Roadchef Motorways Ltd
TypePrivate
IndustryHospitality
FoundedJuly 1973 (July 1973)
HeadquartersNorton Canes services, Staffordshire, UK
Area served
United Kingdom (except Northern Ireland)
Key people
Simon Turl (Chairman)
Mark Fox (CEO)
Revenue
  • Increase £191.8m (2018) [1]
  • £188.8m (2017)[2]
£6.3m
Total assets£401m
Number of employees
3000+
ParentMacquarie Group
Websitewww.roadchef.com

Roadchef is a company which operates 21 motorway service areas in the United Kingdom. It is the third largest motorway service area operator in the country, behind Moto and Welcome Break and followed by Extra.[3]

History

Roadchef was founded in July 1973 as a joint venture between Lindley Catering Investments and Galleon World Travel, with the first Roadchef opening at Killington Lake Services on the M6.[4]

By 1998, Roadchef had built a portfolio of 21 sites. A large expansion occurred in 1998 when Roadchef agreed to purchase Blue Boar Group and Take A Break for a total of £80 million, gaining the company an extra 4 services plus 1 under-construction site.

In September 2014, it was announced that owners Delek Group were selling Roadchef to Antin Infrastructure Partners for £153 million.[5]

Employee Benefit Scheme legal action

In 1986, Patrick Gee, the managing director of the company, set up an employee benefit scheme to give ordinary workers shares in the company. After Gee's early death, Timothy Ingram Hill took over as Roadchef's managing director, having helped lead a management buyout of the company in 1983. With his status as one of the original trustees of the employee benefit scheme, he set up a second scheme where he was the sole beneficiary, and secretly transferred the bulk of the employees' shares to it.[6] This left employees with a much reduced scheme.[7]

Tim Warwick, who worked as Roadchef's company secretary at the time of the transfer, blew the whistle on the Ingram Hill's transfer of the shares in 1998. A prolonged legal battle ensued, with the courts eventually declaring the transaction void in 2015 and ordered Mr Ingram Hill to repay the profit he made from the shares he appropriated.[8]

Issues arose afterwards, when the trustees of the scheme discovered that an extra £10 million had been paid in tax for the shares by Ingram Hill and was thus due to be given to them. This money was recovered by the trustees, but the HMRC insisted that most of the tax should be paid by the trustees, due to Ingram Hill possessing the shares instead of the employees when the government passed legislation to make employee share schemes tax-free.[9] The trustees argued that the shares should not be taxed, as the scheme should be in the tax-free category if Ingram Hill had not appropriated the shares. The trustees further argued that the scheme could be retrospectively added to the list of tax-free schemes.

By July 2019, the ongoing dispute with HMRC was the only remaining obstacle in distributing the money to the affected employees, with the current Roadchef management expressing support for the trustees.[10] As of September 2020, the money has still not been distributed back to the staff.[9]

Facilities

Roadchef motorway service areas have varying facilities. All sites provide two hours free parking, toilets and food 24 hours a day, seven days a week.[11] Common brands include:

Catering

Restaurants at Roadchef sites include:

Shop

Roadchef shop brands include:

Locations

Roadchef operate the following motorway services:

And one A-road site at:

References

  1. ^ Annual accounts for 31.Dec.2018 at Companies House https://beta.companieshouse.gov.uk/company/01123082/filing-history
  2. ^ "Revenue passes £190m at motorway service station firm".
  3. ^ "Operators - motorway services".
  4. ^ "History of Roadchef - Motorway Services Online".
  5. ^ "Delek Group to sell Britain's Roadchef for $250 million". Reuters. Thomson Reuters. 14 September 2014. Retrieved 21 February 2016.
  6. ^ "Roadchef Decision – Pett Franklin".
  7. ^ "Roadchef whistleblower's 17-year share battle". BBC News. 6 March 2015.
  8. ^ "Roadchef workers win legal fight for shares after 20 years". independent.co.uk. 31 January 2015.
  9. ^ a b "Roadchef shares scandal widow demands action by UK government". BBC News. 5 September 2020.
  10. ^ http://www.esopcentre.com/wp-content/uploads/dlm_uploads/2019/06/newspad-July-2019-1.pdf[bare URL PDF]
  11. ^ "MSA Policy - motorway services".
  12. ^ "Brands at Motorway Services - Motorway Services Online".
  13. ^ Taken from Motorway Services Online
  14. ^ Minting, Stuart (20 August 2022). "McDonalds may open at A1(M) eaterie hotspot". The Yorkshire Post. p. 11. ISSN 0140-0460.