Harry Ramsden's, Britain's longest established restaurant chain, is set to return to Yorkshire where it could open sites by 2018, under a new franchise agreement.
The agreement sees Vikesh and Dimple Patel of JVP Ventures, become the first franchisees signed by the company, following its acquisition.
The 50 or so Harry Ramsden's outlets planned for the region will include a mix of full service restaurants with takeaway facilities, as well as the new "traditional locals", which aim to bring Harry Ramsden's back into the heart of towns, cities and suburbs.
The franchisees are already exploring sites in Leeds, Bradford and York for their suitability as the location for first opening in 2014.
Joe Teixeira, CEO of Harry Ramsden's said: "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 fulfils 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 multimillion-pound investment across the Harry Ramsden's estate, including the recent £1m refurbishment of the Bournemouth property, which is now reputedly 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 5 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."