Harry Ramsden's

Harry Ramsden's

Harry Ramsden's is a worldwide restaurant chain dedicated to traditional British-style fish and chips.

Based in the UK, the business has over 170 owned and franchised outlets internationally, and serves around 10 million people annually. It has locations in Hong Kong, Saudi Arabia and Walt Disney World Resort in the U.S. state of Florida.

The business was started by Harry Ramsden (1888–1963) in 1928 in a wooden hut in White Cross, Guiseley, West Yorkshire, northern England. Three years later he moved into a 'fish and chip palace', complete with fitted carpets, oak paneled walls and chandeliers. The original hut still stands on the same site adjacent to the main restaurant, which holds the Guinness World Record for the largest fish and chip shop in the world, seating 250 people, serving nearly a million customers a year [http://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/content_pages/record.asp?recordid=49984] .

The restaurant is famous for the Harry Ramsden challenge where patrons who manage to finish a very large meal of fish and chips receive a certificate and sometimes a complimentary dessert depending on the individual restaurant.

In 1988, it was floated on the London Stock Exchange. In October 1999, it was bought by the Granada food service company for £20m, who added the brand to their motorway service stations (and Little Chefs). The average price of fish and chips at their restaurants at re-named Moto service stations is at least £7. Granada became the [http://www.ssp-intl.com Select Service Partner UK Ltd] division of Compass in 2000. SSP Group was essentially the travel catering division of Compass - all the brands found at Moto service stations.

In April 2006, the company was split in two when Compass sold off SSP for £1,822m; the airports and railway station division was sold to EQT Partners of Sweden (who also own Findus) and the Moto service station division was bought by Macquarie Bank of Sydney, Australia. These are simply equity companies, and all running of the company is done by SSP, based in Weybridge in Surrey. Compass can also use the Harry Ramsden brand at its outlets in offices and universities.

The "Harry Ramsden" brand in Australia, did not fare so well. For reasons unknown sites across the country were poorly sited, and therefore patronage was indifferent. It was also speculated that the cost of the Australian franchise was in excess of what was financially viable. The Melbourne, Victoria franchise was purpose built, but located on a busy suburban intersection.

The brand disappeared from Australia in the early 2000-1 financial year and has yet to resurface. In spite of its Australian connections, the Harry Ramsden brand has not reappeared and is not expected to in the immediate future.

Licensing of the brand

Under the name of the brand, Premier Foods make mushy peas (since April 2006), and Ross Youngs (owned by Heinz since October 1999) make frozen fish and oven chips. These licenses are administered by [http://www.goldengoose.uk.com Golden Goose] of Shoreditch.

The Challenge

A certificate is issued to those who can complete the Harry Ramsden's Challenge. The certificate is awarded to anybody who can devour a giant piece of battered cod, large portion of chips and a large serving of both mushy peas and tartar sauce. The time challenge is discouraged, however.


* Harry Corbett of Sooty fame was a nephew of Harry Ramsden and played the piano in his uncle's original restaurant. [http://www.dooyoo.co.uk/restaurants-cafes-national/harry-ramsdens-in-general/313856]

External links

* [http://www.harryramsdens.co.uk Harry Ramsden's website]
* [http://travel.ciao.co.uk/Harry_Ramsdens_Leeds__8693 Reviews at Ciao!]
* [http://www.ciao.co.uk/Harry_Ramsdens_Oven_Chips__5345132 Review of oven chips at Ciao!]
* [http://travel.ciao.co.uk/Reviews/Harry_Ramsden__94903 Four more reviews]
* [http://www.dooyoo.co.uk/restaurants-cafes-national/harry-ramsdens-at-manchester Review of Manchester restaurant at DooYoo]
* [http://www.call-systems.com/harry.php Paging system for customers]
* [http://moto-way.com/page.cfm?Section=4.1&BrandID=53 Moto outlets]
* [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/the_company_file/478127.stm Bought by Granada in October 1999]
* [http://www.thetelegraphandargus.co.uk/business/businesswharfedale/businesswharfedalenews/display.var.733126.0.harry_ramsdens_sold_off_to_swedes.php Split in two in 2006]
* [http://www.compass-group.com/NR/rdonlyres/B8008E6D-2A41-4BE8-8298-FA51AF813A40/0/DisposalSSP.pdf Document about sale of SSP UK]
* [http://plaicebook.blogspot.com/ "Plaicebook" is a UK based blog celebrating Fish and Chip shops]

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