Captain D’s signed franchise agreements to open at least 14 new restaurants since December 2014. This growth comes on the heels of an incredibly successful 2014 in which the brand signed agreements to open over 35 new restaurants, opened its first new corporate location in a decade, and generated half a billion dollars in system-wide sales. With these new signings, Captain D’s will expand its presence in Tennessee, Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, Kentucky, and South Carolina.
Among the new franchisee partners are Edward Stokes and Chris Benner, who bring a combined six decades of restaurant and operations experience to Captain D’s. In addition to signing a development agreement for four new locations in Johnson City, Kingsport, and Bristol, Tennessee, and Abingdon, Virginia, Stokes and Benner also purchased four existing Captain D’s restaurants in Tennessee and Virginia. They expect their first new restaurant to open within the next 12 months.
“The tremendous growth and accomplishments our brand has achieved over the past year is resonating with prospective franchisees,” says Michael Arrowsmith, Captain D’s chief development officer. “Last year brought record-breaking AUV growth, our fourth consecutive year of same-store sales growth and, to top it off, Captain D’s restaurants across the country achieved phenomenal sales results, catapulting us to the half a billion in system-wide sales mark. We look forward to continuing this success as we enter the second quarter, and are eager to bring new qualified franchisees into the D’s family.”
The brand also welcomed Kentucky-based Dean Turner, Jim Azbill and Chuck Conley to the Captain D’s family. This team of experienced entrepreneurs will bring three new restaurants to Berea, Georgetown, and Danville, Kentucky within the next three years. Additionally, new franchisee team Affak Pathan and Shamana Patel will bring the seafood fast casual concept to Kennesaw, Georgia. They’ll develop additional locations in the suburbs of Atlanta over the next several years.
Existing Captain D’s franchisees have also signed on to open new restaurants, including Phillip Harris, who has been a franchisee since 2004 and currently has a restaurant in Durham, North Carolina. Harris will add a second to his portfolio with the opening of a Fuquay-Varina, North Carolina restaurant in the next year. Captain D’s veterans J.R. and Thomas Fulbright have been franchisees since 1978 and currently have five restaurants across Tennessee and North Carolina. They signed on to develop a sixth location in Maryville, Tennessee, which is slated to open in the next year. Partners Steve Cochran and Glenn Woodrum have signed an agreement to open three Captain D’s restaurants in the Columbia, South Carolina market, in addition to their seven existing locations in the area; the first new restaurant is projected to open this fall. Furthermore, Les Stallworth, an existing franchisee with one restaurant currently operating in Monroeville, Alabama, has also signed an agreement to develop a second location in Montgomery, Alabama set to open at the end of the year.
With 513 restaurants in 26 states, Captain D’s is the number one seafood franchise in America ranked by average unit volume and new restaurants are averaging $1.6 million in sales. Captain D’s recently unveiled a new design featuring a vibrant coastal atmosphere and upgraded the dining experience with plate ware and silverware. A revamped menu was also launched, featuring better-for-you, fire-grilled options like Tilapia, Surf and Turf, Wild Alaskan Salmon, and Shrimp Skewers, made possible from the recent installation of the new grilling system, which is proprietary to Captain D’s and has flames from both the bottom and the top to ensure quality and quick grilling. 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.
To further fuel development, Captain D’s will be exhibiting at the Multi-Unit Franchising Conference April 8–10 at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas. Multiunit franchisee prospects are invited to meet with the brand’s franchise development team at Booth #314 to learn more about growth opportunities across the country, specifically in the Southeast and Midwest.