Slapfish to kick off aggressive 2018 expansion plan with first Florida location
Fast-casual seafood franchise Slapfish – which got its start in Newport Beach, California as a food truck – is taking its crave-worthy concept cross-country with a U.S. East Coast expansion into Florida, the company announced on 9 January.
The first Florida-based Slapfish restaurant is slated to open in Orlando by mid-2018, with 10 more brick-and-mortar shops planned to take shape throughout the state over the next five years. The state's unique customer base, as well as the abundance of exciting seafood species played a big part in attracting Slapfish to Florida, the company said.
“Orlando’s unique mix of locals and tourists, easy access to shorelines, and drool-worthy bounty of both Gulf and [Atlantic] seafood, make for a strong entry into an untapped market,” Slapfish said in a press statement.
“Florida is the perfect next step in our expansion strategy, as we can’t wait to pack our award-winning tacos, sandwiches, rolls and bowls with fresh-from-the-dock seafood,” Slapfish founder Chef Andrew Gruel added. “We are redefining the way people eat seafood, and we look forward to introducing our bold flavors and responsibly-sourced dishes to Floridians.”
Father-and-son duo Brandon and Charles Bengel, alongside Les Hatter, will be the franchisees in Orlando. The Bengels and Hatter offer a wealth of experience at the franchising table, having opened a number of QSR concepts throughout the state of Florida, including 20 Five Guys burger restaurants.
Over the long-term, the restauranteurs hope to construct and operate 40 Slapfish locations across the Sunshine State, Brandon Bengel said.
“From the moment we experienced Slapfish, we knew right away that this brand is the future of fast casual seafood,” Bengel, the president of the new Orlando Slapfish location, said. “Slapfish is unlike any other concept in the marketplace and the industry as a whole with its versatile menu and commitment to serving well-managed seafood at affordable prices. In addition to filling a niche in the Orlando dining scene, we are confident that locals will fall in love with the brand, just like we did.”
Founded by Gruel in 2011 as a food truck, Slapfish has quickly reached 11 brick-and-mortar locations throughout California, New Mexico, and Utah. Further expansions into South Korea, the United Kingdom, Oklahoma, Nevada, Arizona, Northern Virginia, and Northern California are also in the franchise’s plans for 2018.