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(Watch) Ocean Basket’s Top Lessons Learnt From 21 Years Of Being In Business

Ocean Basket started off with just six tables in a 60 square metre restaurant. Today there are over 201 restaurants in 16 countries around the globe. Entrepreneur spoke to CEO Grace Harding about how Ocean Basket has gone from a Pretoria deli/restaurant, to a seafood powerhouse worldwide.

Nedbank Franchising

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Watch this video of Grace Harding of Ocean Basket on the Franchising model.

Vital Stats

  • Player: Grace Harding
  • Franchise: Ocean Basket
  • Established: 1995
  • Visit: oceanbasket.com

What was Ocean Basket’s biggest challenge in 21 years of operation?

It’s difficult to talk about one challenge, but one of the the biggest challenges any business faces is keeping the pieces of the puzzle together and relevant. Accepting and embracing changes in the world, no matter how difficult it may be is also important, as is remaining curious and keeping a great bunch of people together. And finally, working as one — unity is key.

Related: Ocean Basket’s Fats Lazarides Honoured

What’s the most valuable lesson you can pass on to aspiring franchisors?

The key lesson is to truly define what you want to get out of your life and business. Why are you choosing this business model? It’s not a sure recipe for expansion.

It is a commitment to have your entire family of in-laws living with you in your house, wanting to change your curtains and complaining about your food.

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How do you remain relevant?

Remaining relevant is all about remaining curious and caring. Caring about your franchisees (I no longer use this word — we now use client), caring about your suppliers, your consumers, your country, the environment and the things that directly and indirectly affect people around you.

We cannot close our eyes to world hunger, to the oceans suffering because of plastic and other waste, or to the fact that we need to play a part in uplifting people in our companies and country. We’re doing well by doing good. Generosity is a key differentiator: Generosity of spirit, sharing knowledge, ideas and finding ways for many to benefit.

How do you plan to be more distinctive and unique in the market you’re in?

This is what we believe in:

  • Focus, focus, focus — the less noise for the consumer, the easier it is for her to hear us.
  • Putting your client’s success at the centre of your universe. Their success will lead to an improved consumer experience.
  • Connecting the dreams of our people to the dreams of our business. This will make us unique as it will drive one thing that we all care about. No employee cares about your business unless it has some personal meaning. This is why I say generosity and having an outward focus is key.

Related: From the Frying Pan into the Fire: The Story of Ocean Basket

Why would you recommend Ocean Basket to aspiring franchisees?

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Ocean Basket is personal. We are driven by everyone’s success and not by only delivering shareholders’ wealth. Our value systems are rooted in mutual success and the success of the consumer. We are a company that co-creates with clients and consumers.

We take tough feedback, we strive to fix things and we hold very personal relationships. The other things are must-haves — great products, support, a strong supply chain and good advertising.

Why it’s important to have a strong relationship with banking partners?

Everyone in the value chain needs to connect and walk the same road together. Our banking partners need to not only play a financial role, but we all have to make sure they get us. Nedbank gets our business and understands the challenges we face. The more effort we spend on including our banking partners, the more beneficial it will be for all involved.

Nedbank recognises the contribution franchising makes towards growing South Africa’s economy. Nedbank Franchising is all about partnerships – a concept we pioneered in the area of business banking in South Africa. With our client-centred philosophy ‘partnering with you to grow your franchise’, Nedbank Franchising offers clients a banking partnership founded on our willingness and ability to understand your franchise and provide you with a solution-driven service. Our unique approach allows us to deliver, through a single contact point, an integrated franchising solution centred on three key principles: localised decision-making with national support, access to specialised expertise and customisation.

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How Lexus Is Emphasising Quality And Taking Craftsmanship To New Heights

The seventh generation Lexus ES is crafted to the last millimetre and is the essence of comfort​.

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The seventh generation Lexus ES ushers in an era of performance, mirrored by design that stirs the soul. The exceptional body rigidity allows for incredible design freedom, resulting in design that has the confidence to stand out. The brave new design that is lower, wider and sleeker, giving this sedan a coupé-like silhouette.

The 2018 Lexus ES range has no space for mediocrity – every vehicle excels and provokes. The petrol ES 250 EX and hybrid ES 300H SE set a standard of excellence with unparalleled levels of sophistication, elegance and performance. The Lexus ES range places all available performance in the driver’s hands for an intimate experience. It is performance that can be heard and felt.

The new Lexus ES has a profile that is impossible to ignore. The striking signature spindle grille is a significant feature, a sculpted form that speaks of inherited architecture and meticulous craftsmanship. It is the embodiment of provocative elegance, of finesse and sophistication.

Every curve builds from the grille. Athletic headlights flow from the spindle grille, emphasising the sleek lines of the three-dimensional front-end while tracing the outline of the lowered roofline.

The Lexus Takumi craftsmen embody the quest for perfection by carefully refining design elements. Boldness is balanced with elegance, and innovative design characteristics are made possible by the new chassis platform that allows the New Generation ES to be longer, wider and more spacious than ever before, but with a sleeker and lower silhouette. The fastback roofline captures the glamour of a coupé and emphasises the low stance, while the interior roominess is all premium sedan.

Related: 10 SA Entrepreneurs Who Built Their Businesses From Nothing

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The meticulous attention to detail of the Lexus Takumi craftsmen is evident in every inch of the Lexus ES interior. In a physical manifestation of Omotenashi, the Japanese philosophy of warm hospitality where your every need is anticipated and catered for, the Lexus ES offers a personal comfort zone, an escape from the ordinary.

The ES seduces you with details such as embossed stitching on semi-aniline leather-trimmed* seating and real wood trim*. The door panels flow into the instrument console, creating a sense of spaciousness, and at the same time placing all controls of the navigation*, Multi-information and entertainment systems within your grasp, while all driving related functions, as well as those for communication, are controlled from the leather-trimmed steering wheel.

Define your own personal climate with automatic dual zone climate control. The innovative nanoe air-purifiers cleanse the air and moisturise your skin, which is why stepping out of the new Lexus ES, is just as invigorating as stepping into it.

For further individual comfort, the front seats of all ES models have adjustable lumbar support, with standard heated and ventilated seats.

At Lexus safety is of paramount importance, which is why the new Lexus ES features the most advanced passive and active safety and driver support systems available. This is the most technologically advanced Lexus ES ever, with traditional measures of comfort merged with cutting-edge technology for all-encompassing driving pleasure.

* Available on ES 300H only

Read next: 10 Dynamic Black Entrepreneurs

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Rethinking Learning In The 21st Century

The changing world of work has disrupted the three elements of the traditional ‘career’: Expertise, duration, and rewards.

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Traditionally the concept of a ‘career’ was considered to include three elements:

  1. A career represented our expertise, our profession, and ultimately our identity.
  2. A career was something that built over time and endured. It gave us the opportunity to progress and advance.
  3. A career gave us financial and psychological rewards. It made life meaningful and paid us enough to live well.

The changing world of work has disrupted all three elements: Expertise, duration, and rewards.

A career can now be as long as 60 years; at the same time, due to rapid advancements in technology and the changes that bring about in the workplace, skill sets can become obsolete in as little as five years.

Increasingly, companies need to rethink the way in which careers are managed and learning opportunities are delivered, and many have already begun to overhaul their career models and L&D (Learning and Development) infrastructure in line with the digital age.

Related: Your Investment In Knowledge

Employees’ learning behaviour is also changing. In the past, employees were able to obtain the skills required for their career early on and as a once-off; now, the career itself is a journey of learning, up-skilling, re-skilling and continuous reinvention to remain relevant and to thrive in the changing world of work.

Older employees who studied at a time where most of one’s learning occurred prior to entering the workplace, find themselves working alongside millennials who place greater value on learning and progression rather than on earning potential as a first priority.

Eighty-three percent of the respondents surveyed in Deloitte’s 2017 Global Human Capital Trends survey say their organisations are shifting to flexible, open career models that offer enriching assignments, projects, and experiences rather than a static career progression.

However, in today’s fast-paced business world, even if companies are restructuring L&D delivery, no one is going to make you engage in a strategy that is essential to your future success – continuous learning. You will have to take the initiative yourself.

Noted self-help expert W. Clement Stone, in his many writings on this topic, recommended that one spends anywhere from a half-hour to two hours a day in study and thinking time. This tireless dedication, combined with an insatiable curiosity, will equip you to excel in the future world of work. What’s more, learning new skills and knowledge can be fun!

The good news for both companies and for employees is that an explosion of high-quality content and digital delivery models offers employees ready access to continuous learning. The Wits DigitalCampus offers a range of accredited and fully online short courses to support your continuous learning.

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Your Investment In Knowledge

When you understand the value of knowledge, in this world where technology is rendering previously expensive products or services much cheaper (and even free), it’s just a matter of getting more of it. Dedicate yourself to constant learning!

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Most people spend their lives collecting, spending, and worrying about money — so much so, in fact, that they say they “don’t have time” to learn something new.

However, some of smartest and busiest people in the world — Barack Obama, Warren Buffet and Bill Gates — all spend at least one hour a day on deliberate learning. They see what others don’t: That learning is the single best investment of our time that we can make. As Benjamin Franklin said long ago, “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.”

When you understand the value of knowledge, in this world where technology is rendering previously expensive products or services much cheaper (and even free), it’s just a matter of getting more of it. Dedicate yourself to constant learning!

One of the very benefits of ongoing technological advances is that it empowers an accelerated and personalised learning experience that puts the learner in the driver’s seat. Modern learning harnesses the speed, power and ubiquity of digital capability. Online platforms, software and mobile devices means that the traditional hurdles to learning — such as income, status and location — have just about disappeared. Knowledge can now be gained by anyone with the passion to pursue it and the commitment to stick with it.

Related: Building Customer Relationships

We are only at the tipping point of what future learning technology can deliver. Artificial intelligence (AI) will transform all aspects of human capital management, including learning. Technology-enabled learning will be immediate and directly relevant to the task, for example:

  • personally tailored learning content and experiences delivered to you as and when you want or need them
  • chatbots and virtual assistants can source and categorise the information that you need for optimal decision-making
  • augmented and virtual reality simulations can provide a multi-sensory experience to speed up and embed learning.

Additionally, social connectivity already enables user-generated content to outpace and outstrip what traditional education and learning institutions can deliver.

Knowledge may be the new money but, unlike money, you don’t lose it when you use knowledge or give it away. Transferring knowledge anywhere in the world is free and instant. It’s fun to acquire and it makes your brain work better. It helps you think bigger and beyond your circumstances. It puts your life in perspective by essentially helping you live many lives in one life through other people’s experiences and wisdom.

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