Mansfield, who oversaw the introduction of the new format at The Wingerworth in Chesterfield in March, told BigHospitality the new concept had been well-received so far with both food and drinks sales up.
“We haven’t lost the drinkers, they still come in and we still run quiz nights and that kind of thing,” he said. “The pub side has remained strong, but we’ve also seen the restaurant do really well and takeaway sales are also doing well. It’s a win-win.”
Mansfield, previously tenancy operations manager at McMullen & Sons, told BigHospitality he believed the fact the site – the first in a partnership which sees joint investment from Punch and Harry Ramsden’s in selected Punch sites - was being run as a pub with a well-known food offering attached was behind its success so far.
“The real importance for us is to ensure the pubs remain pubs. We’re definitely not a Harry Ramsden’s restaurant and I think you can see that from the décor.
“However, fish and chips are a massive part of sales in a pub, so the joining of the two makes perfect sense for us. Punch gives us the opportunity to utilise their lovely estate and in return gets a food offering that supports that business. It’s still a pub but with all the brand standards we’d expect of Harry Ramsden’s.”
Pub classics and local focus
Harry Ramsden’s at The Wingerworth has an extended food offering outside of fish and chips, with ‘pub classics’ such as steaks, burgers and ribs sold in addition, although Mansfield said the core item was its most popular.
“A huge percentage of our main courses – about 55 per cent – are fish and chips, but the classics are strong as well. We also have a specials board so people aren’t stuck for choice, but clearly the Harry Ramsden’s brand and fish and chips is what we’re known for.”
Harry Ramsden’s next pub is set to open in South Queensferry in Edinburgh next week as part of plans to open six sites by the end of the year through the partnership.
Mansfield said the Edinburgh site would operate in the same manner as its Chesterfield counterpart, but would have its own local focus when it came to the food and drink offering.
“We’ll have Scotch beef, haggis and Scottish mussels on the menu and some of our gins will be distilled nearby. I think the local provenance around the pubs is important," he said.