Ambitious plan to roll out 2,000 salmon restaurants: – This will be expensive

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The restaurants Mowi has planned for Asia, won’t be any “fast-food” budget chain. On the contrary.

“Certainly not. This will be expensive,” said Marine Harvest chairman (which from 2nd January changed its name to Mowi), Ole-Eirik Lerøy.

The new restaurant and brand concept has been developed by the company’s Asian division, and is currently comprised of six restaurants on Taiwan. All are fully operative, profit-making and focused on attracting the section of the population that is willing to pay more when dining out.

However, Supreme Salmon, as the investment is called, was planned with the Chinese market in mind. It’s here they are now discussing the actual rolling out of the concept, with Chinese partners.

“We won’t be the ones operating these restaurants. This will be a co-operation, this will be a franchise. We supply the fish and the concept, after which others take it from there, in the same manner as we have seen with for example Starbucks and Burger King, said Lerøy.

Something that catches on – well and truly
Lerøy also pointed out that the restaurant investment isn’t “huge” for Marine Harvest, in terms of money invested. With salmon deliveries, on the other hand, they are counting on that the investment will be hugely extensive once the two thousand restaurants have been established. DN reported earlier that the company has its sights on achieving revenue of two billion dollars via the restaurants in 2025, and a further 600 million dollars through supplying the fish and other relevant grocery requirements.

“This is alpha omega for when you venture into China. We are already cooperating with TencentJD, and Alibaba. If you are not ready to make a serious investment with 2000 restaurants, with something that really catches on – well and truly, then don’t even bother going to talk with them about it at all. We must have the apparatus, the ambition and an organisation that is fully equipped to tackle such challenges,” he said.

Absolute top of the agenda
The Sysla interview was recorded before the announcement that the salmon giant was changing its name to Mowi, but Lerøy says that firmly establishing a real brand for salmon will be the most important consideration in the years to come.

“That to me is the greatest value, and the most outstanding opportunity we have,” said Lerøy, who maintains that this “should have been acted upon long ago”.

Through the interview you will also hear about how the salmon giant tackles the job of cutting costs, Lerøy’s thoughts on land-based fish farming, what he considers to be “embarrassing” in the industry, and he explains why he has been so engaged in controlling larger portions of the value chain.