Harry Ramsden's takes off: The fish and chip formula is set to invade the world

THE couple from Egypt nervously spiked the mushy peas with a fork; a group of Scandinavians toyed with the idea of ordering a Harry's Challenge - a test to eat a giant plate of haddock and chips, after which the glutton is presented with a signed certificate; and, I do not lie, an Italian was making himself a chip buttie, writes Russell Hotten.

Harry Ramsden's fish and chip restaurant at Heathrow airport may not have the ambience of the legendary outlet in Guiseley, Yorkshire, but they have literally come from all over the world to eat there.

Now the USM-quoted company is about to take its formula to the world, investing in a string of restaurants overseas. Announcing improved half-year results yesterday, John Barnes, the chairman, said a franchisee had been recruited in Singapore and negotiations were under way in Australia. An outlet, complete with regulation chandeliers, carpets and chequered tablecloths, could open in Saudi Arabia by mid-1994. A recently opened restaurant in Hong Kong is now just the pilot for expansion in the Pacific Rim, Mr Barnes revealed.

Pre-tax profits for the six months to 28 March were up 14 per cent to pounds 87,673, on a turnover of pounds 1.24m, up 23 per cent. 'The company is doing what they set out to do,' said Alison Rennie, of the brokers Grieg Middleton. 'They are not trying to run before they can walk.' A restaurant opened in Edinburgh this month and one is planned for Birmingham in August.

Ms Rennie believes the Harry Ramsden theme can translate abroad and indications from Hong Kong have supported this. Although the outlet had not moved into profit, the company said sales were on a par with UK restaurant averages.

More anecdotal evidence, however, comes from those at the front line. The international crowd eating at terminal one seemed more than happy with their fare, though they find the English passion for fish-n-chips odd. Only one foreigner - the Italian - said he had gone there for lunch because he had heard of the famous Harry Ramsden and his biggest fish and chip restaurant in the world at Guiseley. His wife, obviously a member of the health food lobby, was put off when told that the distinctive Ramsden taste comes from frying the fish in beef dripping.

Still, that's no match for the publicity department, whose ability to make people feel that they are eating a slice of Yorkshire history is enough to make anyone try a meal at least once.

(Photograph omitted)

PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Finance Assistant - Part time - 9 month FTC

£20000 - £23250 Per Annum pro rata: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Pro rata ...

Marketing Manager

£40 - 48k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Marketing Manager to join...

Market Risk Manager - Investment Banking - Mandarin Speaker

£45,000 - £65,000: Saxton Leigh: Our client is a well-known APAC Corporate and...

Compensation and Benefits Manager - Brentwood - Circa £60,000

£60000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Compensation and Benefits Manager - Compensat...

Day In a Page

Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

A Syrian general speaks

A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities
‘A bit of a shock...’ Cambridge economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

‘A bit of a shock...’ Economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

Guy Scott's predecessor, Michael Sata, died in a London hospital this week after a lengthy illness
Fall of the Berlin Wall: History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War

Fall of the Berlin Wall

History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War
How to turn your mobile phone into easy money

Turn your mobile phone into easy money

There are 90 million unused mobiles in the UK, which would be worth £7bn if we cashed them in, says David Crookes
Independent writers remember their Saturday jobs:

Independent writers remember their Saturday jobs

"I have never regarded anything I have done in "the media" as a proper job"
Lyricist Richard Thomas shares his 11-step recipe for creating a hit West End musical

11-step recipe for creating a West End hit

Richard Thomas, the lyricist behind the Jerry Springer and Anna Nicole Smith operas, explains how Bob Dylan, 'Breaking Bad' and even Noam Chomsky inspired his songbook for the new musical 'Made in Dagenham'
Tonke Dragt's The Letter for the King has finally been translated into English ... 50 years on

Buried treasure: The Letter for the King

The coming-of-age tale about a boy and his mission to save a mythical kingdom has sold a million copies since it was written by an eccentric Dutchwoman in 1962. Yet until last year, no one had read it in English
Can instilling a sense of entrepreneurship in pupils have a positive effect on their learning?

The school that means business

Richard Garner heads to Lancashire, where developing the 'dragons' of the future is also helping one community academy to achieve its educational goals
10 best tablets

The world in your pocket: 10 best tablets

They’re thin, they’re light, you can use them for work on the move or keeping entertained
Lutz Pfannenstiel: The goalkeeper who gave up Bayern Munich for the Crazy Gang, Bradford and a whirlwind trawl across continents

Lutz Pfannenstiel interview

The goalkeeper who gave up Bayern Munich for the Crazy Gang, Bradford and a whirlwind trawl across continents
Pete Jenson: Popular Jürgen Klopp can reignite Borussia Dortmund’s season with visit to Bayern Munich

Pete Jenson's a Different League

Popular Klopp can reignite Dortmund’s season with visit to Bayern
John Cantlie video proves that Isis expects victory in Kobani

Cantlie video proves that Isis expects victory in Kobani

The use of the British hostage demonstrates once again the militants' skill and originality in conducting a propaganda war, says Patrick Cockburn
The killer instinct: The man who helps students spot potential murderers

The killer instinct

Phil Chalmers travels the US warning students how to spot possible future murderers, but can his contentious methods really stop the bloodshed?
Clothing the gap: A new exhibition celebrates women who stood apart from the fashion herd

Clothing the gap

A new exhibition celebrates women who stood apart from the fashion herd
Fall of the Berlin Wall: Goodbye to all that - the lost world beyond the Iron Curtain

The Fall of the Berlin Wall

Goodbye to all that - the lost world beyond the Iron Curtain