An astonishing 2,500 people applied for just 100 jobs at a new £2.4m restaurant on Blackpool’s Golden Mile.
The candidates from right across the North West, but with a majority from the Fylde coast, were all hoping to get a job working at the new Harry Ramsden’s restaurant at Blackpool Tower.
Harry Ramsden at the Tower is due to open on Thursday as the company closed its old eaterie on the Prom and moved equipment to its new home where the Tower Lounge bar used to be.
The brand has also got a fish and chip restaurant inside the Tower complex itself, but the one on the front will have a new look and menu that the restaurant is rolling out across the country.
The company has been working with Blackpool’s Jobcentre Plus and training company Educational Skills Partnership to find the new staff.
Karl Worsley, from the Jobcentre, said the number of people applying for the vacancies at Harry Ramsden’s was high.
He said: “Harry Ramsden’s has carried out a really good advertising campaign for the jobs.
“If you have walked past the site recently you will have seen big banners asking people if they want to work for an iconic company and that has obviously had an effect.”
He said they had put together sector based work academies for unemployed people to learn the skills needed to work in catering and hospitality with English and maths training plus a period of work experience with the company and a guaranteed interview at the end.
He said: “We split them into two groups 18-to-24-year-olds and over 25s and ran three academies.
“We don’t know the results yet but the quality of the local people had been good.
“They have picked up a lot of transferable skills so if they are not successful this time it will stand them in good stead for the future.”
Joe Teixeira, chief executive of Harry Ramsden’s, said: “In order to fill the 100 new roles, a series of recruitment days was held at the Tower throughout April and May, and the quality and quantity of candidates applying for roles at the new outlet was exceptional.
“So, with our fantastic new team, modern day look and greatly enhanced menu now in place, I believe we will not only continue to welcome our loyal customer base, but also introduce Harry Ramsden’s to a whole new generation of fans.
“We are thrilled to showcase this brand new face of Harry Ramsden’s in the north’s favourite town.
“We believe Blackpool’s most iconic landmark is the ideal location from which to unveil the modern day face of Harry’s, as both brands combine the proudest of heritages wrapped up firmly in a family focus.
“Just as the Tower itself recently enjoyed a major revamp, with this new opening we will unveil a totally new look which retains all the key elements which Harry himself introduced, but better reflects the modern day face of Harry Ramsden’s.”
Tower operator Merlin called time on the Tower Lounge bar in November 2014, after some six decades.
The new restaurant and take-away, which has created 100 jobs and safeguarded 30 existing roles, includes ‘state-of-the-art information technology and social media installations’.
The council contributed £400,000 towards the building costs of the development.
Coun Mark Smith, cabinet member for business and economic development said: “The private investment being made in Blackpool’s most prominent public asset and the jobs it creates is yet another demonstration of the steps the town has taken in creating a vibrant economy.
“This is a clear message to potential developers – Blackpool is the town to invest in.”
A spokesman for Harry Ramsden’s said that the old site further along the Prom, which the company owns, would be offered out to other operators.
It is thought that several big name brands have expressed an interest but no official details have yet been released.