Long John Silver's
|Founded||August 18, 1969|
Lexington, Kentucky, United States
|Headquarters||Louisville, Kentucky, United States|
Number of locations
|Blain Shortreed (CEO)
Stephanie Mattingly (CMO)Craig Daniel (CFO)
Number of employees
Long John Silver's (formerly known as Long John Silver's Seafood Shoppes and sometimes abbreviated as LJS) is an American chain of fast-food restaurants that specializes in seafood. The brand's name is derived from the novel Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson, in which the pirate Long John Silver is one of the main characters.
The first restaurant opened on August 18, 1969, in Lexington, Kentucky. The original location, on 301 Southland Drive just off Nicholasville Road, was previously a seafood carry-out restaurant named the Cape Codder. The original Cape Codder concrete block building was redesigned by architect Druce Henn, who created the New England style of Long John Silver's early chain restaurants. That original location is now a styling salon.
Earlier restaurants were known for their Cape Cod style buildings, blue roofs with square cupolas, wood benches/tables, lobster pots, and ship's wheels. Later, more nautically-themed decorations were added such as seats made to look like nautical flags.
Those early restaurants also featured separate entrance and exit doors, a corridor-like waiting line area, deep fryers with food heaters that were transparent so customers could see the food waiting to be served, and wrought iron 'sword' door handles. A major exterior theme of these buildings had dock-like walkways, lined with pilings and thick ropes.
Somewhat newer restaurants retained the basic structural design and theme but eliminated most of the interior features. Its parent company, Jerrico was taken private in 1989, through a highly leveraged management buyout, and one year later, the other restaurant concepts were divested in order to focus on Long John Silver's.
After struggling for the next several years under its heavy debt load, Jerrico Inc. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in June 1998. In September 1999, A&W announced to acquire the chain out of bankruptcy, as a result, a new company called Yorkshire Global Restaurants has been formed.
The parent company of Long John Silver's and A&W, Yorkshire was acquired by Tricon Global and Tricon was renamed to Yum! Brands, Inc in May 2002, but by January 2011, Yum! announced it was looking for a buyer for its Long John Silver's and A&W All-American Restaurants divisions, citing poor sales and a desire to transfer more of its focus to international expansion.
In September 2011, Yum! announced the impending sale of Long John Silver's to LJS Partners – a group consisting of franchisees and other private investors.
In July 2013, the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a nutrition and health policy watchdog group, named Long John Silver's "Big Catch" meal the worst restaurant meal in America, noting that it contained 33 grams of trans fat, 19 grams of saturated fat, 1,320 calories, and almost 3,700 milligrams of sodium. The company announced that it had eliminated trans fats from its menu, by January 2014.
In March 2015, James O'Reilly, who had previously worked for KFC (another Yum! Brands holding), was appointed as the CEO. He stated that he expected the chain to maintain its 1,132 stores, refocus its marketing following negative press about the fat and sodium content of the menu, and looked to the possibility of future expansion.
On May 22, 2018, Long John Silver's announced the acquisition of seventy-six franchised restaurants, primarily owned and renovated by ServUS, located primarily in Indiana. On October 19, 2019, Warren W. Rosenthal, former president of Jerrico and developer of 1,350 Long John Silver's restaurants, died, aged 96.
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