Huntington Beach, CA - November 13, 2013 – Orange County's award-winning fast-casual sustainable seafood restaurant, Slapfish, is expanding with a new franchise program focused on North America development and select international markets, starting with a 75-unit deal for the entire Middle East. In Southern California, Slapfish has become known as a modern seafood shack that, at its core, presents a real American seafood experience that revolves around fresh, sustainable fish, prepared simply, but delivering big flavors. Founded by Chef Andrew Gruel and Jethro Naude, Slapfish's ocean-fresh menu emphasizes bibb-worthy dishes and bold flavors, with seafood sourced from well-managed suppliers of eco-friendly seafood.
Named Best Restaurant in Orange County for 2013, uniquely positioned Slapfish is expanding with the help of Fransmart, the franchise development company responsible for the growth of brands like Five Guys Burgers and Fries and Qdoba Mexican Grill.
The 'boat-to-plate' concept has already signed their first major multi-unit deal for the entire Middle East with experienced master franchisee Magnolia Enterprises. Magnolia Enterprises, a successful food & beverage holding company, will open its first Slapfish outlet in Dubai and has plans to open 75 Slapfish restaurants throughout the Middle East region. Other brands Magnolia has brought over from the United States and grown into popular brands in the Middle East include Elevation Burger, Chuck E. Cheese's, Flippin' Pizza and Chicken Now.
In addition to the Middle East franchise deal, Slapfish is opening up to 4 additional corporate locations in Southern California in the next two years, and is also being looked at for locations in some of the state's busiest malls and airports. Per the current Slapfish Item 19 – Financial Performance Representation, the Huntington Beach location saw sales of over $1M for the year May 2012 – April 2013.
A typical franchise unit will have a layout of 1,500 square feet, which includes an outdoor patio.
Partners Chef Gruel and Naude grew up fishing, surfing, and ultimately making a living with the ocean – one, as a seafood-loving Chef, and the other, an Environmental Economist with deep roots in the global fishing industry. Their goal at Slapfish is to change the way people think about and choose their seafood. The two have made it their mission to get people to eat more seafood, but eat the right types of seafood, by emphasizing that sustainable tastes better. Slapfish works closely with multiple organizations to ensure they are utilizing the most current data on over-fishing, harmful fishing practices and responsible fish-farming. Their partnerships with the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, CA, and Seafood for the Future, allow them to source the highest quality, healthy seafood.
Gruel describes the Slapfish story by saying, "Our mission is to change the way people eat seafood by keeping it ridiculously fresh and refreshingly responsible. The seafood segment has long been dominated by full-service restaurants. The convention of seafood served 'on the fly' has been painfully relegated to the monotony of uninspired fried shrimp dishes and greasy fast food. It's time to have your Clobster Cake and eat it too! Slapfish combines the quality of fine dining with the cost and convenience of fast food. Our goal is to provide sustainable seafood in a convenient, approachable context. Get ready for fish so fresh, it will slap you!"
With Chef Gruel as a spokesperson for sustainable seafood practices, Slapfish separates itself on the county's culinary landscape by serving to empower the community with fresh quality, responsibly sourced offerings. Chef Gruel has also gained a fanclub across the U.S., having been a judge on The Cooking Channel's Food Truck Face Off. He has two shows in production for release in late 2013 and early 2014.
The Slapfish menu is reviewed by a team of experts and scientists in conservation and marine biology at the Aquarium of the Pacific's sustainable seafood program, Seafood for the Future. Chef Gruel's menu revolves around a variety of daily and seasonally changing features, including Chowder Fries, Clobster Cakes, East Coast Style Lobster Roll, Award Winning Fish and Chips, Baja Fish Tacos, and Lobster Toast. While the founders' love and respect for the ocean originally inspired this focus on sustainability, they have developed a successful and profitable model from putting these practices into effective use.
Dan Rowe, Founder and CEO of Fransmart, says of the concept, "There have been many revolutions in the fast casual industry – better burger, better pizza, and even health casual – but Slapfish is the first to do something cool and revolutionary in seafood. It is a segment that is in dire need of a buzzworthy concept."
Slapfish is located Huntington Beach, California (19696 Beach Blvd., in the Newland Center at Adams), with locations set to open across the U.S. and the Middle East. For more information on Slapfish, visit www.slapfishrestaurant.com.