Eat & Drink Co. is Moto's own-branded catering option. It is possibly their last restaurant design that carries no particular theme: instead it tries to cater for everybody who doesn't want a takeaway.
The name Fresh Express was created by Granada in 1996, as part of their plans to shake-up their catering options.
Taking advantage of some new brands they had acquired, Granada introduced a food court to their services where Little Chef, Harry Ramsden's and Burger King could usually be found. Fresh Express existed to fill any remaining gaps in that offer, by providing a number of simple, quick meals.
None of these new restaurant options featured the Granada name, which was one of many steps they took to try to refresh the image of motorway catering. It may have worked for a while, but Fresh Express was managed directly by Granada and quickly came under criticism. Critics called for the state of Fresh Express to be investigated "as a matter of urgency".
In response, Granada argued they couldn't invest fully in their catering because of the restrictions placed on their industry.
The Fresh Express name was kept when Granada became Moto. Under Moto, many Little Chefs and Harry Ramsden's closed, but Caffe Ritazza was introduced to all restaurants. A 'pick and mix' facility for children and a refund guarantee for dissatisfied customers were introduced.
The first Fresh Express logo used a cursive font, with a chequered sign. This was quickly replaced by the plate on wheels, which was removed in 2007. At some services, the restaurant area was named just "Restaurant", with few Fresh Express signs within it.
In 2008, Moto removed the poorly-reputed Fresh Express, and replaced it with Eat & Drink Co. While it had a new name and a new colour scheme, fundamentally EDC was exactly the same as its predecessor. In fact, the new brand was so bare, some believe Moto had introduced it on as little a budget as possible.
EDC had to tackle a continuing trend facing service stations, where restaurants were making considerable sales during breakfast time but very little after that. As a result, many restaurants began to close after 14:00. Voucher codes and mobile discounts have been offered to customers.
With sales continuing to dwindle, restaurants were refurbished to give more space to Costa, as well as other facilities such as Greggs and M&S Simply Food. In some cases this was enough to push EDC out entirely, even if this left a large area unused.
When Moto took over the restaurant at Leeming Bar, they surprisingly replaced the restaurant with EDC, but barely applied any EDC branding. The restaurant closed shortly after the minor rebrand.
In Autumn 2019, more EDCs began to close in favour of snack-based catering options.
Eat & Drink Co. used to be found at:
- Birch (M62)
- Blyth (A1(M)/A1)
- Bridgwater (M5)
- Burton-in-Kendal (M6)
- Cherwell Valley (M40/A43)
- Chieveley (M4/A34)
- Doncaster (North) (M18/M180)
- Donington Park (M1/A42/A50)
- Dover Port (A20)
- Exeter (M5)
- Frankley (M5)
- Grantham North (A1)
- Heston (M4)
- Hilton Park (M6)
- Kinross (M90)
- Knutsford (M6)
- Lancaster (M6)
- Leeming Bar (A1(M)) - used EDC menu but not branding
- Leigh Delamere (M4)
- Pease Pottage (M23/A23)
- Reading (M4)
- Southwaite (M6)
- Stirling (M9/M80)
- Tamworth (M42/A5)
- Toddington (M1)
- Trowell (M1)
- Washington (A1(M))
- Wetherby (A1(M))
- Winchester (M3)
- Woolley Edge (M1)
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