Captain D's, the nation's leading fast casual seafood restaurant, announced the launch of a new restaurant prototype called Express, featuring a significantly smaller footprint than its traditional models. The unveiling of this newest prototype reemphasizes the brand's longstanding commitment to innovation and unwavering dedication to its franchisees. Over the past several years, Captain D's has heavily invested in real estate innovation, developing a robust lineup of restaurant prototypes – ranging from a 22-seater to a 62-seater – all intentionally designed to adapt to the increasingly competitive real estate market, as well as provide franchisees with flexibility and substantial cost savings. The first Captain D's Express is slated to open in the Atlanta metro area in Q2 2021.
Captain D's Express is designed to fit within .35-.5-acre land parcels in metropolitan areas with high population densities. Compared to the brand's standard 44-seat, 1,964-square-foot model, Express features an average footprint of 960 square feet and comes complete with a drive-thru and walk-up windows for ordering and picking up; there are no indoor dining rooms. The new prototype's design reflects extensive guest feedback showcasing an increased demand for enhanced drive-thru and takeout options, as well as Captain D's overall goal to provide franchisees with flexibility to develop the restaurant footprint best suited for their markets. Because of its compact footprint, Express models can reduce start-up costs for franchisees by as much as 32%.
"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. 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," said Phil Russo, vice president of real estate for Captain D's. "In the months and years that lie ahead and the inevitable changes to come, we're proud to offer both existing and prospective franchisees another flexible prototype option to help meet their individual needs, as well as grow our presence in untapped markets."
The first Captain D's Express will be owned and operated by existing multi-unit franchisee, Anil Dossani, and is projected to open in Q2 2021 in Atlanta's College Park neighborhood. As part of his franchise agreement signed earlier this year, Dossani will develop two more Express units in the Atlanta metro area in the coming years. Dossani has been a Captain D's franchisee since 2018 and has two existing locations in Acworth and Norcross, Georgia. Prior to joining the brand, he and his business partner, Ali Dossani, were owners and operators of Steak 'n Shake franchises.
"Since joining Captain D's only two years ago, Ali and I have been eager to continue growing with the brand given the tremendous success we've achieved with our first two locations that we opened within a year of each other. When we learned that there was an opportunity to bring the brand into the metro area of Atlanta and grow our market share, we jumped at the chance," said Anil Dossani. "Captain D's has been an incredible franchisor, providing us with unparalleled support since we signed our first agreement; we couldn't be more thrilled to further develop our portfolio and bring the first Express locations to the greater Atlanta area."