Ocean Basket Franchise – The Seafood Restaurant Taking the World by Storm

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It may not be a big name here in the UK, but Ocean Basket is considered a top seafood restaurant by many South African diners. From fish platters to calamari, sushi and salads, this franchise serves a wide range of tasty dishes designed to showcase the best our oceans have to offer. This is not to say that it sources its produce irresponsibly; it works within a strict framework of regulations that promote the health of sea life.

The very first Ocean Basket restaurant was established in 1995 in Menlyn Park, Pretoria, which is situated just north of Johannesburg. At the time, seafood restaurants were frequented by the upper classes and even just a portion of prawns was considered a luxury. Ocean Basket attempted to smash this notion by offering affordable but delicious seafood dishes.

This initial restaurant was just 60 square metres, accommodating just six tables, and the landlord introduced drinks restrictions. Under them, just one type of wine and certain soft drinks could be served to customers. This didn’t deter the Ocean Basket founders, however, who invited them to bring along their own.

Over the years, the business was able to grow in size, expanding into foreign territories and introducing itself to increasingly large customer pools. It only took three years for the company to launch its first successful television ad campaign.

To this day, Ocean Basket aims to give customers a “home-from-home” experience. It cultivates a friendly atmosphere to encourage customers to catch up with friends and family over a tasty meal. This philosophy stems from the business’ first days, when its founder, Fats Lazarides, got to know every customer on a first-name basis and regularly tested the food to make sure they stood up to his high standards.

Ocean Basket Food

Ocean Basket has developed a diverse menu that uses fish and seafood in many different ways. Customers can order a range of meze dishes and sharing platters, as well as calamari, prawns, fish, soups, salads, rice dishes, desserts and milkshakes. There’s even a children’s menu, which offers smaller portions.

The family ethos is reflected in Lazarides’ mother’s involvement in the franchise. Over the years, Liza Lazarides has baked tasty Baklava and Kataifi desserts and created Ocean Basket’s famous dips.

This franchise aims to preserve the ecosystem from which it takes its ingredients. This means only buying responsibly sourced or ethically farmed seafood and working to reduce and recycle its waste. Ocean Basket also collaborates with non-profit organisations, aquariums and science centres to carry its message to a greater audience, from customers and investors to the media.

Franchise with Ocean Basket

Since it took its first steps in 1995, Ocean Basket has developed an extensive network of restaurants across the world. Today, there are more than 200 across 19 countries. 152 of these are in South Africa, where their story began, but consumers from Nigeria to Cyprus, and from Dubai to Russia are also enjoying this franchise’s offering.

The business currently sees a turnover of £122 million and has franchisees in 16 countries. But it is still on the lookout for entrepreneurs who are keen to establish their own collection of Ocean Basket restaurants. To do so, it predicts you'll need to be prepared to invest around £2.4 million.

Unless you’re interested in opening your franchise in South Africa, you will be asked to sign a master franchise agreement. This means that you’ll be granted the licence to open a number of Ocean Basket restaurants in a specified territory and time period. The exact number of outlets you’ll be responsible for will be stipulated in your official franchise agreement, but the average length of the contract period is 10 years.

Ocean Basket Franchisee Support

When you join Ocean Basket, you’ll be given the guidance and support to make your restaurants a success. This includes the use of a tried and tested franchise model that has been developed over the last 20 years. You’ll also be given a designated business advisor, who will help you with the launch of your restaurants and their ongoing operations. This means you’ll be able to access the best advice on a range of different topics, such as managing the business’ finances.

What’s more, you will be able to rely on the guidance of the Ocean Basket team during site selection, to make sure that you end up with a suitable location and building. You will even be supported by the team during the two weeks following restaurant launches, which should ensure that they get off to the best possible start.

Ocean Basket Franchisee Responsibilities

Now for the numbers; you will be expected to hire a team of around 25 to 30 capable and friendly employees per restaurant. You must also give five percent of your revenue back to the Ocean Basket franchisor in royalties. In addition to this, three percent of your turnover will go towards marketing; two percent of which is focused on local marketing in your territory.

If this sounds like an opportunity you’d be interested in taking, head to Ocean Basket’s website today to find out more and fill out its franchise application form. If you’re applying for a South Africa franchisee licence, you’ll be asked to provide financial statements and complete an online ‘shadow test’, in-store test and final interview. If you would prefer to open Ocean Basket restaurants in other locations, the application process may be more extensive.

Other Franchise Opportunities

There are plenty of other food and restaurant franchises just waiting for savvy entrepreneurs to pick up the phone. Many of these are offering franchisee licences right here in the UK, as well as internationally. There are a wide range of investment prices, so there's bound to be one to fit every budget. Click here to get started and browse our list of restaurant opportunities.


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