• America's Favorite Seafood Franchise

What Is Captain D’s?

A proven dining leader with a track record of innovation prepares to claim even more market share with nationwide expansion

Captain D’s is one of the most popular, best-selling seafood restaurant franchises in the country. There are numerous reasons for this: exceptional, quality food that customers crave; clean, well-appointed restaurants and a staff committed to a superior customer experience.

Americans are moving away from burgers and fries and heading toward a fast-casual dining experience that feels like a restaurant and is good for them. We are benefiting from the increasing popularity of fish and seafood as a dining choice. Healthy food, attractive surroundings — as our CEO Phil Greifeld puts it, “We are where chicken was 20 years ago.”

According to the National Marine Fisheries Service, seafood consumption has been flat or shown incremental growth, even at a time when customers are seeking healthier meals and doctors are encouraging patients to eat more fish. “You might think this is because people have rejected seafood, but that isn’t the case,” Phil said. “Seafood is just not available in many markets. When we open a new store, seafood consumption grows quickly. There are not many options for diners to purchase seafood, and this really works in franchisees’ favor.”

Captain D’s is looking to break out from its historical base. We are looking for franchise owners who are familiar with the dining industry, who want to run restaurants, provide outstanding service and who want to get into a less-competitive segment with solid growth potential. We’ll meet you at the table with a lot to offer.

Captain D’s seafood restaurant franchise: authentic, high-value experience

Our seafood is carefully sourced; we use Alaska pollock as the foundation fish in our batter-dipped entrees. We can tell you where and when our wild fish was caught, and it arrives at restaurants in fillets. Captain D’s does not, nor will it ever, serve fish nuggets, fish patties or fish sticks — the leftover “blocked” fish that customers see in other seafood restaurant franchises; that’s simply not the D’s way.

Combine that with fresh vegetables and sides prepared in-store, and it’s easy to see the Captain D’s difference. Customers notice it too, and that’s why we’ve had impressive system-wide AUV growth – up 27.9% over the past 7 years.

Now add in a store overhaul that is a lot more than a fresh coat of paint and a spruced-up entryway. Captain D’s has done away with the “Ahoy, matey” look of a wharf with netting and lures and has gone for a bright, welcoming feel. From the color palette to the décor, it’s like visiting a friend’s beach house for a nice, relaxing vacation.

And is it successful? Absolutely.

A large portion of our guests choose to dine in rather than use our drive-through window, something rare in the fast-casual industry. And because we offer “modified table service,” as Jason Henderson, Vice President of Product Innovation, likes to call it, one of our friendly staff brings the food to our guests when it’s ready. Guests enjoy real plateware, real silverware, and the chance to set up their table with condiments and sauces. It’s a full, sit-down meal experience at an affordable QSR price point — it’s why our guests linger and why they return.

Evolving menu piques consumer interest

Captain D’s has spent just as much time overhauling its menu as it has its physical locations. Our grilled menu is almost at 10 percent of sales with very little (if any) focused marketing efforts, and it’s rapidly increasing as a percentage of daily sales. We listened to what customers wanted, tested recipes and combinations to make sure they were up to our standards, and then put them on the menu.

Authentic Alaskan pollock at our seafood restaurant franchisesMenu development is another major differentiator for Captain D’s. We test thousands of dishes and combinations in our test kitchens, taking ideas from customers’ comment cards or website visits. We also hear about interesting combinations and concepts from our staff.

If something sounds good, we see if it looks and tastes good. And if it passes those tests, we see if it’s feasible for our restaurants — but we never put anything on the menu that imperils a franchise owner’s profit margin.

“Captain D’s firmly believes that high-quality, top-end seafood can be delivered in a way that guarantees an owner’s ability to make money and grow his or her enterprise.”

– Phil Greifeld, Captain D’s President and CEO

We’re in this together

Something else to know about Captain D’s is that unlike most franchisors, we are right out there with our franchise owners. We own half of the total restaurants in our chain, and we continue to open new stores alongside our franchise owners. We don’t ask our franchisees to make investments we won’t make ourselves. We’re growing and are doing it by both building our own stores and recruiting franchisees who also want to share in our future growth.

Why? Because we know a good opportunity when we see it, and we often want to capture a market so that Captain D’s can become a well-known local brand. We leverage these corporate stores in many ways.

For one, they can serve as test markets so when we roll out a new idea to franchise owners they know the product or concept has been fully vetted.

We also place corporate stores in markets between our franchise locations so that the brand has a presence across an entire region, as opposed to just one or two cities. This allows us to leverage our marketing efforts in print and television so that all locations benefit from a targeted ad buy.

These are some of the many reasons that Captain D’s wants to enter new cities and states. And again, we’re looking for owners who want to run a seafood restaurant franchise — and eventually several locations. Captain D’s has proven over our almost 50 years of operation that quality and customer service will always carry the day, and that innovation can keep a brand not only fresh, but growing, even during challenging economic times. We’re eager to speak with you and believe you’ll like what you hear.

To learn more, fill out the form on this page or call us at 866-955-1792.



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  • #1

    We're the number one seafood franchise in America

  • 500+

    Captain D's is the fast-casual seafood leader with restaurants in 21 states

  • 27.9%

    AUV Growth over the last 7 years

  • Captain D’s, the nation’s leading fast-casual seafood restaurant, announced today the opening of two new restaurants in

  • The nation’s leading fast casual seafood restaurant, announced today that Brad Reed has been promoted to chief

  • Captain D’s signs two new franchise development agreements to propel the brand’s growth in Texas. Captain D’s

  • Captain D’s was recently featured in QSRMagazine.com November 2017, By Danny Klein Like the seafood segment in