Captain D's

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Captain Ds, LLC.
Captain D's
FormerlyMr. D's Seafood and Hamburgers
Company typePrivate
GenreFast casual
FoundedAugust 15, 1969; 54 years ago (1969-08-15) in Donelson, Tennessee, U.S.
FounderRaymond L. Danner, Sr.
Key people
Phil Greifeld (President & CEO)
Nan Ward (COO)
Jeff Wilson (CFO)
Bindi Menon (CMO)
Brad Reed (CBDO)
RevenueIncrease US$544.43 million (2016)
OwnerCentre Partners
Number of employees

Captain Ds, LLC. is an American fast casual restaurant chain that specializes in seafood and is headquartered in Nashville, Tennessee. The chain was founded as Mr. D's Seafood and Hamburgers by Raymond L. Danner Sr. on August 15, 1969, in Donelson, Tennessee. The chain is currently owned by private-equity firm Centre Partners. Captain D's has more than 500 locations in the United States.[1][2]


Mr. D's Seafood and Hamburgers opened in 1969 after entrepreneur, owner of Danner Foods and KFC franchisee Raymond L. Danner Sr. was unable to expand the territory of his Shoney's Big Boy Restaurants franchise. The franchise was limited to 11 states in the Southeast. In 1971, Danner and his Shoney's co-founder Alex Schoenbaum completed a merger between Shoney's and Danner Foods and named their new company Shoney’s Big Boy Enterprises. In 1975, Danner was president of the company, which announced the renaming of Mr. D's Seafood and Hamburgers as "Captain D's" and the launch of a national franchising program. By this time, Captain D's menu was edited to focus on seafood and side dishes, and the chain had expanded to 32 locations that earned more than $10 million annually. In 1976, Captain D's was held by the rebranded Shoney's Inc., after Danner and Schoenbaum sold the Big Boy trademark to Marriott Corporation.[1][3][4][5][6][7][8][excessive citations]

Throughout the 1970s, the company grew rapidly and added special programs like the Kids' Birthday Club and children's comic books. During the 1980s and 1990s, the company's logo and building design evolved.[9]

On September 13, 2010, Phil Greifeld was appointed CEO of Captain D's.[10]

Throughout 2016, Captain D's experienced a surge of franchise and corporate development, with 13 new locations opened, along with numerous development agreements signed to open additional restaurants. This ongoing growth expanded the brand's presence, including in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, North Carolina, South Carolina, Michigan, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia.[11]

Racial discrimination lawsuit[edit]

In April 1989, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund filed a class-action lawsuit against Danner and more than 200 other Shoney's Inc. officials for allegedly implementing discriminatory policies against black people who sought employment or were then employed with Shoney's Inc. restaurants—Shoney's, Captain D's, Lee's Famous Recipe Chicken, Pargo's and the Fifth Quarter. Nine former employees and job applicants of Shoney's Inc. restaurants sought more than $500 million as well as an affirmative action plan authorized by the court to prevent discriminatory policies in the future. In November 1992, Captain D's was involved in the $105 million settlement of the racial discrimination case against then-parent company Shoney's Inc. and Danner agreed to contribute $65 million of the company's stock toward the settlement amount. The settlement was awarded to the more than 40,000 former, then-current and prospective restaurant employees who claimed they were discriminated against or were ordered to engage in discriminatory practices between February 1988 and April 1991.[12][13][14][15][16][excessive citations]


In January 2005, Sagittarius Brand, Inc. acquired Captain D's for $150 million. To gain capital, the holding company sold Captain D's to buyout firm Sun Capital Partners, Inc in 2010.[17][18][19]

After Spectrum Restaurant Group Inc. filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2006, Captain D's bought its restaurant chain Grandy's as a subsidiary.[20][21]

In 2013, Sun Capital Partners Inc. sold Captain D's to its affiliate, Centre Partners Management.[22]

In 2017, Centre Partners sold the chain to Sentinel Capital Partners.[23]


Captain D's offers fried fish, shrimp, lobster, crab and chicken meals, platters and sandwiches. The fish and shrimp options come grilled or fried. The appetizers include fried mozzarella sticks, jalapeño poppers, clam strips and butterfly shrimp. The side dishes include coleslaw, French fries, green beans, okra, broccoli, baked potato, corn, mac & cheese and hush puppies. The dessert menu includes cheesecake and funnel cake stix.[24]

In 2019, PepsiCo announced that it would partner with Captain D's as its only beverage supplier.[25]

As of 2021, Captain D's restaurants are sourced by 60 food suppliers.[26]


In 2020, Captain D's announced its Express prototype, a 960-square-foot building model with drive-thru and walkup windows only. The first Express unit was set to open in College Park, Georgia, in 2021.[27][28]

In 2021, Captain D's announced the debut of its double drive-thru in Tupelo, Mississippi.[29]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Our Story". Captain D's. Retrieved July 14, 2021.
  2. ^ Thorn, Bret (December 18, 2017). "Sentinel Capital Partners buys Captain D's". Nations Restaurant News. Retrieved November 29, 2019.
  3. ^ Edge, John T. (2017). The potlikker papers : a food history of the modern South 1955-2015. New York City: Penguin Publishing Group. p. 121. ISBN 9780698195875. Retrieved July 14, 2021.
  4. ^ Jakle, John A. (1999). Fast food : roadside restaurants in the automobile age. Baltimore. p. 238. ISBN 9780801869204. Retrieved July 14, 2021.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  5. ^ Miller, Stephen (September 13, 2018). "Hands-On Restaurateur Built Shoney's on Family-Style Food". Retrieved July 14, 2021.
  6. ^ "Founder of Shoney's Chain Started Small". Los Angeles Times. January 11, 1994. Retrieved July 15, 2021.
  7. ^ Cason, Albert (March 25, 1975). "Shoney's Launches Seafood Franchise". Nashville Business. The Tennessean. Nashville. p. 19. Retrieved July 14, 2021 – via
  8. ^ "FOOD, AMERICAN STYLE: SHONEY'S BUFFET SERVES UP CLASSIC FAMILY FARE". Orlando Sentinel. January 14, 1994. Retrieved July 16, 2021.
  9. ^ "Captain D's | Our Story". Retrieved April 23, 2018.
  10. ^ "Captain D's lands Huddle House CEO". August 24, 2010. Retrieved October 23, 2017.
  11. ^ "Captain D's Franchise Achieves 20th Consecutive Quarter of System-Wide Growth". Captain D's. October 3, 2016. Archived from the original on October 24, 2017. Retrieved October 23, 2017.
  12. ^ "NAACE LDEF/Sues Shoney's". Black Enterprise. August 1989. Retrieved July 16, 2021.
  13. ^ Watkins, Steve (2012). The black O : racism and redemption in an American corporate empire. Athens [Georgia]: University of Georgia Press. pp. 4–5. ISBN 9780820344034. Retrieved July 14, 2021.
  14. ^ Smothers, Ronald (January 31, 1993). "Bias case settlement compels Shoney's to aid blacks". The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved July 16, 2021.
  15. ^ "Shoney's to Pay $105 Million to Settle Discrimination Lawsuit". Associated Press News. November 3, 1992. Retrieved July 16, 2021.
  16. ^ Duke, Lynne (February 5, 1993). "SHONEY'S BIAS SETTLEMENT SENDS $105 MILLION SIGNAL". Washington Post. Retrieved July 16, 2021.
  17. ^ "Captain D's owner brings in new CEO". Nashville Post. January 26, 2005. Retrieved July 16, 2021.
  18. ^ Al-Muslim, Aisha; Cooper, Laura (December 3, 2020). "Friendly's Owner Hastens Exit From Restaurants With String of Sales". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved July 14, 2021.
  19. ^ "Sagittarius Sells Captain D's, Divests Del Taco". Blue Maumau. May 21, 2010. Retrieved July 16, 2021.
  20. ^ Hirsch, Jerry; Colker, David (August 30, 2006). "Troubled Spectrum Files for Chapter 11". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 16, 2021.
  21. ^ "Captain D's Acquires 65-Unit Grandy's". Hospitality Technology. Retrieved July 15, 2021.
  22. ^ Kreutzer, Laura (December 18, 2017). "Centre Partners More Than Triples Its Money on Captain D's Sale". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved July 15, 2021.
  23. ^ Thorn, Bret (December 18, 2017). "Sentinel Capital Partners buys Captain D's". Nations Restaurant News. Retrieved November 29, 2019.
  24. ^ "The Menu". Captain D's. Retrieved July 15, 2021.
  25. ^ "The Nation's Leading Fast Casual Seafood Restaurant Captain D's Selects PepsiCo As Exclusive Beverage Provider to Help Usher in a New Era on Its 50th Golden and Crispy Anniversary" (Press release). Purchase, NY and Nashville, TN, USA. May 21, 2019. Retrieved July 15, 2021.
  26. ^ "CMX to Drive Food Quality and Safety Across Captain D's Global Supply Chain". Restaurant Dive. Retrieved July 15, 2021.
  27. ^ "Captain D's 'Express' model reduces start-up costs". Fast Casual. November 11, 2020. Retrieved July 15, 2021.
  28. ^ Lalley, Heather (December 4, 2020). "FAST CASUALS RE-IMAGINE THEIR FUTURES". Restaurant Business. Retrieved July 15, 2021.
  29. ^ "Capt D's debuts double drive-thru". Restaurant Business. December 4, 2020. Retrieved July 15, 2021.