Captain D's

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Captain D’s
Industry Fast casual restaurant
Founded August 15, 1969 in Donelson, Tennessee, U.S.
Headquarters Nashville, Tennessee, U.S.
Number of locations
Key people
Phil Greifeld (President & CEO)
Number of employees
Parent Centre Partners

Captain D’s is a U.S.-based chain of fast casual restaurants specializing in seafood. Captain D’s serves a wide variety of seafood that includes freshly prepared entrees and the company’s signature hand batter dipped fish, which is freshly prepared. The restaurants also offer premium-quality grilled items such as shrimp and salmon, as well as hush puppies, desserts and freshly brewed Southern-style sweet tea.


The first Captain D’s restaurant opened in Donelson, Tennessee, on August 15, 1969. Known originally as Mr. D’s Seafood and Hamburgers, Captain D’s changed its company name to Captain D’s Seafood in 1974 to focus more exclusively on its classic fish and chips, shrimp and side dishes.

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.[1]

On September 13, 2010, Phil Greifeld was appointed CEO of Captain D’s.[2] Captain D’s began its store renovation program in 2012, rolling out a new vibrant, coastal design designed to enhance the Captain D’s experience for guests. That same year, the brand launched its $4.99 Full Meal Deals, famous fish and seafood options expertly crafted and designed around flavors Captain D’s customers crave.[3]

In 2013, the brand launched a new grilled menu featuring items like grilled salmon and shrimp skewers, as well as a new 3-D kids program, a range of kids’ meal offerings featuring a “fun pack” full of 3-D glasses, reading materials and other items.[4]

Captain D’s posted an all-time high for average unit volume for the second year in a row in 2014, attributing its success to its ongoing menu innovation and restaurant redesign. 31 franchised restaurants were remodeled and locations nationwide saw significant growth in the grilled menu sales since adding the lower calorie option.[5]

Captain D’s achieved record-breaking success in 2015, driven by its seafood expertise and product innovation, with the introduction of new menu items including the Parmesan Crusted Tilapia, Homestyle Fish Tenders, and Creamy Shrimp Scampi, all supported by the company’s award-winning “For the Love of D’s” television campaign.[6]

The leading fast casual seafood restaurant chain has successfully leveraged its ongoing success to propel its franchise and corporate growth, expanding its presence in communities nationwide. 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 in states nationwide, including Florida, South Carolina, Texas, Georgia, Illinois, Tennessee, Alabama, Arkansas and Virginia.[7]

In 2017 Captain D’s introduced Dave and Desmond, also known as the D-Gulls. The D-Gulls are two super fans on the quest for “The Taste of the Coast.”[8]

Today, Captain D’s is the nation’s #1 fast casual seafood restaurant. It is headquartered in Nashville, Tennessee and has over 500 restaurants in 21 states across the U.S.

Awards & Rankings[edit]

In 2013, The Nashville Post named Greifeld CEO of the Year, an annual title given to a leading chief executive officer in the Nashville area.[9] In 2016, Captain D’s ranked the #1 in the seafood segment of the QSR 50, the annual ranking by QSR magazine that gives an inside look at the top 50 brands in quick service and fast casual.[10]

In recognition of its ongoing franchise development and successful franchise recruitment practices, Captain D’s placed first in Best Overall Performance at the 2016 STAR Awards hosted by Franchise Update.[11] Each year, Captain D’s inducts its top franchise owners into its prestigious President’s Club at the annual convention.[12]

Captain D’s was featured on the cover of QSR magazine’s July 2017 issue and included as a Best Franchise Deal.[13]

Captain D’s was ranked #90 on Nation’s Restaurant News 2017 Top 100 report.[14] 

In August 2017, QSR released The 2017 QSR 50, an annual report of the most successful limited-service companies in America. Captain D’s was ranked #49 and was the only fast casual seafood restaurant to make the ranking.[15]    


  1. ^
  2. ^ "". Retrieved 2017-10-23.  External link in |title= (help)
  3. ^
  4. ^ mary (2013-02-20). "Captain's Turns its Ship Around". QSR magazine. Retrieved 2017-10-23. 
  5. ^ "Captain D's Announces Record 2014". Captain D's. 2015-10-23. Retrieved 2017-10-23. 
  6. ^ "Captain D's Achieves Record-Breaking Success in 2015 and Signs Seven New Franchise Development Agreements in Q4 - Captain D's". Captain D's. 2016-01-27. Retrieved 2017-10-23. 
  7. ^ "Captain D's Franchise Achieves 20th Consecutive Quarter of System-Wide Growth". Captain D's. 2016-10-03. Retrieved 2017-10-23. 
  8. ^ D's, Captain. "Captain D's introduces the D-Gulls, two super fans who are on a quest for a taste of the coast!". Retrieved 2017-10-23. 
  9. ^ "CEO of the Year: The flying fish at Captain D's | Nashville Post". Nashville Post. Retrieved 2017-10-23. 
  10. ^ tory (2016-08-02). "The QSR 50 Seafood Segment". QSR magazine. Retrieved 2017-10-23. 
  11. ^ "STAR Awards 2016 Top Winners Honored for Best Recruitment Practices". Retrieved 2017-10-23. 
  12. ^ "Captain D's Top Franchise Owners Honored at Annual Convention". Captain D's. 2016-09-20. Retrieved 2017-10-23. 
  13. ^ "QSR July 2017". Retrieved 2017-10-23. 
  14. ^ "2017 Top 100: Restaurant chain countdown, No. 100 to No. 51". Nation's Restaurant News. 2017-06-28. Retrieved 2017-10-23. 
  15. ^ tory (2017-08-01). "The QSR 50". QSR magazine. Retrieved 2017-10-23.