Little Chef Wiki
Membury South
Membury south little chef.jpg
Name Membury South
Number 433
Year Opened 1993-95
Year Closed 1996
Road M4
Location Membury, Hungerford
County West Berkshire
Postcode RG17 7TZ

The Membury South branch was a former Little Chef restaurant located at Membury Services on the westbound side of the M4 near Membury, West Berkshire. 

Membury Services first opened in 1972 by a motorway service operator known as Ross and was built as a dual sided service station with each side sporting a filling station, a facility building and later a hotel. In the 1980s, both sides of the services saw the addition of a Happy Eater restaurant. The Happy Eaters on each side were housed inside of buildings which were separate to the main facility building, sporting the Happy Eater house design with the trademark Happy Eater chimney and weather vane. 

In the early-mid 1980s, the services saw an operator change from Ross to Welcome Break.

Around 1993, Forte hatched a plan to change all Happy Eaters to Little Chefs as the brand made more money. Both Membury branches had joined the Little Chef ranks by 1995. They continued to soldier on happily in this way.

Before the Granada takeover, Forte decided to provide most Welcome Break service areas (including Membury) with Little Chef restaurants. Some Welcome Break Little Chef sites (like Membury) replaced previous restaurants such as Happy Eater. Leaflets were produced by Forte in order to give travellers a guide of all of the Little Chef locations at Welcome Break sites. However, when Welcome Break were sold in 1996, they were forced to create their own restaurant and hotel alternatives including Red Hen and Welcome Lodge. As a result, both of the Little Chefs at Membury were replaced with Red Hen restaurants in 1996. However, where the westbound Ren Hen was housed inside of the former Little Chef building, the eastbound Red Hen was positioned inside of the main facility building as the old Little Chef on the eastbound side became a staff training centre.

However after eight years, Welcome Break realised that the Red Hen chain didn't make as much money as Little Chef and decided to move away from the table service option altogether. As a result, all of the Red Hen restaurants (including the Memburys) ceased trading in 2004.

Following this, Welcome Break decided to use the building at Membury South as a regional staff training centre.

In 2012, the old Little Chef staff training centre at Membury North became a Starbucks. In 2013, the Welcome Break regional training centre was also converted to a Starbucks.