The new openings, which will create up to 500 jobs across the country, will include a mix of full-service restaurants with 100+ seats and takeaway facilities as well as new ‘traditional locals’ in Scottish towns, cities and suburbs.
“We are extremely hopeful that there will be more announcements of this type in the coming months and as such, anticipate up to 250 new outlets opening within the next five years,” said Harry Ramsden’s chief executive Joe Teixeira.
“Even as we move forward, though, we continue to embrace the heritage and values of Harry Ramsden himself and this allows us to build upon the myriad of fans we already have, by introducing the brand to a whole new generation.”
Harry Ramsden’s currently operates 24 outlets across the UK, with just three in Scotland. Aberdeen, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee, Ayrshire and the Highlands are among the areas being explored following this franchise agreement.
Since taking charge in 2011, Teixeira has overseen a multi-million-pound investment in the business, including the installation of state-of-the-art digital technology across the Harry Ramsden’s estate as well as the recent £1m+ refurbishment of its Bournemouth property, which is now recognised as ‘the largest fish & chip restaurant in the world’.
“Fish & chips is arguably the nation’s favourite takeaway, selling over 255 million portions each year however with such a limited presence, we have been unable to satisfy demand in Scotland,” added Teixeira.
“When you consider that, over the past two years, Harry Ramsden’s has been enjoying record sales as a result the brand’s evolution, which includes a contemporary new look and a greatly enhanced menu offering, this is the ideal time to increase our presence across Scotland.
“The signing of this franchise agreement also effectively represents further and deserved financial investment in Harry Ramsden’s.”
Ramsden’s also recently returned to the roots of its eponymous founder, with the signing of a franchise agreement which will see 50 new outlets open in Yorkshire by 2018, creating up to 500 jobs. In addition, the brand is currently in the early stages of a partnership with one of the UK’s leading motorway services operators which has resulted in the opening of Harry Ramsden’s outlets at Welcome Break services in Woodall and Oxford.
Speaking of the decision to enter into this franchise agreement, a spokesperson for Sevenseas Ventures - whose directors have an established base in the healthcare sector – said: “There is untapped potential to establish Harry Ramsden’s in Scotland as there is no recognised brand leader currently operating in the Scottish fish & chips marketplace.
“Given the high levels of trust associated with the Harry Ramsden’s name, coupled with the higher quality product they offer which unlike many competitors can be traced from the sea to the plate, makes us confident of success in Scotland.
“Currently, our main priority is finding suitable locations in major cities including Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Glasgow and Dundee for 100+ seater restaurants, although we are keeping a close eye out for possible sites for the smaller, ‘traditional’ locals. We are open minded about the exact details of the final mix of outlets as this will obviously be dependent on the location and size of units available.
“That said, given that this is Scotland, there will no doubt be great opportunities for both larger scale restaurants and 1,000 sq.ft ‘traditional locals’ in highly populated areas, and both will feature heavily in our roll out plans.”