab Indian Cuisine

History[]

Life at Capel St Mary started in the early 1980s, when a Happy Eater restaurant was built by then owners, Forte, just to the south of the village. With Little Chef already dominating Little Chef's road network, Forte wanted to increase the profile of some of their other roadside brands, including Happy Eater. It was built as a standalone restaurant and although it was built specifically to cater for northbound traffic, it could be accessed by all traffic via a local road; however, this meant quite a detour for southbound traffic.

In 1985/86, Forte built a dual sided Little Chef site immediately to the north of the Happy Eater. Although this essentially created competition between the two brands, they were both owned by the same company, therefore the rivalry was considered to be pretend competition.

By the early 90s, Forte established that out of the roadside brands in which they owned, Little Chef was considered the most profitable and as a result, began converting a majority of the Happy Eater estate into Little Chefs. This was a process later continued by successors, Granada, who acquired both Happy Eater and Little Chef from Forte in the mid 90s. Despite the two Little Chefs to the north already operating in full swing, the Happy Eater at Capel St Mary became a Little Chef by 1997, creating a localised hotspot of three Little Chefs within a quarter of a mile of each other!

However, the Little Chef here was very short lived and was gone by 2001, probably due to the close proximity of the dual sided site, which was not only larger but also had more facilities which were more likely to attract additional custom, such as a filling station and even a Travelodge hotel on the southbound side. For several years, the Little Chef traded as a cafe known as Harvest Moon Cafe, although this later closed. Today it operates as an Indian restaurant known as Zaynab

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