Granada is to replace the Happy Eater and Little Chef brands with Burger King, if it succeeds in its 3.3bn bid to buy the Forte Group.
More than 30 Granada motorway service areas already include Burger King outlets, which were first introduced in 1993. The company is now considering extending that relationship. A spokeswoman for Granada admits “Burger King is an option. We would look at each site on an individual basis.”
Although stressing that at this stage nothing was decided, Burger King marketing director Samantha Smith admits “it would be a great opportunity for us”.
If all 430 Happy Eater and Little Chef sites were converted, it would more than double the fast- food company’s presence in the UK, where it currently has around 350 sites.
Granada has cited brand rationalisation as one of its priorities if its bid for the restaurant and hotel chain is successful.
It has already attacked parts of the Little Chef chain, describing them as “tired and neglected”. Granada has also pledged that it would cut marketing costs and has said that Forte’s large roster of advertising agencies would be rationalised.
As part of its defence Forte has already negotiated to sell its roadside restaurant and Travelodge business to Whitbread in a 1 billion deal. But if Granada is successful the Whitbread deal will automatically be void.
Granada has until Tuesday to make any improved offer before the bid period finally closes on January 23.