Fats Lazarides is a successful South African businessman and entrepreneur. Together with his partners he founded the Ocean Basket seafood franchise that is an international success story with 163 outlets across South Africa and eight other countries.
Fats has flourished within a highly competitive industry, but that success did not come overnight. He opened and, sometimes sold off a succession of restaurants, cafés and fast food outlets during his 20s. At the age of 35 he was employed as a store man for the Spar supermarket chain.
It was here in 1994 that the dynamic management team of Ocean Basket first came together. Fats’ passion and expertise lies in restaurant management and the hospitality industry. His forte is interacting with people, natural leadership skills and visionary and innovative thinking.
On 12 April 1995 the partners opened the first Ocean Basket in Menlyn Shopping Centre, Pretoria, with a ‘high volume, good value for money’ model in mind. At the time people thought they were crazy – “people do not eat seafood – they like chicken, burgers and pizza’. But it was a success, as it embraced a key lesson Fats had learned from his previous experiences - the need for simplicity both in business model and menu.
The success of the Ocean Basket brand is based on the basic formula of simplicity, excellent service, value for money and the most delicious seafood served piping hot in the pan, consistent in every Ocean Basket restaurant.
The first milestone of 50 outlets was reached in 2002, happening so quickly that it required a restructure of the back-office model to facilitate continued exponential growth. Already, the franchise had gone nationwide and then international. Today, of its 163 stores, 14 are outside South Africa’s borders in Cyprus (6), Mauritius (2), Dubai, Zambia, Botswana, Nigeria, Namibia, Lesotho and Swaziland.
Under Fats’ leadership, Ocean Basket has become the acknowledged leader among the restaurant brands in South Africa with 60% market share of the sit-down seafood market. Its 163 outlets serve more than one million meals each month. The success of the Ocean Basket brand is confirmed through the numerous consumer accolades it has been awarded over the years. For 12 consecutive years Ocean Basket was named the Best Seafood Restaurant in Johannesburg and have just recently won the top family restaurant in Cyprus.
The secret to Fats’ success is a productive and meaningful working relationship with his 450 employees across South African head offices and Cyprus, as well as with franchisee and licensee partners. Fats believes in partnerships in which everyone benefits.
Ocean Basket is a SASSI participant.
Telephone: (011) 655 1300
Le Roux Rd, Midrand, Gauteng 1686