Long John Silver’s will restructure its menu for the first time in nearly a decade, signaling one of its first major customer-facing moves since changing ownership 15 months ago.
The Louisville, Ky.-based chain of more than 1,300 quick-service restaurants is rolling out new menu boards that feature an upgraded shrimp product, more non-fried entrees and a wider variety of side dishes.
“As always, our goal is to continually improve the dining experience for our guests,” chief marketing officer Charles St. Clair said in a statement. “We feel certain that these new consumer enhancements have strengthened our menu for both our core and new customers by making it easier to navigate and providing more relevant menu choices.”
New entrees include Creamy Garlic Cod and Sweet and Zesty Asian Cod meals, as well as a new Shrimp Scampi. The chain’s signature hush puppies and tartar and cocktail sauces also have been upgraded, Long John Silver’s said.
New family meals will offer more side dishes, including creamy cole slaw, natural-cut fries, seasoned green beans and rice, sweet corn on the cob, or hand-cut and battered onion rings.
Until it was sold in September 2011  to a consortium of franchisees and investors called LJS Partners, the quick-service seafood chain had been a holding of Louisville-based Yum! Brands Inc., which operates and franchises KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell.
Yum had acquired Long John Silver’s and former sibling brand A&W All American Food in a $320 million purchase of the two chains’ former parent company, Yorkshire Global Restaurants, in 2002. Much of Long John Silver’s unit growth under Yum’s ownership involved joining KFC, Pizza Hut or Taco Bell in co-branded locations.
Terms of Yum’s 2011 divestiture of Long John Silver’s and A&W were not disclosed.
LJS Partners also said it would debut a new digital marketing campaign called “40 Ways to Say ‘That’s What I Like’” within the next two months to introduce the new menu. The “40 ways” title could refer to Lent, the 40-day religious observance period for Christians before Easter and a time of heavy advertising for seafood chains, which will run from Feb. 13 to March 30 this year.
Previously, the brand had partnered with Louisville-based agency Creative Alliance to launch its current “That’s What I Like” branding effort last October. LJS said it would use the campaign to track product mix performance, offer targeted promotions, and monitor feedback via digital and social media.
Long John Silver’s was founded in Lexington, Ky., in 1969.