Ocean Basket’s recipe of success

The Ocean Basket restaurant chain has become a leader in its field and gained 60% market share of the sit-down seafood market. The founder of Ocean Basket, Peter “Fats” Lazarides, has grown it into a franchise group with 203 stores in 16 countries including Dubai, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Malta and Cyprus

He also has expansion plans for another 76 stores in markets including Kazakhstan, Oman and Qatar. Ocean Basket attracts 18 million patrons and rakes in about R2 billion a year. The company imports and supplies 6 500 tonnes of seafood each year.

The back story

Fats started opening restaurants, cafes and fast food outlets when he was in his 20s. He opened the flagship restaurant in Menlyn Park, Pretoria, in 1995 with only R800 in startup capital. Fats saw a gap in the market to provide affordable seafood to South Africans in a family-friendly environment. The first Ocean Basket was a meagre 60 square metres and only had six tables. The menu was also limited to a few options including fish and chips, prawns, hake, calamari and kingklip.

Keeping up to date

One of the secrets of a successful restaurant is to stay in touch with food trends. So when sushi started to become popular worldwide, Ocean Basket was determined to bring this Japanese-style dining to its customers. The restaurant put budget-friendly sushi on its menu as far back as 2006. In 2013, it launched an innovative sushi menu that included spiced, cooked and fried signature sushi dishes with insights gained from months of research and training in Japan. This bold move solidified the Ocean Basket as an expert in seafood.

Sustainable fishing

Ocean Basket has always been conscious of providing healthier dining options for customers (fish is a protein full of nutrients and is lower in fat and calories). But in the last few years, the restaurant has become more concerned with the health of the environment especially in regard to sustainable growth. In 2014 it announced its commitment to sustainable and responsible fishing and serving seafood and fish products. The restaurant sources from responsible fisheries certified as sustainable by the Marine Stewardship Council or categorised as Green by SASSI.

The secret to staying competitive

Ocean Basket company leader Grace Harding says that the company’s growth can be put down to sustainability, customers and product.

“Our suppliers must be responsible, our product must be perfect, and our customer must be ecstatic. And sure, these customers may now have more seafood restaurant choices than ever before – it just means that we have to stay relevant and keep showing our customers how devoted we are. We have to keep listening to them and we have to keep giving them what they want. Generously.”

Ocean Basket knows how to keep its customers happy. That’s why it uses the Pilot Point of Sale system for the ultimate efficiency in its restaurants. Pilot PoS has rightfully earned its place among the top PoS providers by providing unfailing quality, excellent back-up service and industry-leading innovation. Download our brochure to find out more about the Pilot Point of Sale.

View Ocean Baskets Testimonial

Author : Rudi Badenhorst