Week in review: Chapter 11 for Oceanaire


Steven Hedlund

Published on
July 8, 2009

Here’s a summary of this week’s most read stories on SeafoodSource:

1) Chapter 11 for Oceanaire: “Our restaurants didn’t fail, the economy failed us,” Wade Wiestling, Oceanaire Seafood Room’s VP of culinary development, told SeafoodSource on Monday soon after the Minneapolis-based upscale seafood chain filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and closed four of its 16 U.S. locations. The Plitt Co., Inland Seafood, Sysco Corp. and U.S. Foodservice are among the seafood suppliers listed as secured creditors in Oceanaire’s bankruptcy filings.

2) Legal goes to court: Legal Sea Foods filed a lawsuit against Ronald Reagan National Airport in Washington, D.C., alleging it failed to conduct an open bidding process for a new lease. “We believe the process was unfair and probably illegal, and we have filed suit to stay and keep over 50 jobs we have at the airport restaurant,” said Roger Berkowitz, the company’s president and CEO. The Boston-based casual seafood chain is scheduled to close the restaurant in August.

3) Where’s the transparency? Wednesday’s commentary, “Carting away our patience,” called on Greenpeace to furnish the formula it uses to score retailers’ sustainable seafood purchasing policies in its “Carting Away the Oceans” report, published last week for the third time in the past year. If Greenpeace expects Trader Joe’s to be transparent about its sustainable seafood purchasing policies, it needs to be clear, too.

4) Record breaker: The value of Norway’s seafood exports surged 14 percent in the first half of 2009, reaching a record NOK 20.6 billion (USD 3.2 billion, EUR 2.3 billion), according to the Norwegian Seafood Export Council. Farmed salmon, herring and mackerel were mainly responsible for the jump.

5) Fast-food sushi: In Japan, independent sushi bars with artisan sushi chefs are struggling to compete with kaiten, or conveyor belt, sushi chains, which feature low prices, quick self-service, ample seating and parking and a casual, kid-friendly atmosphere. Same-store sales at leading kaiten sushi chains Kappa Zushi and Akindo Sushiro were up 9.9 percent and 8.4 percent, respectively, in May.

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