Captain D's brings on first development chief

Chain also promotes exec to COO after EVP's exit

Restaurant operator Captain D's has hired a veteran development executive who used to work at rival chain Checker's as it preps a big push into franchising.

Michael Arrowsmith, pictured here, comes to Captain D's from franchise consulting firm NSI. Before that, he was senior vice president of development at Checker's and also worked at Gloria Jean's Gourmet Coffee, Shoney's and Denny's. He is the first-ever chief development officer at Captain D's, which runs about 530 restaurants in more than two dozen states.

"Michael brings to Captain D's a vast knowledge of franchise sales experience, a strong understanding of how to develop and cultivate target markets and the wherewithal to implement successful strategies throughout an entire system," said Phil Greifeld, CEO of Captain D's.

Greifeld has set growing his team's store base via franchising as one of his top 2013 priorities. Since taking over in the fall of 2010, he has rebuilt the company's executive team and boosted unit-level economics and sales growth. In 2012, annual unit volume at the company's restaurants was about $920,000, up from a 2010 recession trough of $830,000 and about $870,000 in 2007. Now, armed with a new store prototype (see image below), he is casting the company's net for multi-unit restaurant operators to join his franchise system.

Separately, Greifeld has tapped Jim Stevens to be Captain D's first chief operations officer. Stevens came on board at the Grassmere-based company two years ago as VP of operations. In his new role, Stevens essentially takes over from former EVP Mike Lippert, who has left the company after a little more than two years. Stevens also joined Captain D's in 2011 and previously was a regional executive at Arby's Restaurant Group.