Venturethree has completed an overhaul of Little Chef that sees the brand adopt what the consultancy claims is a ‘Wonderfully British’ approach. And ‘Charlie the Chef’ has a new outfit too
Little Chef has been trying hard to update its dowdy image ever since it was taken over by new owners in 2007. Heston Blumenthal was brought in to update its menu, the process of which was featured in a TV documentary.
Blumenthal introduced new dishes and new cooking methods in a trial modernised branch of Little Chef in Popham, Hampshire. The exercise apparently proved successful – the chain has opened nine new branches in the past year and plans 20 more.
Venturethree has, it says, tried to reposition the chain as a ‘modern British brand’ with new menus, interiors and the introduction of a take away service.
First of all, there’s the logo. Venturethree has given the Little Chef himself, known as Charlie, a new outfit and relieved him of that strange bowl of white stuff he previously bore aloft in his right hand. He no longer seems to be wearing a romper suit and instead sports an on-trend double-breasted affair (new Charlie shown top, old Charlie below).
Apparently he is also “friendlier and more refined, with new energy and purpose,” according to venturethree’s CEO and strategic director Philip Orwell. Erm, OK. Well, he certainly looks more modern (perhaps based on Heston himself?) especially when featured on these fly posters
The logotype has also changed, the upper case having been replaced by that old design consultancy standby for ‘friendliness’, the script face.
There will also be a new range of Good To Go take away food
A new colour scheme is designed to tie in with the British theme, featuring (as seen on the trays above) ‘mushy pea green, raspberry ripple pink, English mustard yellow and baked bean orange’.
Menus make much use of the chatty copy style made famous by Innocent to reinforce what Venturethree claims is a tone of voice rooted in British humour.
Most striking are a series of Pop Art style giant sculptures of a ketchup bottle, tea mug and lollipop (a normal size version of which kids get for finishing their meal) that will appear at various Little Chefs around the country.
They look fantastic in the renders – hopefully they’ll look just as good in a drizzly lay-by off the A303.
Having spent some dismal times in various Little Chefs and (the horror) its one-time Happy Eater rival over the years, the overhaul (and the promise of better food) is very welcome. With half-term and a schlep to Cornwall coming up, I (and many others) will soon have the chance to see if the reality lives up to the promise of the new image.
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