Captain D’s to open 15 new locations; launching new ‘Express’ format

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Captain D’s to open 15 new locations; launching new ‘Express’ format

By Marianne Wilson - 02/11/2021

Captain D’s is looking to expand its footprint via a new format.

The fast-casual seafood chain will open 15 restaurants in 2021, including locations in Florida, Texas, and Utah. Captain D’s also signed five franchise development agreements to bring 17 new restaurants to key markets such as the Dallas-Fort Worth and Atlanta metro areas during the next several years.

Captain D’s operates more than 530 restaurants, of which more than half are company-owned. The company is launching a new prototype called Express that has a significantly smaller footprint — 900 sq. ft. — than its standard 44-seat, 1,964-sq.-ft. model. Scheduled to debut in the second quarter of 2021, in the Atlanta metro area, the new format features a drive-thru and walk-up windows for ordering and picking up, with are no indoor dining. 

The restaurant chain is looking to develop Express restaurants in population-dense metropolitan areas with higher levels of foot traffic. It plans to open two to four location per year for the next three years.

“Long before the pandemic and subsequent social distancing mandates, we were intently listening to our guests and closely following evolving real estate trends, all which led to the development of our Express prototype,” said Phil Russo, VP of real estate for Captain D's.

“Pre-COVID-19, 70% of our sales were generated by off-premises dining – 50% drive-thru and 20% takeout – and those numbers have held strong over the past several months, only reinforcing the need and viability of Express' design.”

Captain D’s opened 10 restaurants in 2020 across the Southeast and Midwest in 2020, which included entering its 23rd state, Michigan.

"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," said Phil Greifeld, president and CEO of Captain D's. "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."