In spite of tough economic times, with some franchises closing down, Ocean Basket celebrated the opening of its 150th restaurant in Edenvale last month.
Ocean Basket recently celebrated the opening of its 150th restaurant, located at Stoneridge shopping centre, Edenvale. The first Ocean Basket was opened 17 years ago, which translates to nine restaurants a year – impressive growth for any business.
We chat to Manny Nichas, CEO of Ocean Basket, about their strategy and growth.
What is the strategy that Ocean Basket used to grow the franchise at this rate?
Ocean Basket had a pretty simple strategy for its growth. There are basically two key strategies that bought us here: the initial roll-out of the stores in high traffic centres to create the exposure that was necessary for the critical mass needed to build a strong brand; and focusing on our core line (seafood) and the persistence to that focus throughout the years. We also have our “four F” strategy, which is famous fish, fabulous service, friendliest of places and fantastic value.
Is Ocean Basket available across Africa and abroad?
Ocean Basket is available in seven countries across Africa and Europe. We have stores in Namibia, Zambia, Lesotho, Mauritius, Dubai and Cyprus. We are busy building a store in Nigeria, which is due to open in July 2012. We have a total of over 150 stores currently, with a proposed 16 stores to open before the end of the year. Our international footprint is set to grow quite considerably in the next few years as the interest internationally has been the biggest that we have had to date.
What challenges have you faced in running the franchise?
We have faced numerous challenges over the years in running the franchise. Among them is the correct selection of suitable franchisees that are committed to working their stores and making a success of them. Product and supply of our core lines create numerous challenges to find seafood that comes from sustainable sources. Our drive to finding good aqua-cultured product has been one of our successes.
To what do you attribute the success of Ocean Basket?
The success of Ocean Basket has been the ownership of supply of the product and the continuous support that we offer our franchisees. We believe in family values and our love for the brand wins our fight every day. The passion that each and every one of the directors and its staff has had, has pretty much been the success of the brand from the beginning. The persistent involvement and the understanding of our business were keys to the interest shown by the people that have invested in the brand.