Captain D’s expanding, adding new format despite COVID-19 challenges | SeafoodSource

Captain D’s expanding, adding new format despite COVID-19 challenges

Despite the myriad challenges that COVID-19 has caused restaurant operators, Captain D’s plans to open several new restaurants in 2021.

The Nashville, Tennessee, U.S.A.-based operator of more than 540 restaurants plans to open 15 new locations this year, including new restaurants in Texas and Florida. The brand will also open its first-ever location in Utah later this year, making entry into its 24th state.

Last year, Captain D’s opened 10 new restaurants across the U.S. Midwest and Southeast. It also signed five franchise development agreements throughout 2020 to bring 17 new restaurants to key markets such as the Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas, and Atlanta, Georgia metro areas over the next several years.

The chain is continuing to advance its expansion plans despite challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic, and those interested in selling seafood to Captain D’s must demonstrate value when pitching new products and species to the restaurant chain, Captain D’s Chief Supply Chain Officer Brad Clark said.

“[We’re] always looking to offer our customers high-quality and great-tasting seafood at a fair price,” Clark said.

Captain D’s plans to launch some new products this year, while maintaining a focus on its core menu items, Clark said.

“Our mission is to be the industry leader, and innovator, in seafood. To that end, our development and supply-chain teams continue to look for new products in the marketplace but will also remain focused on our signature battered dipped fish, butterfly shrimp, grilled items, and fantastic side items,” Clark said.

Unlike many other chains, Captain D’s decided not to add any menu items for this year’s Lenten season, the restaurant chain is featuring its Southern-Style Fish Tenders and Butterfly Shrimp in a variety of different plates through 25 April.

Despite the challenges caused by the pandemic, the restaurant chain continues to open restaurants, with a focus on smaller formats. In November, Captain D's unveiled its “Express” restaurant prototype, which has a significantly smaller footprint than its traditional models, consisting solely of drive-through and walk-up windows for ordering and picking up. Over the years, the brand has also developed a lineup of flexible restaurant prototype options for its franchisees. They include 62-, 44- and 22-seat footprints “intentionally designed to cater to the demographics of varied markets and available land parcels, while providing turnkey development solutions to its franchisees,” the company said.

"As a legacy brand established over 50 years ago, economic disruptions are nothing new to Captain D's. While 2020 brought unprecedented challenges with the pandemic, we were able to draw on five decades of history and experience to quickly pivot and mobilize, all while remaining committed to our company teams, franchisees, and loyal guests," Captain D's President and CEO Phil Greifeld said. ”Looking back, I'm so proud of our resilience and all that we accomplished together, which has laid the foundation for tremendous growth in the years to come.”

Photo courtesy of Captain D’s