Harry Ramsden’s, the iconic fish & chips brand, plans to open 50 sites in Scotland by 2019 after granting the franchise for Scotland to Sevenseas Ventures Limited.

The new openings, which will create up to 500 jobs across the country, will include a mix of full service 100+ seater restaurants with takeaway facilities, as well as new ‘traditional locals’.

Chief executive Joe Teixeira said: “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.”

The scope of the new agreement is such that a number of sites across the country including Aberdeen, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee, Ayrshire and the Highlands are currently being explored and assessed for their suitability as the locations for first openings later this year.

Currently Harry Ramsden’s operates 24 outlets however just three are located in Scotland.

Teixeira said: ‘‘Fish and chips is arguably the nation’s favourite takeaway, selling over 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. ’’

Since taking over at the helm in 2011, Teixeira has overseen major £multi-million investment in the brand, including the installation of state of the art digital technology across the Harry Ramsden’s estate as well as the recent £1m+ refurbishment of its Bournemouth property, which is now recognised as the largest fish and chip restaurant in the world.

Last year, the company signed a franchise agreement which will see 50 new outlets open in Yorkshire by 2018, creating up to 500 jobs. In addition, the brand is currently in the early stages of a partnership with one of the UK’s leading motorway services operators which has resulted in the opening of Harry Ramsden’s outlets at Welcome Break services in Woodall and Oxford.

The franchise for Scotland has been awarded to Glasgow based Sevenseas Ventures Ltd, whose Directors have an established base in the healthcare sector.

A spokesperson for the company says:  “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.

He adds; “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.”