In expansion mode, Captain D’s sets sights on the coast

For the first time in a century or two, an invading buccaneer has set his sights on the Gulf Coast: The Captain D’s seafood restaurant chain has announced plans for four new sites – with more to follow – in the Mobile-Pensacola area.

While the area certainly has no shortage of seafood options, the Nashville-based company sees it as fertile ground well suited to an overall growth trend. According to information provided by the company, a “surge in franchise development has fueled Captain D’s ongoing success, achieving six consecutive years of same-store sales increases and four successive years of record high system-wide average unit volume.” The company reports having 521 restaurants in 21 states.

Captain D’s has dozens of restaurants scattered across Alabama, with major concentrations in the Huntsville and Birmingham areas. Online sources indicate there are three stores in Mobile, none in Baldwin County and four in the Pensacola area. The new Mobile-Penscacola stores will be developed by franchisees Sam and Gus Abusaleem of GSA Food Group. According to Captain D’s, “After developing their initial four locations, the partners plan to continue expanding within their territory and opening more Captain D’s restaurants throughout the Mobile region.”

An industry report from 2012 said that seafood chains such as Long John Silver’s and Captain D’s had struggled during the preceding recession, but that observers thought fast-casual seafood was ripe for a rebound because of consumers’ belief that seafood was a healthy dining option. In recent years Captain D’s has added grilled meals to a menu previously dominated by fried foods, and also developed a new beach-themed store design.

The company’s franchise information page goes so far as to state that “We believe that seafood franchises today have an opportunity similar to that of chicken franchises in the 1970s.” CEO Phil Greifeld says on the company site that he sees “room for thousands of Captain D’s…

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