Report: Captain D's on the block

Florida owner looks to unload after three-year turnaround; chain reports strong Q2

The Florida-based owner of Captain D's is said to be marketing the seafood restaurant chain to buyers about three years after taking it over and launching a big turnaround effort.

LBO Wire, a unit of Dow Jones, is reporting that Sun Capital Partners has hired investment bank North Point Advisors to help it unload Captain D's, which has in the past two years grown same-store sales by more than 13 percent as a new leadership team led by President and CEO Phil Greifeld overhauled its front office and restaurant operations. (For more on that, check out recent CEO of the Year feature on Greifeld.) After years of seeing sales atrophy, the company has now posted same-store increases in 23 consecutive months.

On Tuesday, Greifeld and his team said Captain D's posted same-store sales growth of 5.3 percent in the second quarter, with company-owned locations producing even stronger numbers. That performance is helping power the chain's plans to expand its franchisor base.

In an email late Tuesday, Greifeld pointed to the strong Q2 results but did not comment on the potential sale report.

“Because our unit economics and overall Captain D’s opportunity is very attractive, we are being sought-after by entrepreneurs looking for a proven, inventive franchise concept,” Greifeld said in the release accompanying the Q2 numbers. “This brand attention, combined with the leadership of our talented executive team, has led to plans to add new franchised restaurants in 2013 and beyond, with the help of new and existing franchise partners.”

Captain D's runs 520 restaurants in 25 states and on military bases around the world. The company last year moved its headquarters to Grassmere from Elm Hill Pike.