New Loungers concept to reinvigorate roadside dining

By Gary Lloyd

- Last updated on GMT

Sector overhaul: Loungers plans to open Brightside sites across A-road locations throughout the UK
Sector overhaul: Loungers plans to open Brightside sites across A-road locations throughout the UK

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Loungers, multiple operator of café-bar and restaurants brands Lounge and Cosy Club, is set to reinvigorate the spirit of the ’70s and ’80s in Britain with the launch of roadside dining concept Brightside.

Brightside will be a restaurant brand reminiscent of Little Chef and Happy Eater sites that were a hit with motorists decades ago – and is targeted for rollout at such locations.

The first restaurant to open will be on the A38, south of Exeter, in February 2023, with two additional locations to follow quickly on the A303 near Honiton and on the A38 near Saltash, in the spring next year.

Loungers said it sees great potential to reinvigorate roadside dining in the UK, a sector it believes has become “tired and uninspiring”.

A-roads earmarked 

The group foresees scope to develop a national brand and has ambitious plans to roll out Brightside across the UK in the coming years. It is envisaged that sites will be situated predominantly on A-roads.

The menu at Brightside will offer a freshly cooked classic, comfort food-style dishes – including an extensive brunch menu, burgers, pizzas and kids’ menu. Targeted customers are families, locals and UK holidaymakers.

Loungers founder-chairman Alex Reilley said: “We’ve had the itch for a while now to create a roadside restaurant concept that’s fit-for-purpose in the 21st ​century.”

Childhood road trip memories

Reilley continued: “For many people, the highlight of childhood road trips in days gone by was a stop at the likes of Little Chef. We believe there is a gap in the market for a fresh concept that gives customers the option to take a proper break and enjoy wholesome food and great hospitality, in a landscape that is currently dominated by drive-thru and QSR (quick service restaurant) formats.

“Brightside will have a contemporary, welcoming and warm feel, while also evoking nostalgia for a time when motoring in the UK was a more exciting experience. We want it to be an integral part of our customers’ journey-planning, and something both adults and children alike look forward to. We believe that Brightside will really shake up what has become an uninspiring sector and that there is potential to roll out Brightside across the UK in the coming years.

“Our expertise in high-quality, great value all-day dining, developed through Lounge and Cosy Club, gives us confidence that Brightside can bring proper hospitality back to roadside dining across the UK.”  

Loungers currently operates 175 Lounges and 35 Cosy Club venues and recently announced it was accelerating its site roll-out programme, targeting 30 new openings in the current financial year​ and between 32 and 34 on an ongoing basis. These initial three Brightside openings fall within these forecast new site opening numbers. Loungers recently opened its 210th site – Barco Lounge in Selby – on Saturday 5 November.

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