#Harry Ramsden’s Set For Return To Yorkshire

Harry Ramsden’s, Britain’s longest established fish and chips restaurant chain, is set to return to the roots of its eponymous founder.

The iconic British brand, world famous for its fish and chips, has granted the franchise for Yorkshire to Vikesh and Dimple Patel of JVP Ventures, who become the first franchisees signed by the company, post-acquisition, as part of an ambitious growth strategy. The news also means a welcome jobs boost for the area and it is anticipated that up to 500 new jobs will be created, over the course of the next five years. Under the terms of the Franchise Agreement, 50 Harry Ramsden’s outlets will open all across the region by 2018, to include a mix of full service restaurants with takeaway facilities, as well as the new ‘traditional locals’, bringing Harry Ramsden’s back into the heart of towns, cities and suburbs across Yorkshire.

The scope of the agreement is such that a number of sites across the region including Leeds, Bradford and York are currently being explored and assessed for their suitability as the location for first opening in 2014.

Joe Teixeira, CEO of Harry Ramsden’s (pictured), noted: It has always been a dearly held ambition to bring the Harry Ramsden’s name back to Yorkshire so I am delighted that the first Franchise to be awarded fulfills that desire. It also effectively represents further and deserved financial investment in Harry Ramsden’s, which was so sadly lacking in the past.

Since taking over at the helm in 2011, Teixeira has overseen major multi-million pound investment across the Harry Ramsden’s estate, including the recent £1m refurbishment of the Bournemouth property, which is now the largest fish and chip restaurant in the world.

Yorkshire franchisees Vikesh (30) and Dimple (27) both have backgrounds in corporate finance, however for the past four years, the couple have been immersed in the hospitality industry, growing their ‘Love Coffee’ chain of coffee shops, of which they currently operate 34 outlets nationwide.

Commenting on the Harry Ramsden’s franchise deal, Vikesh Patel of JVP Ventures said: First and foremost, to be able to bring Harry’s name back to his roots is really exciting, especially since both Dimple and myself were born and brought up in Yorkshire. Working with an established and recognised brand is absolutely key to franchising success and to my mind, Harry’s Ramsden’s is the most iconic brand this country has ever produced. Our confidence in the Harry Ramsden’s name is reflected in the fact that our initial investment is being financed personally. In the coming years, we will regularly plough our profits back into the business to achieve our ambition of having 50 new outlets opened within five years.”

Co-Director, Dimple Patel, added: Currently, our main priority is finding suitable locations in major cities including Leeds, Bradford and Sheffield for 100+ seater restaurants, although we are keeping a close eye out for possible sites for the smaller, ‘traditional’ locals. The final mix of outlets will be dependent on the location and size of units available however, I think there will certainly be more opportunities for ‘traditional locals’ in highly populated areas, so I would imagine these will feature heavily in our roll out plans. Regardless of the final mix, I would conservatively estimate that we will create around 500 jobs by 2018.”

It is acknowledged that comparisons will be made with the original Harry Ramsden’s outlet however, as Teixeira noted: “Time and taste move on and whilst I think comparisons will be inevitable, Harry Ramsden’s is looking to the future and the new outlets in Yorkshire will reflect the brand’s evolution. Even as we move forward, though, we continue to embrace the heritage and values of Harry Ramsden himself and this allows us to actively re-engage with customers of old as well as introducing Harry’s to a whole new generation.”

With an eye to the future, Teixeira continued: “We are extremely hopeful that this is just the first of many such announcements in the coming months, and anticipate as many as 250 new outlets opening within the next five years, making Harry Ramsden’s more easily accessible to the millions of admirers it has, and continues to attract, across the UK.”