Roadside restaurateur Little Chef is to close 67 outlets where trade has been hit by tough economic conditions and demographic changes, with the loss of up to 600 jobs.

Little Chef, whose red chef logo has been a familiar sight on major roads for half a century, said on Wednesday it will seek to bolster trade at the remaining 94 sites, with 13 having already been upgraded.

Chairman Graham Sims said the closures will enable me to focus on remaining sites and invest that capital in the restaurant and takeaway services to meet customer needs.

We do suffer from some changes in local roads along with social-demographic activity where they have changed housing, and the overall economic situation not helping, Sims said, adding lease costs were a factor at some sites.

The first Little Chef opened in Reading in 1958, the year Britain got its first motorway. The chain, which employs around 2,000 staff, was bought by private equity firm RCapital in 2007 and operates as an independent company.

(Reporting by Philip Baillie; Editing by Rosalba O'Brien and Dan Lalor)