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Description: At Captain D’s, quality and service have always gone hand-in-hand. It’s why our brand has done nothing but grow during the nearly 50 years we’ve been in business, and it’s why we are capturing a growing share of the fast-casual market today. Opportunities: Single, multi-unit opportunities available in: TX, OK, KS, MO, AR, LA, MS, AL, GA, SC, FL, TN, KY, NC, VA, WV, OH, IN, IL PA, NY, MD, NJ, WI, MI Business Type: Franchise. Minimum Cash Required: $350,000. Training Provided: Yes. SBA-Approved: Yes.

VIDEO

Captain D's Franchisees: Meet the McBrayers'

Captain D's Franchisees: Meet the McBrayers'

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Interview with Michael Arrowsmith: Chief Development Officer at Captain D’s

Captain D's Michael ArrowsmithCaptain D’s is an iconic family restaurant that has emerged as the seafood leader in the fast-casual space, closing out 2015 with an all-time system-wide average unit volume record. The seafood restaurant’s fresh new look and its revamped menu are targeting a need in the marketplace for high-quality, reasonably priced seafood. Captain D’s grew to be the most popular quick-service seafood family restaurant in the Southeast in the 1970s; today it is a refreshed, fast-casual brand that features high-quality grilled seafood, as well as the beloved batter-dipped fish that has been a menu staple from day one.

In this Success Stories interview, Captain D’s Chief Development Officer Michael Arrowsmith tells us how his brand is on an upward trajectory. We also learn what sets Captain D’s apart from its competition and what the business is looking forward to in the coming year.

Can you tell us about the history of Captain D’s?

We have always been a family-friendly restaurant, focused on top-notch customer service and a great value for consumers. The Captain D’s concept was launched in middle Tennessee as Mr. D’s Seafood and Hamburgers. It was a big hit with budget-conscious consumers, especially families with young children and senior citizens looking for a high-quality meal at a great price. The concept took off, and in less than five years we had expanded to 15 locations and officially changed our name to Captain D’s. The delicious fish and chips, shrimp and side dishes from our original menu are still some of our most popular items.

How has the revamped menu boosted sales?

We have systems in place for listening to our customers and monitoring their requests so we can continue to offer the highest-quality seafood at the best prices. More and more U.S. consumers are making healthier food choices, and the importance of regularly eating seafood as part of a heart-healthy diet is touted by many national health organizations, such as the American Heart Association. We have been integrating healthier grilled items into our menu, and health-conscious customers love the selection. We are also very proud to have a trained head chef on staff, Jason Henderson, who graduated from the Culinary Institute of America. Our D-Lite Meals are a big hit and feature delicious meals — all under 500 calories. They offer great value as well as variety, featuring tilapia, surf and turf, wild Alaskan salmon and shrimp skewers.

How are customers reacting to the restaurant redesign?

Captain D's FranchiseeCustomers are truly blown away by our refreshed look, which reminds them of a coastal vacation getaway. We have also revamped our dining experience with real silverware and plates, adding to the family-friendly ambience and great value of our menu. Every new store featuring our updated beach design has averaged or exceeded $1.4 million in sales*, creating an exciting opportunity for potential franchisees who want a simple way to gain entry into what we believe is the fast-casual space segment with the most to offer. We have about 80 more Captain D’s locations scheduled to be remodeled by the end of 2016, and the remodeled restaurants are getting rave reviews.

What kind of support should Captain D’s franchisees expect before, during and after their restaurant launch?

We strive to help our franchisees succeed from opening day and beyond. Captain D’s has more than 50 nationally certified training restaurants, which are company and franchise restaurants that have gone through a rigorous process to become qualified to train our future leaders. There is tremendous thought and organization behind each launch date, which is the last in a series of steps that have prepared the franchise owner, his or her staff, and the community for a new dining experience.

The training doesn’t stop, however, after the restaurant’s grand opening. We stay in constant contact with our franchisees to offer them support and guidance in running their restaurants in the most profitable and efficient manner possible. From information on new recipes that are being tested out in our corporate kitchens to upgraded systems and software for inventory control, training and support efforts are a continual two-way street between our corporate headquarters and our franchisees in the field.

What is the outlook for Captain D’s for the next year?

I can’t think of a more exciting time to join our brand. We closed out 2015 with the signing of seven new franchise development agreements, positioning us for another year of explosive growth in the fast-casual segment.

Captain D's Franchisees

What's next for Captain D’s in terms of expansion?

Our agenda for 2016 is to develop franchise and corporate-owned locations in our existing 22-state territory, where there is plenty of room for growth. We’ve actually expanded our Development team by adding two new Sales Directors and a Real Estate Director to help support our momentum. We're excited about new restaurants that have opened or are scheduled to open in areas already strong for our brand, such as Georgia, South Carolina and Alabama. We also have plenty of room for growth in other core markets such as Florida, North Carolina and Louisiana.

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