Enterprise Development, Food, Growth

Ocean Basket was launched with R800 and a dream

“We convinced all of our suppliers to let us pay them with post-dated cheques, and then we worked like hell to make enough money that month to ensure they didn’t bounce.”

Fats Lazarides founded Ocean Basket in 1995 with R800. Today the nation-wide brand has system-wide sales of over R1 billion.

Ocean Basket was launched from a 118 m2 store in Menlyn Park with some crazy restrictions, because the centre management had assured their current clients there would be no more restaurants in the centre. They could only serve five proteins and two starches. They weren’t allowed to serve salads, desserts or coffee, and only one red and one white wine by the glass. Doors had to be closed by 7pm.

For every restriction, Fats Lazarides found an advantage. “We focused on the lunch-time trade. Meals were cooked and served quickly. Bar stools set up against the wall saved space and let single shoppers eat without feeling lonely.” Soon, families would deliberately eat an early dinner before the store closed. “An entire family of four could eat for R60 because we let them bring their own salads, wine and even desserts.”

Source: Entrepreneur Magazine

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