Captain D's earns Reuters' 'Turnaround of Year'
Captain D's earns Reuters' 'Turnaround of Year'

Buyouts magazine, published by Reuters, loves a great catch, which is why the publication selected Captain D’s as the 2014 “Turnaround of the Year.”

Captain D’s, led by chief executive Phil Greifeld, has come a long way in a short amount of time. By 2010, the economic recession had taken a toll o.....

Buyouts magazine, published by Reuters, loves a great catch, which is why the publication selected Captain D’s as the 2014 “Turnaround of the Year.”

Captain D’s, led by chief executive Phil Greifeld, has come a long way in a short amount of time. By 2010, the economic recession had taken a toll on the brand and pressured the spending habits of the fast-casual chain’s customers.

The turnaround began shortly after private-equity firm Sun Capital Partners acquired Captain D’s in May 2010. The following September, Greifeld, who was then the president and CEO of Atlanta-based Huddle House, became D’s new CEO.

Buyouts magazine noted that Greifeld surrounded himself with a proven team to oversee every aspect of the business, including operations, marketing, finance and product development.

Greifeld’s team redesigned the restaurant’s prototype décor to resemble a seaside destination. The “Beach Design” also includes new menu boards and back-of-the-house upgrades like new dinnerware and a newly reformulated equipment line.

In addition, the company added the “From the Grill” menu, which includes shrimp skewers, wild Alaskan salmon, shrimp scampi, seasoned tilapia, chicken breast, white fish, and a surf and turf offering of shrimp and beef skewers. Captain D’s also introduced a series of $4.99 meals that have been a hit with its customers.

The moves have paid off. For three straight years, Captain D’s has experienced record-breaking same-store sales, Greifeld said. That positive momentum has begun attracting several highly sought-after multiunit franchisees.

In March 2014, Michael Knobelock, a successful operator of dozens of Church’s Chicken and Little Caesars locations, became one of Captain D’s best signings. Knobelock signed on to build four Captain D’s in the Houston market and purchased two company-owned locations in Mississippi.

Increasing the number of franchise-owned locations is just part of Captain D’s growth plan. The seafood restaurant is also embarking on a new growth strategy that will increase the number of company-owned locations. It has been seven years since Captain D’s added on to its corporate-restaurant portfolio.

In September, Captain D’s will open its first location under the new corporate development program. The restaurant will be located in Five Points, Ala.

Since Sun Capital bought the restaurant chain, the firm has multiplied its original investment by nearly eight times, Buyouts magazine noted.

This year Captain D’s is celebrating its 45th Anniversary, and by all indications, Captain D’s will continue to get better with age.

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