Captain D’s, the nation’s leading fast casual seafood restaurant, announced the signing of its first franchise development agreement in the greater New York City area. This agreement will bring three Captain D’s to the city led by experienced multi-brand franchisees Kelly Moughal and Muhammad Saleem, who first introduced the Checkers brand to Manhattan. The couple resides in New York and also owns multiple Subway and Little Caesars locations throughout the state.  

“Captain D’s is thrilled to enter the greater New York City market, and we could not have found a better franchising team to do that with,” says Brad Reed, chief development officer of Captain D’s. “Kelly and Muhammad have built an impressive portfolio of businesses and real estate throughout New York. Experts at growing high-volume restaurants, they already pioneered one brand’s entrance into Manhattan. Their in-depth knowledge of the market and connections to real estate developers will serve them and Captain D’s very well.”  

Saleem immigrated from Pakistan in 1981 and began franchising in 1989. After their marriage in 2001, Moughal joined him in the franchising business and brought with her over a decade of business operations experience with the 7-Eleven Corporation. The two have won multiple sales awards with their restaurant brands, building some of the highest-achieving locations in those systems.  

“With its unique proposition in seafood, Captain D’s is the perfect complement to our current portfolio,” says Kelly Moughal. “Muhammad and I were also attracted to the brand’s strong unit economics and the fact that this company team has skin in the game with over half of their restaurants company-owned. We have built our business on a strong foundation of values and ethics that we follow on a daily basis, and we see those same values shared by Captain D’s.”   

Sites are currently being considered throughout Manhattan and Long Island, with the first location expected to open in late 2024. The design of the New York City-area Captain D’s will be customized for each site’s considerations and will cater to the demands of an urban market with limited space and increased foot traffic.  

This agreement comes at a time of great momentum for the seafood brand, which has developed a robust lineup of restaurant prototypes – including a drive-thru/pick up-only Express model – designed to adapt to the increasingly competitive real estate market and provide franchisees with flexibility and substantial cost savings.  

“At Captain D’s, we have developed multiple real estate options to best serve the community and our franchisees. Whether that’s converting an existing restaurant property, building a double drive-thru with a 44-seat dining room or our sleek Express unit with no dining room, we are meeting the demands of an ever-evolving market. In the greater New York City area, we will have an opportunity to capitalize on the efficiencies we’ve created with Express and pursue smaller footprints with no drive-thru,” adds Reed.   

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