March 18, 2014 // Franchising.com // Huntington Beach, CA – Slapfish, a Huntington Beach-based Chef-driven fast-casual seafood restaurant with an emphasis on serving fresh, sustainable dishes, has announced the signing of a multi-unit franchise deal to focus on Southern California. The franchisee plans to open a minimum of 6 stores over the next 3 years, with the first location planned for Newport Beach in 2014.
The new franchisee is Abdelmuti Restaurant Group led by Nedal Abdelmuti and Ahmad Abdelmuti, who have been small business owners for nearly 40 years.
"The process of choosing Slapfish was a no brainer for us. We had been fans of the concept since its food truck days, and we feel that if we were going to invest in a concept, great healthy food would have to be a focus," commented Nedal Abdelmuti, on behalf of himself and his brother. "Slapfish is about a way of life – from only selling sustainable fish to recycling every product in the restaurant – and we can get behind a concept that gives more than it takes from the environment and community."
After the initial Newport Beach location is open this year, the franchisee is looking to open their second site in either San Clemente or Irvine, and subsequent real estate sites will be sought out in areas including Costa Mesa, Santa Monica and Manhattan Beach.
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, eco-friendly suppliers.
"After meeting the owners of Slapfish, we realized that a great concept starts with the people and trickles down to the product that you serve," added Abdelmuti of Chef Gruel and Naude.
Slapfish is expanding with the help of franchise development partner Fransmart, the company responsible for the explosive growth of brands like Five Guys Burgers and Fries and Qdoba Mexican Grill. While Slapfish secured a major master franchise deal in the Middle East in 2013, the Orange County deal marks the first multi-unit franchise agreement for the United States.
Slapfish is also set to open a second corporate restaurant in Laguna Beach, CA in Spring/Summer 2014 to continue to satisfy the appetites of the dedicated fan base in its home market.
Orange County is home to Slapfish, a modern seafood shack founded by Chef Andrew Gruel and Jethro Naude. At its core, the noted food truck-turned-restaurant presents a real American seafood experience that revolves around fresh, sustainable fish, prepared simply, but delivering big flavors. His ocean-fresh menu emphasizes bib-worthy dishes and bold flavors, with seafood sourced from well-managed suppliers of eco-friendly seafood.
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, healthiest seafood.
With Chef Gruel as a spokesperson for sustainable seafood practices, Slapfish separates itself on the county's culinary landscape by empowering the community with fresh and responsibly sourced offerings. Chef Gruel has also gained a fan club across the U.S., by serving as 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.
Since opening its first restaurant location in 2012, Slapfish has created a distinct brand that revolves around "boat-to-plate" cuisine in a casual, relaxed setting. The brand is poised to grow to additional locations in the upcoming year.
Slapfish is located in Huntington Beach, California (19696 Beach Blvd., in the Newland Center at Adams), with a location set to open in Laguna Beach in April 2014 (211 Broadway Street, across from Main Beach). Additional locations are set to open across the U.S. and the Middle East. For more information, call 714-963-3900 or visit www.slapfishrestaurant.com.
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