Captain D’s Targeting Growth in Key Markets Across the Country

Captain D's seafood franchise
From sunny Central Florida to scenic Northwest Arkansas, America’s seafood franchise hits all the high notes

The verdict is in: customers love Captain D’s quality seafood, our beach-inspired coastal design and the friendly hospitality that awaits each time they visit. Across the country, a new generation of loyal Captain D’s fans are discovering our iconic seafood franchise brand — and driving a tidal wave of new growth for our company.

With more than 500 restaurants in 21 states, Captain D’s high quality products, warm hospitality and unwavering commitment to innovation have driven our seafood franchise to the top of the QSR 50. The chain set average unit volume records in 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015, and we’ve posted 21 consecutive quarters of same-store sales growth. A legacy brand with an iconic identity and a multi-generational customer base, Captain D’s newly designed restaurants and innovative menu additions continue to drive a sales boom and attract new legions of loyal customers every day. The company is committed to continued growth in the underserved fast casual seafood market, and we’ve identified a number of key markets that are ripe for a Captain D’s operator.

“We are the segment leader in fast casual seafood dining,” says Steve Bielewicz, Captain D’s Senior Director of Franchise Development for the western U.S. “We know, based both on our analysis and the feedback we get from our customers, seafood is a growth industry. It’s healthy, it’s affordable, and it’s an alternative to beef, chicken and pizza.”  

At the same time, we’re an iconic brand that is beginning to push out beyond our core markets in the south and central U.S. There is a lot of room for growth in Captain D’s, and we’re setting our sights on key markets where the right operators will help take our brand to exciting new heights.

Central Florida’s tourism and retirement communities are a great match for Captain D’s franchise

With sunny skies and warm temperatures year-round, it’s no wonder Florida has become the destination for tourists and retirees alike. Driven by waves of new residents and year-round visitors, central Florida is booming — and so is Captain D’s.

One new operator is already on track to open three Captain D’s locations in the Orlando area in 2017, with the first restaurant set to open on Orange Blossom Trail, near shopping and tourist hotspots. Drawn by our diverse menu of healthy seafood and sides, both year-round residents and tourists alike flock to Captain D’s, explains Mark Levis, Senior Director of Franchise Development for the southeastern region.

“We attract a lot of business from tourism, and that’s why we’re really focused on opening more stores in the tourism corridor that runs across central Florida, through Orlando and Kissimmee,” Mark says. Our affordable menu is popular with seniors and traveling families, where individuals look to maximize their food dollars. “There’s no doubt the tourist traffic helps with our business, especially when you bring into play our $4.99 value meal deals and even those grilled items for under $8.99. Mom and Dad have to feed five or six people, and that fast casual segment is what they’re looking for, no doubt.”

Tourism and retirement communities aside, central Florida is home to more than 8 million full-time residents. That’s a lot of potential market for the right operators to grow into.

Captain D’s is booming in North Carolina and along the eastern seaboard

Jennifer Benjamin has a lot to be excited about. As the director of franchise development focused on the eastern seaboard, she’s got a ringside seat to our historic expansion there. North Carolina is no exception, and Jennifer knows that with 28 restaurants located in the Tar Heel state, Captain D’s is a well-established brand with a lot of room to grow — both in the number of stores and year-over-year sales growth.

In fact, Captain D’s isn’t just opening new stores. We’ve also posted 21 consecutive quarters of same-store sales increases, a record virtually unmatched in the QSR space. One of the key factors driving this consistent growth is the core values and steady leadership of both our corporate management team and the franchise partners who make our brand what it is.

“The leadership of our brand is so passionate and feels so strongly about the future and trajectory we are on. Commitment is a huge quality that we look for,” Jennifer says. “The focus and passion needs to be centered around customer service in general because that’s the way our business is successful. Captain D’s is a really great option for franchisees, especially in some of the more dense areas of the country that are overpopulated with chicken or burger brands. Their market share is basically oversaturated and our brand allows them to diversify.”

Because we don’t compete in the burger-chicken-pizza space, Captain D’s is the ideal franchise opportunity for experienced operators who are looking to add new stores to their operation but are, perhaps, built out in their primary brand.

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Heading west with Captain D’s seafood franchise

When it comes to pushing frontiers, Captain D’s is on the forefront. We’re paving new paths into the western U.S. by way of Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas — three areas where our brand is well-known but the seafood market is underserved. Steve believes that the market is perfect for operators who’ve been working in other brands for a while and are ready to expand their operations.

“Professional restaurant operators — individuals with 2 or 3 brands under their belt who are looking for a new brand — are reading the trade journals and they see this brand, out of Nashville, Tennessee, and how it’s posted 21 consecutive quarters of same-store sales growth,” Steve says. “It intrigues them and they do more research.”

That research leads them to the realization that seafood is an underserved market with loyal customers and a menu that hits all the high notes: healthy, sustainable, delicious, affordable and diverse.

Brand recognition and a thriving, proven business model amidst an unprecedented era of growth make now, more than ever, the right time to own a Captain D’s franchise.

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