What is in this article?:
- Captain D's CEO talks sale
- New look, new food
Greifeld said the transistion to new ownership will be easy for customers
Phil Greifeld, CEO of Captain D’s Seafood Restaurants
Seafood Restaurants is soon to have new ownership, but chief executive Phil Greifeld said the transaction would be seamless for guests.
Boca Raton, Fla.-based private-equity firm Sun Capital Partners recently announced an agreement to sell Captain D’s to New York-based Centre Partners. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Centre Partners will be moving forward with a brand that is in the midst of a notable turnaround.
Under Sun Capital’s ownership, the 527-unit chain has recorded about nine consecutive quarters of same-store sales increases, and Greifeld said comparable sales have risen 4.3 percent year to date despite industrywide trends that show consumers pulling back on spending.
Greifeld spoke with Nation’s Restaurant News on Thursday about Captain D’s turnaround and innovations yet to come.
What will the change in private-equity ownership mean for Captain D’s?
Captain D’s primary focus, day in and day out, will continue to be on our core value, and that is to constantly heighten the guest experience. Whether that means something operational — or in execution, product innovation, marketing campaigns or food quality and consistency — we will continue to focus on what has made this brand so successful over these past three years.
What are Captain D’s plans for growth?
Clearly we’ll be looking to sustain the success. In 2011, we saw the first same-store sales increase in seven years. In 2012, we established record same-store sales comps of 8.4 percent, and we established new franchise average unit volume records. In 2013, we are up 4.3 percent in same-store sales so far this year. With the 8.4-percent increase last year, on a two-year comp basis, we have double-digit comps of 12.7 percent. So our strategy will be to sustain that robust momentum, and we’re confident we can do that.
What are the plans for unit growth next year?
We’ll open two to three company-owned units in 2014, and franchisees will probably open four to six, then we’ll start ratcheting up from there. We just launched a franchising initiative, so it’s our first year of growth in a long time. We feel pretty good about that.
The brand had not been franchising for a long, long time. We’re laying the groundwork to cultivate more growth throughout our existing franchise base, as well as with new franchisees. We plan to add new company units as well.
Last year, we opened a new unit in Georgia that has shown average unit volumes of $1.5 million. We have another couple under construction right now — all franchise units — and we are enthused that, as our highly attractive franchise model becomes more known in the franchise community, people will be taking advantage of our strong brand and strong unit-level economics.