The popular fast-casual seafood restaurant is making a splash overseas, opening the first of 25 locations in the UK as part of an exclusive multi-unit franchise deal
November 04, 2019 // Franchising.com // LONDON – Slapfish, the largest and fastest growing fast-casual seafood restaurant in America, has officially opened its first international franchise location in the United Kingdom, with plans to open 25 more units across the nation by 2025. Located at 11 Kentish Town Road in London’s Camden district, the 800 square-foot Slapfish location is the latest addition to the concept’s booming portfolio of 25 U.S. locations across 11 states.
Slapfish’s U.K. franchise partner signed a multi-unit agreement to bring the concept’s mouthwatering, Instagram-worthy seafare to demanding customers throughout the territory. SME Group PLC is a family-run organization of experienced franchisees that currently operates nearly 100 franchise locations with various fast-casual concepts in the U.K.
“After seeing other franchisees’ continued success in the United States and hearing rave reviews from customers, we knew the timing was right to bring Slapfish across the pond,” said Slapfish franchisee Aly Esmail. “U.K. customers are looking for high-quality and sustainable fast-casual options, and we are excited to introduce them to Slapfish’s flavorful, unique brand of seafood.”
Founded by celebrity chef Andrew Gruel in 2011, Slapfish started as a food truck in California offering boat-to-plate cuisine. Since that time, it has grown to 25 brick-and-mortar locations in the United States with more than 150 locations currently under development globally. Featuring a fresh attitude, simple flavors and a healthy smack of gourmet, Slapfish has made sustainable seafood approachable and affordable. Signature menu items available at the new London location include lobster taquitos, shrimp ceviche, the ‘Clobster’ grilled cheese and house-made, original dipping sauces. The fast-growing brand was featured in Food & Wine Magazine as one of the “7 Most Eco-Minded Restaurants,” named one of the “Best Restaurants for Lobster in Orange County” and has also been featured on the Food Network, PBS and The Today Show.
“Opening this first U.K. location is an exciting step forward in our mission to make sustainable seafood approachable and affordable for consumers everywhere,” said Chef Andrew Gruel, founder and CEO of Slapfish. “Aly Esmail’s legacy of proven franchise operational experience in the U.K. makes SME Group PLC the ideal partner to help us bring flavorful, healthy recipes to a whole new audience of seafood-lovers.”
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), global seafood consumption has steadily increased over the past five decades as consumers become more educated on the nutritional value of a seafood-rich diet. By 2030, seafood consumption is projected to increase by another 20 percent worldwide. Slapfish is designed with the flexibility and scalability to meet this rising demand for fresh, easily accessible seafood, and is able to operate from a wide range of real estate footprints – from a food truck or kiosk to a 2,000 square-foot restaurant space.
Slapfish has partnered with Fransmart, the industry leading franchise development company behind the explosive growth of brands like Five Guys Burgers and Fries, The Halal Guys and Qdoba Mexican Grill, as the concept’s exclusive franchise development partner to grow the brand in major U.S. and international markets.
Slapfish was established in 2011 by Chef Andrew Gruel as a food truck in California, focused on serving fresh, honest seafood. The concept has since become the fastest growing fast-casual seafood restaurant in North America, with over 20 brick-and-mortar locations and more than 150 in development. Known for its emphasis on sustainability and conservation, Slapfish is on a mission to, “make seafood sexy again,” at an affordable price. The brand has been featured on Food Network, PBS and Food & Wine, just to name a few. For more information about Slapfish, visit slapfishrestaurant.com.
Fransmart is the global leader in franchise development, turning emerging restaurant concepts into national and global brands for over 10 years. Company founder Dan Rowe identified and grew brands like Five Guys Burgers & Fries and Qdoba Mexican Grill from 1-5 unit businesses to the powerhouse chains they are today. Fransmart’s current and past franchise development portfolio brands have opened more than 3,000 restaurants in 45 states and 35 countries. Fransmart and their partner brands are committed to franchise development growth – as of 2015, over 1,000 new restaurants are in development across their current portfolio.