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Kennford North
Kennford North 2008.PNG
Name Kennford North
Number 615
Year Opened 1995/96
Year Closed 2012
Road A38
Location Kennford, Exeter
County Devon
Postcode EX6 7XS

The Kennford North branch was a former Little Chef restaurant located on the northbound side of the A38 near Kennford, Devon.

Address and Onsite Information[]

ADDRESS: A38 Northbound, Devon Expressway, Kennford, Exeter, Devon, EX6 7XS

ONSITE FACILITIES: Esso, Spar (forecourt), Costa Express (forecourt), Route 5 Diner, McDonald's, Costa Drive Thru

History[]

Built as a dual sided service area, Kennford Services can trace its roots back to the early 1970s. In 1970, Forte had just merged with Trusthouses, the owners of Little Chef at the time, to form Trusthouse Forte and had big plans for Little Chef. At this point two top executives, Michael Pickard, the former Trusthouses MD and Allen Jones, the former Little Chef MD, decided to leave the company and set up on their own. Pickard set up Happy Eater as a Little Chef rival and Jones tried to form a company called Mr Chef. However, Forte complained the name was too similar to Little Chef so Jones went back to the drawing board and asked his employees to come up with a name. The one he picked was "Welcome Break". By the mid 1970s there were 10 Welcome Break sites with Kennford (known back then as Haldon Hill) being number 6. In the late 70s Pickard and Jones joined forces and all Welcome Breaks, including Kennford, were re-branded as Happy Eater.

By 1994, Forte had decided that Little Chef was a better brand than Happy Eater and decided to rebrand a majority of Happy Eaters as Little Chef. This programme lasted 3 years, by which time Granada had taken over Forte, with both Kennford restaurants becoming Little Chefs around 1995/96.

Unfortunately in 2007, an upset was to occur as the Kennford South Little Chef had ceased trading when Little Chef's then owners, the People's Restaurant Group were taken into administration and were forced to close 41 Little Chef sites, one of which was Kennford South. This left Kennford North to soldier on alone. After a brief period of time, Kennford South was turned into an independent cafe known as the Haldon Forest Diner, which still retains much of the original Happy Eater look inside.

Even though Kennford North was left to soldier on alone, it didn't trade on for much longer as in 2012, 67 underperforming Little Chefs ceased trading and Kennford North was unfortunately one which closed its doors. It closed its doors by February 2012 and has since become an American themed diner known as the Route 5 Diner. 

In 2020 the services were joined by a Costa outlet and a McDonald's restaurant, both complete with a drive-thru.

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