North Sea (restaurant chain)

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legal form GmbH
founding April 23, 1896
Seat Bremerhaven , Germany
management Andreas Gertzobe
Number of employees about 6000
sales 349 million euros (2012)
Branch Quick service system catering

The Nordsee GmbH (formerly North Sea fish specialties GmbH ) operates under the name North Sea , a fast-food chain with a focus on fish and seafood . It emerged from the fresh fish trade , which was supplemented by salads and fish rolls (e.g. with fish cakes as Bremer ). Later, grilled, steamed and fried fish, fish nuggets and similar snacks and wraps were added to the range.

The branch structure of the North Sea is divided into three areas: snack (375 locations), restaurant (374 locations) and sea buffet (167 locations), which are often combined in one branch (as of 2020).


Advertisement for the North Sea Hall on Munich's Viktualienmarkt in Munich's Ratsch-Kathl , 1904.

North Sea was founded on April 23, 1896 in Bremen by a group of Bremen shipowners and merchants under the leadership of the shipowner Adolf Vinnen (1868-1926) as the German steam fishing company North Sea . They went fishing in order to be able to offer fresh fish to the people inland as quickly as possible, and in the same year they opened the first North Sea restaurant in Bremen. The Deutsche Dampffischerei-Gesellschaft Nordsee was based in Nordenham , where the company leased land from the state of Oldenburg and built a fishing port.

In the course of time, the North Sea managed to build one of the largest fishing fleets in Germany, but many ships were sunk or expropriated by the end of the First World War. After the war, the North Sea merged with various fishing and fishing companies, so that in 1931 almost half of all German fishing vessels for the North Sea were fishing. In 1932 there were already 128 branches in Germany and 32 in Austria. In 1934 the company moved from Nordenham to Bremerhaven .

Deep sea fishery Bremerhaven AG

In 1894 the shipowner Heinrich Hohnholz had his first fish steamer built for deep-sea fishing at the Georg Seebeck and Schichau Seebeck shipyards . In 1905 his shipping company became Hochseefischerei Bremerhaven AG , with a special division for herring fishing. In 1914 the shipping company had 24 fish steamers for fishing in the North Sea, but also on the West African coast, and four herring steam loggers . In 1929 the shipping company was transferred to the Nordsee shipping company .

North Sea at Unilever

After the Second World War, the expansion continued. Gradually more and more fish shops (sea buffets) were opened. At the end of the 1950s, it was then sold to a buyer community made up of Dresdner Bank and Unilever . Unilever held its shares until 1997.

In the mid-1960s, the new North Sea concept, Nordsee-Quick, was added. The first restaurant of this type was opened in Darmstadt . In 1964 the first Nordsee Quick restaurant was opened; Ten years later, the 100th branch of this type was opened in Göttingen .

North Sea at Apax

North Sea restaurant in Braunschweig

From 1997 the North Sea was sold to the financial investor Apax Partners . These spun off the North Sea subsidiaries, including Deutsche See Fischmanufaktur and Frozen Fish International, manufacturers of the well-known Iglo frozen fish products.
The remaining companies were brought together under the umbrella of Nordsee Holding . In 1999, Nordsee introduced the snack shop, which was smaller than the restaurants .

In 2004 the range was reorganized. With new products and a new appearance, Nordsee tried to improve its image. In 2004 two North Sea branches were opened in the Czech Republic in Prague and Brno . There are also branches in Romania and Hungary. There are branches in the North Sea in Switzerland, but these are franchising branches and the legal owner is Candrian Seafood AG . The restaurants are located at locations preferred by Candrian Catering, such as Zurich main station and Zurich Airport . In 2011 a branch was opened in the Italian province of Novara near Milan in the shopping center in Vicolungo .

North Sea near Kamps and Müller

In 2005 Nordsee GmbH was acquired by Heiner Kamps owned Kamps Food Retail Investment SA (KFRI) together with the Japanese bank Nomura from the previous owner Apax. Kamps had been a minority shareholder for many years.

In 2006 Nomura sold its 19.5 percent stake to KFRI, which then owned almost 100 percent of the shares. In December 2006 it was announced that KFRI would be sold to International Food Retail Capital (IFRC) based in Cyprus for 130 million euros . In addition to Kamps, the shareholders of KFRI were the dairy company Theo Müller , the financial investor APC Capital and the Formula 1 manager Willi Weber . Kamps and Müller are also involved in IFRC.

In May 2009, the first company-owned beach café was integrated into a branch in the Columbus Center in Bremerhaven .

In 2013 the company had around 6,000 employees in 397 branches worldwide. The branches are spread across Germany (335), Austria (36), Switzerland, the Czech Republic, Romania, Hungary, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Belgium and Poland. The turnover amounted to 349 million euros in 2012.

Sale to Kharis Capital

In October 2018, the Müller Group announced the sale of Nordsee Holding to the Swiss investment company Kharis Capital . Kharis Capital already holds stakes in various fast-food chains. In 2019, Nordsee had 379 branches in Germany and abroad.

Web links

Commons : Nordsee  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. a b [1] , accessed on July 25, 2013
  2. a b Company history , accessed on July 25, 2013
  3. ^ Kamps gives up control: IFRC takes over North Sea , December 15, 2006, accessed on November 19, 2011
  4. [2], 9 October 2018
  5. Unternehmensgruppe Theo Müller: Kharis CAPITAL acquires NORTH SEA FROM HK FOOD GMBH . ( [accessed October 11, 2018]).