Welcome Break began as a series of roadside restaurants. They were set up by Allen Jones who would later create AJ's. In the late 1970s, Allen Jones teamed up with Michael Pickard who owned Happy Eater in an effort to create a serious rival for the long-established and market leader Little Chef. All Welcome Break branches were converted to Happy Eater by 1979.


Welcome Break Original
In April 1984, Hanson Trust, owners of Happy Eater, acquired four motorway service stations from Ross which were renamed Welcome Break. The company was bought by Trusthouse Forte in 1986 (along with Happy Eater), therefore service stations began to gain Trusthouse Forte-owned Travelodge hotels and Happy Eater restaurants.


In 1995, Forte began to roll out McDonald's restaurants to each service station, although this was halted after the opening of only two restaurants due to Welcome Break's acquisition by Granada in 1996. Soon after, Granada began to roll out its own restaurant and hotel brands, Little Chef and Burger King, across the network. After a Monopolies and Mergers Commission investigation, also in 1996, Granada were forced to sell Welcome Break, and all Little Chef restaurants and Travelodge hotels at Welcome Break service stations were replaced with the in-house Red Hen and Welcome Lodge brands respectively. This incarnation of the Welcome Break logo introduced a large illustration of a Mute swan, which would be retained in subsequent iterations of the logo until Welcome Break's rebranding in 2006.





Welcome Break's latest rebrand in late 2006 coincided with their rolling out of a large mural depicting a local landmark at each service station.