Captain D’s announced on September 11 the reopening of its franchised location in Frankfort, Kentucky just five months after construction was initiated. Located at 615 Versailles Rd., the Frankfort Captain D’s served local residents for more than 30 years before it was damaged in a fire in February 2018. The restaurant’s reopening today marks Captain D’s 38th Kentucky location as the brand continues its targeted growth throughout the state, with additional restaurants in Danville and Shelbyville slated to open before the end of this year.
The Captain D’s in Frankfort is owned and operated by experienced multi-unit operators Marty Johnson and Earl Smith of Nautical Restaurants, Inc. Johnson, who serves as president of Nautical Restaurants, Inc., began his career with Captain D’s in 1979 as a cook, eventually working his way up franchisee. His business partner, Earl Smith, joined the brand in 1990 as a general manager after spending a decade with Pizza Hut. The duo’s longtime background with the company and extensive experience in the foodservice industry has led them to become successful operators of five Captain D’s restaurants throughout the region. In addition to Frankfort, Johnson and Smith own additional locations in Radcliff and Elizabethtown, Kentucky, as well as in Columbus and Greenwood, Indiana.
“Throughout our rebuilding process, the leadership at Captain D’s assisted us every step of the way, providing invaluable support as we navigated everything from construction to retraining our staff. We would expect no less from the trusted brand considering that, between the two of us, we have been with Captain D’s for over 70 years,” says Earl Smith, Captain D’s multi-unit franchisee. “We could not feel more prepared to reopen our Frankfort location thanks to the team and are looking forward to our continued growth with the leading franchise concept.”
Captain D’s efficient rebuild process reflects the company’s commitment to innovation and unparalleled franchisee support, which has fueled its compounding success. The brand’s position as the leader of the fast casual seafood segment, paired with its strong unit economics has resulted in a surge of franchise development over the past several years. In 2018, Captain D’s achieved its highest average number of units signed since 2015 and has projected to open across new and existing markets like Mississippi, Georgia, North Carolina, Illinois, Michigan and Oklahoma over the next several years. The brand has maintained that momentum in the first half of this year, signing agreements to develop more than 25 additional restaurants in key markets, including Florida and Louisiana.
“Marty and Earl have been with our brand for many years, and they continue to trust our vision and remain eager to adapt with our innovations. As we continue to expand our footprint throughout Kentucky, we’re grateful to have dedicated and experienced franchisees like them, who have provided us with a strong foundation to support this ongoing growth,” says Brad Reed, chief development officer of Captain D’s. “We’re excited to reopen the doors of our Frankfort restaurant and serve the community here once again.”
Coupled with its ongoing menu innovation, Captain D’s credits its new restaurant beach design with contributing to the brand’s ongoing strong performance. To date, nearly 80 percent of all restaurants have been reimaged to the brand’s new vibrant, coastal design. With these efforts, Captain D’s has remained true to what it does best — serving high-quality seafood with warm hospitality at an affordable price in a welcoming atmosphere.