Johannesburg– Gold Brands Investments Ltd (“GBI”) confirmed today that it has secured the exclusive rights to bring the world famous Harry Ramsden’s restaurant chain to South Africa. Gold Brands, which owns the highly successful ChesaNyama fast food braai brand, has according to its cautionary announcement entered into detailed negotiations with the British brand to define an Area Development Agreement which will see Gold Brands rolling out the Harry Ramsden’s concept in this country.
The area development agreement fees are as yet undisclosed as it may be subject to change until the detailed agreements are concluded. The JSE AltX-listed company expects to announce the value of the deal at a later date.
The iconic British brand, established in 1928 by Harry Ramsden, has over 40 outlets throughout the UK. While the first Harry Ramsden restaurant opened in Guiseley, West Yorkshire, the firm has expanded well beyond its original Yorkshire heartland, including recently to Doha, Qatar. Bringing the brand to South Africa depended on securing the right local partner.
This is exciting news for the South African public as the international brand’s proud heritage was built on the still closely guarded secret recipe of Harry’s famous batter, which is what the franchise is most famous for – its fish and chips. These days it serves up a diverse menu beyond its original famous fish and chips and operates in a variety of formats from traditional large format restaurants, to quick service restaurants and take-away formats, including a new addition of a pub format.
Harry Ramsden’s is now owned by UK-based Ranjit Boparan, who is a renowned British businessman who owns and operates a number of food businesses, but it was previously owned by The Compass Group’s SSP.
Joe Teixeira, CEO of Harry Ramsden’s, speaking from London, said: “I am personally very excited to be expanding into a new market with a partner like Gold Brands. The experience, skills and financial resources inherent in the team means that we are really looking forward to working together to bring Harry’s to a whole new nation.”
The first Harry Ramsden was a wooden hut next to a tram stop, offering fish and chips, tea and bread and butter. Within three years Harry had opened his first fish and chip “palace” with grand oak panelling and crystal chandeliers, which is now part of the iconic style of Harry Ramsden’s restaurants across the UK. The company is the current world record holder for the largest fish and chip shop in the world, which seats 417 people and serves almost a million customers a year.
Menus now include pies, burgers and hotdogs, as well as desserts, in addition to its traditional battered fried fish and chips. For the health conscious market, it offers poached fish and salads.
At this early stage it is uncertain whether the full menu will be offered locally, or whether it will see some adaptions for local tastes, but certainly Gold Brands founder and Chief Operating Officer, Stelio Nathanael, has the skill to deliver an authentic experience.
Besides founding the Fish and Chip Co, which was later sold to Taste Holdings, Nathanael operates The Original Blacksteer rib and burger steakhouse franchise in addition to delivering South Africa’s favourite take-away through the 300-strong ChesaNyama franchise chain. Both these brands will be strongly featured at 2016’s International Franchise Expo at Sandton Convention Centre this week.
Gold Brands also owns 1+1 Pizza, Wild Wings Chicken and Pitaland.
Says Praxia Nathanael, CEO of Gold Brands Investments: “This is an exciting development for us. We have previously proven how popular fish and chips is with the South African market but this time the authentic flavours of a UK fish and chip experience will deliver something a bit different in the restaurant segment. We believe it will really appeal to all South African consumers and not just those who travel abroad and know the brand.
“As always, Gold Brands is committed to delivering wholesome food at value for money prices and we will leverage our logistics and supply chain to ensure that Harry Ramsden’s can delight all South Africans.”