Centre Partners Buys Captain D’s for Second Time, Hopes for Change

After selling the seafood chain Captain D’s in 2017, New York-based Centre Partners has acquired the restaurants chain for the second time – this time it hopes to scale up.

Centre Partners, a private equity firm with $2.5 billion of capital, bought the Nashville brand in 2013. They then sold Captain D’s to Sentinel Capital Partners in 2017, and are now re-purchasing. The terms of the deal were not disclosed. Captain D’s executive management will remain in their roles and have invested alongside Centre.

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Captain D’s hasn’t changed much since the first sale – system sales are up 4.4% since 2016 to $568 million, and unit count is up 4.1% to 536 restaurants. However, as 2022 progresses, Captain D’s Chief Executive Officer Phil Greifeld said that the company has an exciting opportunity to expand thanks to Centre Partners. In March, Greifeld announced that 14 restaurants are slated to open this year in Ohio, Texas, Tennessee, Georgia, and Florida. A few of these restaurants will be Captain D’s Express models, which boast a drive-thru and walk-up area. However, there’s no seating area for dining, and their menu items are limited.

“We continue to improve the customer experience with new menu offerings; streamlined digital, drive-thru, and delivery options; and an expanding geographic footprint,” Greifeld said in a press release. “We are excited to build upon these initiatives with Centre Partners."

These smaller, more compressed stores accelerate expansion while keeping costs low. More compact restaurants result in reduced expenditures on kitchen equipment, land plots, and dining furniture, said Chief Development Officer Brad Reed. Additionally, the stores will leverage digital technology to facilitate expediency. Reed said these facets will save the company “hundreds of thousands” in construction costs while still maintaining Captain D’s iconic imagery and food offerings.