Fish and chip restaurant brand Harry Ramsden's is to open 50 sites in Scotland in five years, after signing a franchise deal with Sevenseas Ventures Ltd.
The agreement is expected to create an estimated 500 jobs in the process.
The new sites will include a mix of full service 100+ seater restaurants with takeaway facilities, as well as new "traditional locals" - smaller sites in towns, cities and suburbs across Scotland.
Restaurants in locations including Aberdeen, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee, Ayrshire and the Highlands are being explored, according to Harry Ramsden's.
Harry Ramsden's currently operates 24 outlets, however just three are located in Scotland
The restaurant chain's chief executive, Joe Teixeira said: "Fish and chip is arguably the nation's favourite takeaway, selling more than 255 million portions each year however with such a limited presence, we have been unable to satisfy demand in Scotland. When you consider that, over the past two years, Harry Ramsden's has been enjoying record sales as a result the brand's evolution, which includes a contemporary new look and a greatly enhanced menu offering, this is the ideal time to increase our presence across Scotland. The signing of this franchise agreement also effectively represents further and deserved financial investment in Harry Ramsden's."
Glasgow-based Sevenseas Ventures Ltd's directors have a base in the healthcare sector. Commenting on the Harry Ramsden's franchise deal, a spokesperson for the company said: "There is untapped potential to establish Harry Ramsden's in Scotland as there is no recognised brand leader currently operating in the Scottish fish and chips marketplace. Given the high levels of trust associated with the Harry Ramsden's name, coupled with the higher quality product they offer which unlike many competitors can be traced from the sea to the plate, makes us confident of success in Scotland."
"Currently, our main priority is finding suitable locations in major cities including Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Glasgow and Dundee for 100+ seater restaurants, although we are keeping a close eye out for possible sites for the smaller, ‘traditional' locals. We are open minded about the exact details of the final mix of outlets as this will obviously be dependent on the location and size of units available. That said, given that this is Scotland, there will no doubt be great opportunities for both larger scale restaurants and 1,000 sq ft ‘traditional locals' in highly populated areas, and both will feature heavily in our roll out plans."
Teixeira added: "We are extremely hopeful that there will be more announcements of this type in the coming months and as such, anticipate up to 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. Even as we move forward, though, we continue to embrace the heritage and values of Harry Ramsden himself and this allows us to build upon the myriad of fans we already have, by introducing the brand to a whole new generation."