Manhattan Fish Market (MFM), a Malaysian seafood franchise that opened this year is proving that Sri Lankans love a bit of fun while enjoying their food.
The first signs of MFM’s popularity were the number of Likes the restaurant’s Facebook page was receiving, even before the franchise opened in Colombo. “I did not initially believe it when I was told that we had received 25,000 Likes on the MFM Sri Lanka Facebook page. It took close to six years for our Singaporean page to have 25,000 likes,” said Davy Wee, CEO – The Manhattan Fish Market International (MFM).
The popularity of the restaurant did not end with the Facebook page. The restaurant has received a tremendous interest from visitors, with some having to wait more than two weeks for a table.
Pleased with such a good start in the country, M Shafraz Anees, MD – MFM Sri Lanka, explained why he thought MFM was proving to be so popular, “I think it is a combination of factors which includes our service as well as the food and ambience of the place.”
Anees, who is the Sri Lankan franchisee for MFM, does not come with a background in food and beverage, although he certainly is passionate about it. “I was looking for something and what struck me with MFM was the total experience that the brand offered. Not only the food, but also how visitors are greeted at the restaurant, how the interior is decorated and the visual displays of the chefs,” he explained.
“Training Is A Very Important Aspect Of Our Management. We Ensure That The Staff Are Up To Our Standards Before We Launch In A New Country. And Just Like There Are Many Things We Can Teach Our Sri Lankan Staff, I Also Believe There Are Many Skills And Tips That Sri Lankans Can Teach Our Staff In Other Countries”
The total experience that MFM offers does not end with the interior and the greetings. And certainly it is the excellent dishes offered that has kept repeaters visiting the outlet again and again even though it has only been just two months since MFM opened in Sri Lanka.
Inspired by the renowned Fulton Fish Market in Manhattan, New York, the aspiration of MFM is to offer freshly sourced western style seafood at affordable prices.
Now running its third generation menu, MFM offers a variety of seafood. And although over seventy percent of the dishes were fried in the first menu MFM offered, now it is the grilled, baked, poached or flamed dishes that have become the signature offerings from the franchise. To maintain its high standards, most of the ingredients and produce are still imported from all over the world with most of the seafood sourced from Vietnam.
In addition to the imported ingredients, trainers have also been visiting Sri Lanka to ensure that the staff – all Sri Lankan – are performing up to the standards that have made MFM such a favourite in the countries they are present. Currently MFM has outlets in Malaysia (where the brand was launched), Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand and Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. They have also signed franchise agreements with partners in Myanmar and UAE and is expecting to finalise more agreements in Philippines and Vietnam too – all happening this year.
“Training is a very important aspect of our management. We ensure that the staff are up to our standards before we launch in a new country. And just like there are many things we can teach our Sri Lankan staff, I also believe there are many skills and tips that Sri Lankans can teach our staff in other countries,” explained Davy Wee.
MFM Sri Lanka has done so well so fast that its mother company, Bright Group of Companies is already contemplating a second outlet. “I did not foresee this. But I believe we have been able to offer something unique to our customers. And we would like to consolidate our presence with another outlet opening soon,” said Anees of the future plans for MFM in Sri Lanka.