The Seame Group appeared in 2010, aiming to create differentiating and disruptive projects, betting on innovation, specialisation and focusing on raw materials. But for a business to grow and to be successful, it must have creative and restless minds supporting it, and Seame Group does: António Querido, Rui Gaspar and João Rebelo Vaz.
The three partners got together united by one single link: the passion for restaurants and hospitality. António starts by explaining that “we each had our own occupation related to the retail sector and the food industry, but I knew and already worked with Rui. João joined us as “Business Angel” and financial arm of the business. When we launched Sea Me – Peixaria Moderna, we were in the middle of an economic crisis and we knew it was a risky business”. This was their first restaurant, where the two first years are described as years of pure learning. They consider themselves good food lovers and somewhat obsessed with the sector.
With a clear bet on differentiation, they opened Sea Me – Peixaria Moderna. Fish and seafood are the kings here, in a perfect fusion between the tradition of Portuguese fish dishes and the innovation of Asian dishes. “All of that with a modern look, with a DJ on weekends and a bar”, António describes. We bring this innovation to the client´s table. They can choose the fish and fully enjoy the product. Two techniques are used: half in the grid, where we bring the tradition of our country and half in sushi&sashimi with creative pieces and different in each experience. Even the fish bone can be eaten here!
Our maximum concern is the product, and the rest derives from it – António Querido
In every Marisqueira (seafood restaurant), having a steak sandwich is mandatory, but not any steak sandwich. The challenge was to have the best steak sandwich of Lisbon! Thus, was born O Prego da Peixaria, in 2013. In the menu we can find irreverent reinventions of the typical sirloin steak sandwich wrapped in a handmade bread. Besides, they were pioneers in the creation of fish hamburgers.
With an annual growth of around 30%, there’s an innovation DNA in every project. With this spirit, they create in April 2018 a totally different concept from what they have been done to date.
They enter in Asia through Alvalade. At 100 Rome Avenue we find Soão – Taberna Asiática (Asian tavern). A project that has been a challenge since day one. Not only because of the different cuisines here represented, but also because of its techniques, aromas and processes, as the other atmospheres. Here, they wanted to create two distinctive realities: on the ground floor there is a real Asian tavern, where people live in a frenetic pace, such a characteristic chaos; and on the lower floor, people enter a real Oriental Bafon, that provides a view of Asia´s decadent luxury.
Known for their irreverence, the partners aren’t limited to good cuisine, they feel fulfilled when creating concepts and atmospheres that raise the restaurant’s name to the level of success. The Meat Me space, at Chiado, proves just that. It´s a meat restaurant, that brings together different roasting techniques: Spanish “parrilla”, Japanese “Robata” and American “barbecue”. There are different types of cut like “Chuletón”, “Entrecôte” and “Tomahawk”. Each piece of dry aged meat has a story to tell. The wines come from only nine producers and the cocktails take us back to the 1920’s.
António Querido states: “from the very first project we entered the hospitality business, we want to sell happiness, experiences, emotions”.
A brand included in the Seame Group, which has four insignias, eight locations, employs 254 people and records 12 million euros in net sales.
We have a very high degree of irreverence, we had to work a lot to achieve what we have today and we don’t want to lose that restlessness that has always described us
Hospitality is, therefore, an essential and transversal tool for this Group. The best way to make customers happy is to make sure that the people who work with them like it too. What’s the meaning of a good restaurant without a good team, it has no future. But there’s a problem regarding human resources, “nowadays, the main problem is the lack of labour for the restaurants sector, it’s scarce and the one available isn’t skilled, which makes it harder to open new restaurants” Rui Gaspar states.
António explains the Group’s vision: “we see this as the hospitality industry, where we have several actors such as chefs, barmen, waiters, brand managers, human resources managers, customer service teams…and we see that from the beginning and everyone is important, I think that it is one of the reasons for our success”. Rui fully agrees and adds that “if the dish washer doesn’t wash the dishes and the glasses, the kitchen won’t have the tools and the service won’t be able to take the dish to the table”.
In the future, the goal is to create value through different brands, reaching different audiences. The strong know-how regarding fish and seafood is something that differentiates them from competition: “we have spent the last 9 years working with this type of product, innovating, therefore I may say there will be some surprises coming up in the next few months within this segment in terms of services” António Querido discloses. As for expanding to other spaces, the partners underline that the “heart” is in Lisbon, but with some partners setting challenges to open Sea Me in new locations, namely in Porto, the partners don’t discard that possibility.
Seame Group will remain in the market with the same policy: an emotional, honest and innovative cuisine.