Motorway Services Online

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Locations:up to 22 roadside restaurants
Successors:Little Chef, McDonald's, Starvin Marvin's
The AJ's logo

AJ's was a family restaurant founded in 1986 by former Happy Eater directors Allen Jones and Jane Pickard (hence the name). They operated family restaurants on a-roads in a similar vein to Little Chef and Happy Eater.

Seeing the success that Forte were having with the Little Chef brand, Granada were keen to do something similar and struck a deal with AJ's to open AJ's restaurants at seven of their a-road services, one Granada roadside hotel and as an extra brand at their Leigh Delamere motorway services. These lasted until about 1996, by which time Granada had acquired Forte and turned the AJ's restaurants at its sites to Little Chefs instead.


AJ's had hoped to have 50 restaurants, but the most they ever had was about 24 and they blamed the recession in the 1990s for this target not being met. They were also critical of Forte's network coverage, saying "we are living off the leavings from a rich man's plate".

In the mid 1990s the company stated to shrink. As well as losing the Granada sites, they sold four sites to McDonald's. The remaining restaurants were then sold to The Celebrated Group who intended to convert all the restaurants to Starvin Marvin's, but they only changed two at Chichester.

In about 1998, Granada took over the sites from Celebrated and changed them all to Little Chefs. However, as many of them were already quite close to existing Little Chefs they gradually closed (excluding the Granada and Moto sites). The AJ's at Barton Mills Eastbound had soldiered on as a Little Chef until 2012 when it had closed.

Former AJ's Sites

The following sites were part of Granada MSAs and TRSAs: