Chip shop giant plans pub estate

FISH and chip shop operator Harry Ramsden’s will expand into the Scottish pub market May 26 with the opening of a gastropub in South Queensferry.
Harry Ramsden’s at The Three Bridges is the second pub the restaurant group has leased from pub company Punch Taverns, following the launch of Harry Ramsden’s at The Wingerworth in Derbyshire last month.

042_Wingerworth interior
• The Wingerworth in Derbyshire was the first Punch pub converted

Harry Ramsden’s has also secured a third site from Punch – this time in the north of England – and plans to have leased six pubs from the company by the end of the year. It will also lease sites from other pub companies as it looks to develop its pub business across the UK.
Gavin Mansfield, head of pub operations at Harry Ramsden’s, told SLTN the Punch sites will be distinct from the company’s core restaurant business, being operated as “pubs first and foremost”.
“Pubs have an iconic status with the British public and so does Harry Ramsden’s, so we’re marrying the two,” said Mansfield.
“On top of that, fish and chips accounts for nearly a third of the food sales in most pubs, and so it makes perfect sense for us to put our fantastic [style] of fish and chips into pubs.”
The South Queensferry pub will feature seafood sourced from Scotland, as well as a range of Scottish beers and gins.
David Wigham, development director at Punch Taverns, said the Harry Ramsden’s deal was “a natural fit”.
“We’ve had conversations with a number of retailers who’ve looked to expand their business,” said Wigham.
“But I think the ideal thing here is that what Harry Ramsden’s is looking for fits perfectly with what we were looking for.
“They want to find sites that fit their brand. We had sites that were pubs where we wanted to develop a food offer.”