Captain D’s is charting a new course into the Northeastern United States and Canada with franchise development agreements signed over the last several months in New York, New Jersey and Toronto. Amid a third consecutive year of same-store sales growth for the nation’s leading fast casual seafood restaurant, additional driving forces behind Captain D’s accelerated momentum include continued growth for existing franchisees, market-smart real estate prototypes and the brand’s expertise in converting vacant properties. 

“We’re setting sail into new waters and have welcomed some incredibly talented business owners to the Captain D’s brand to lead our introduction to new regions,” says Brad Reed, chief development officer of Captain D’s. “They recognize the limitless potential of our unique seafood positioning in the fast casual segment and are ready to help us expand our horizons. It’s also been gratifying to see several of our longtime franchisees grow their portfolios with us, capitalizing on our continued innovation and operational efficiency.”   

In October, Captain D’s announced the signing of its first franchise development agreement in the Greater New York City area. That agreement will bring three Captain D’s to the city and was quickly followed by new franchisees signing on to develop in New Jersey. Most recently, the brand announced its first-ever franchise development agreement in Canada, which will bring five Captain D’s restaurants to the Greater Toronto Metropolitan Area. 

The company has also been expanding its pipeline with legacy franchisees who are growing the brand’s roots in the South. Chris Benner and Tim Stokes of Trident Holdings, LLC, who have 56 total restaurants across eight Southeastern states and are the largest franchisees in the system, converted existing properties to Captain D’s this year in Georgia and Mississippi. Nufish, LLC, led by Operating Partner Joe Springer has continued to spearhead development in Tennessee, Mississippi and Arkansas as the second-largest franchise owners. The Nufish group currently operates 19 locations and has 10 more under agreement, with three openings on track for the first half of 2024.  

“Captain D’s has best-in-class operators who want to diversify their portfolios and are attracted to the market-smart real estate prototypes we have developed,” adds Reed. “We now have Express, 22- and 44-seat designs, as well as a double drive-thru that is shortening wait times and increasing efficiency. Add to that our expertise in converting vacant properties, which helps franchisees save significantly on start-up costs and get up and running faster to serve their guests.” 

In 2023, half of the company’s new restaurant openings were conversions, giving new life to former Huddle House, Bojangles, Dunkin’, KFC and Hardee’s properties. In total, Captain D’s is now the second generation in former locations of 18 different brands, with more conversions planned for 2024. 

Captain D’s is consistently recognized among the franchising and foodservice industries’ most prestigious accolades, such as ranking as the seafood category leader in Entrepreneur magazine’s highly competitive Franchise 500 ranking for three years in a row. 

With more than 530 restaurants in 23 states, Captain D’s is the fast-casual seafood leader and number one seafood franchise in America ranked by average unit volume. The company is currently seeking single- and multi-unit operators to join in the brand’s rapid expansion. 

Fast Casual, Franchising, Growth, News, Captain D's