Loungers launches nostalgic Brightside brand to drive roadside dining expansion

Brightside mockup web

Bar group Loungers is set to launch restaurant brand Brightside in a bid to reinvigorate roadside dining in the UK, adding to its existing Lounge and Cosy Club concepts.

The group is looking to capitalise on the potential in the roadside dining market, which it said has become “tired and uninspiring”.

Loungers has acquired three sites initially, the first of which is set to open on the A38, south of Exeter, in February 2023, with further sites due to open on the A303 near Honiton, and on the A38 near Saltash, next spring.

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Brightside will offer a freshly cooked menu full of classic, comfort food dishes, including an extensive brunch menu, burgers, pizzas and a kids’ menu.

The roadside restaurants aim to appeal to a broad range of customers, including families, locals, and UK holidaymakers.

The group said there is scope to develop a “truly national brand” and has ambitious plans to roll out the restaurant chain across the UK in the coming years.

Loungers will open sites predominantly on A-roads as it looks to expand the brand and bring “genuine hospitality back to a sector that has been dominated by drive-thru and QSR concepts in recent years”.

Alex Reilley, founder and chairman of Loungers, said: “We’ve had the itch for a while now to create a roadside restaurant concept that’s fit-for-purpose in the twenty-first century. 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 formats.

“Brightside will have a contemporary, welcoming, and warm feel, whilst 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.”

Loungers currently operates 175 Lounges and 35 Cosy Club venues around the UK, and is targeting 30 new openings in the current financial year, with between 32 and 34 openings planned on an ongoing basis.

The group also recently launched its 210th site – Barco Lounge in Selby.

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Joshua Walton

The author Joshua Walton

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