In Focus

EXCLUSIVE: Here’s the inside scoop on how Harry Ramsden’s plan to be the “British brand of the future”

Next generation store formats are just the beginning.

For 90 years Harry Ramsden has been synonymous with fish and chips. Times have changed a lot over this period, and whilst continuing to serve up British classics, the chain refuses to become a thing of the past. Recently, the store debuted a modernised look at its new Blackpool Tower site, and continues to develop its menu.

QSR Media UK caught up with Harry Ramsden’s to discuss the brand’s growth, and how it plans to rock the boat with its “next generation” restaurants.

QSR: Fish and chips is a classic dish. In an increasingly competitive marketplace how do you keep your offering current?

Harry Ramsden's: We are continually evolving our menu, a process which has been successfully ongoing since 2012. Whilst fish and chips is, and will always remain, our hero product, the introduction of more specialist fish and catches of the day, allied with rotisserie and grilled meats, salads, as well as an enhanced vegetarian range and expanded children’s offering has seen customer demographic broaden and popularity increase annually.

QSR: We’ve seen you start to invest a lot in the brand, with new store looks and formats—why are you doing this now? 

Harry Ramsden's: Harry Ramsden’s is an iconic brand with a proud heritage stretching back almost 90 years and is widely enjoyed by its traditional and very loyal customer base. It is however important that, to secure Harry Ramsden’s legacy and ensure that the brand continues to thrive, that we engage with a whole new generation of customer and that is reflected in the new look and feel associated with the modern day Harry Ramsden’s….which is best demonstrated in our “next generation” restaurant at Blackpool Tower.

QSR: How many stores do you plan on rolling out the new look to? How much are you investing in the new look over the next 12 months?

Harry Ramsden's: Over time, it is our ambition to roll out the new look across our entire estate…as the process continues, we will continue to invest heavily in our brand.

QSR: Are you planning new store openings in the next year? If so, where? 

Harry Ramsden's: We are currently in negotiations for a number of sites across the UK and full details will be revealed when the contracts are concluded.

QSR: What has your most popular menu item? 

Harry Ramsden's: Perhaps not surprisingly, fish and chips remain the No. 1 product sold within Harry Ramsden’s.

QSR: What does Brexit mean for your business? Will it affect your plans?

Harry Ramsden's: Until final plans are confirmed by our political leaders, it is too early to say however, we will continue to keep a close eye on developments—in the meantime, we continue to focus on our brand.

QSR: What would you like to tell the market about the direction your brand is strategically headed?

Harry Ramsden's: We are extremely proud of our heritage which has maintained Harry Ramsden’s position as one of the UK’s most recognised brands for almost 90 years. Our existing formats continue to trade exceptionally well across the country and attract an ever increasing and broadening customer base. As we continue to look to the future and further invest in the brand, we retain all the key elements that are loved by our loyal fan base, however now, we are incorporating a more up-to-date look and feel, resonant with the next generation of Harry’s customer in mind. We believe this brand stretch will further enhance Harry Ramsden’s status in the modern day, casual dining market which is flourishing in towns and cities across the UK.

In short, we are moving Harry Ramsden’s from just world famous fish and chips to a more rounded and iconic British brand of the future. 

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