Todhills North
Todhills north little chef
Name Todhills North
Number 691
Year Opened 1993-95
Year Closed 2008
Road A74
Location Todhills, Cumbria
County Cumbria
Postcode CA6 4HA

The Todhills North branch was a former Little Chef restaurant on the northbound side of the A74 dual carriageway between Carlisle and the Scottish border.

Opened between 1988 and 1992 (but down as "Opening soon" as of 1988), Todhills Happy Eater was a new build site next to the existing Todhills North filling station. On opening, it became the furthest north Happy Eater in the UK. It dates from the era when Forte owned both the Little Chef and Happy Eater brands and, given the proximity of the site to the existing Little Chef at Gretna, it made sense to give customers more choice.

In 1993, Forte decided that Little Chef made more money than Happy Eater and decided to change all the Happy Eaters to Little Chef. By 1995 Todhills had become a Little Chef with a Little Chef Coffee Stop also housed within its building. This became a Burger King when Granada got their hands on Little Chef and decided to roll out the brand at their busier sites alongside the Little Chef. This was a short-lived facility however.

In 2000/01 Little Chef's then owners, Compass, took over and demolished the Moss Truck Stop on the southbound carriageway opposite Todhills and built a Little Chef and Travelodge on the site, alongside the existing BP filling station. The new site became Todhills South and the existing northbound side became Todhills North. This became Little Chef's 3rd dual site on the A74 (although the other 2 were both long gone by this point) and was is the last Little Chef dual site to be created to date.

In 2002, Compass sold Little Chef and Travelodge to Permira of Canada but retained a handfull of Little Chef sites to be managed by their motorway services devision, Moto. Todhills North and South were amongst these. The Little Chefs would be retained under a franchise agreement.

Around 2006, construction began on upgrading the A74 between the Scottish Border and Carlisle, known as the Cumberland Gap, to motorway. This final section would complete the motorway between Glasgow and Carlisle. What though would be the fate of the Little Chefs? In 1992 when the Cumberland Gap upgrade was first discussed, written approval was given by the Transport Minister to allow the facilities to remain connected to the new motorway yet the facilities that Todhills provided were not sufficient to constitute a motorway service area under English legislation. In 2008 all became clear. Under new legislation, Todhills was able to become the UK's only Motorway Rest Area. This would allow it to remain connected to the motorway yet it would not have to provide the same level of facilities of a full blown motorway service area. However, by this time, site operator Moto was now owned by a new company who had decided to end their franchise agreement with Little Chef and instead bring in Costa. Thus, in 2008, coinciding with the opening of the new section of motorway, both Little Chefs were replaced by Costa which they trade as today.

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