Captain D’s saw sales drop nearly $3 million between 2010 and 2011, but the fast-casual seafood chain is now in the midst of six consecutive years of same-store sales growth since retooling the brand and adding healthier selections to the menu.
The 527-unit chain has more than tripled new store openings since 2015, adding 11 new locations in 2017 alone, with one more on the way.
Phil Greifeld, CEO of Captain D’s, said in an email interview that it took a companywide effort to put the Nashville, Tenn.-based Captain D’s back on an upward trajectory, and he specifically credited adding a fire-grilled menu platform, which he said was “well received by our guests.”
“We did extensive research around our guests’ insights and found that they wanted more balance in their menu choices,” Greifeld said.
While the restaurant’s less health-conscious items, such as batter-dipped fish, are still popular, he said that leaner options were a welcome addition.
“We launched our fire-grilled menu in 2013, which provided our guests with the variety they were looking for while still giving them the flavors they craved,” Greifeld added. Fire-grilled items include wild Alaskan salmon, tilapia, whitefish and shrimp skewers, among others.
“With the rollout of our grilled menu, our kitchens were equipped with a new proprietary broiler to support the innovation of this category,” Greifeld said. “We also brought in new kinds of fish and seafood specifically for grilled preparation that weren’t part of our core, fried menu offerings.”
The restaurant also paired its updated menu with a refreshed layout that included swapping out an old ship theme with what the company calls a “contemporary coastal look.”
Captain D’s is owned by New York-based private-equity firm Centre Partners Management LLC.
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