Joe Teixeira is the reel deal
To say that Joe Teixeira has an impressive CV would be something of an understatement. His career in the food industry has encompassed the likes of Pizza Hut, Burger King and, most notably, John Lewis. However, things may have played out very differently for the man who is now trying to rekindle the fortunes of Harry Ramsden’s.
Fortunately for Teixeira, he already had a decent grounding in food service . Pizza Hut to the UK in a joint venture with PepsiCo Foodservice and it was at the pizza chain where Teixeira started to show his potential. Within three years of joining as a fresh-faced graduate, he became an area manager and later, following a stint with Burger King, he was flown out to Portugal to establish Pizza Hut in his native country. Upon returning to the UK, Teixeira had a short spell at Bright Reasons – where he helped establish the brand now known as Bella Italia – before moving on to Greenalls Pubs and Restaurants. As operations director for Henry’s Cafe Bars, which had joined Greenalls’ portfolio as part of its acquisition of competitor Devenish, Teixeira set about imprinting his vision on the brand he’d first encountered at former employer Whitbread
Given the rich experience he had under his belt, Teixeira was approached by John Lewis,” he says. At first, Teixeira had some reservations about joining John Lewis but he was eventually won over by the vision of Gareth Thomas and Lake Mayhew, respectively the company’s retail director and managing director.
He also had an overarching vision for the brand that he believed could stand it in good stead for years to come. “I believed I needed to take Harry Ramsden’s beyond its Yorkshire roots and make it even more British,” he says.
To this end, Teixeira embarked on an extensive programme of site renovations across the Harry Ramsden’s estate. This included a £1m refit of its flagship outlet in Bournemouth, which currently holds the title of the world’s largest fish and chip restaurant. It also saw the closure of the company’s first ever restaurant in Guiseley, West Yorkshire, which was opened by Harry Ramsden in 1928. As Teixeira explains, it was a tough decision but one that was taken in the best interests of the company. “It was an exceptionally difficult decision, which was not taken lightly, especially considering the sentimental value associated with the property,” he says. “[But] that outlet in particular was in dreadful shape with property structural issues [that] required an enormous investment to correct and, quite simply, this made the commercial case untenable.”
Thankfully, with 25 years in the industry behind him, Teixeira wasn’t short of trusted contacts. “I was very fortunate,” he says. “I could go and handpick people from John Lewis and the other companies I’d worked for.”
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