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Captain D’s Franchises Profits, Costs & Stats (2023)

One of the very few seafood franchises, Captain D’s is also one of the most popular: since they started to franchise in 1969 they have expanded to 540 restaurants across the US today.

With a relatively low competition and such a strong brand name, investing in a Captain D’s franchise seems like a good idea. But before you go ahead, make sure to understand the financials.

Don’t worry: we did the work for you in this article. With an average annual turnover of $1,067,816 and a 25% profit margin, it does seem like it’s worth investing the initial required investment of $982,778. Want to know more? Let’s dive in!

Captain D’s franchises: key figures

Franchise fee$35,000
Royalty fee4.5%
Marketing fee7.1%
Investment (mid-point)$982,778
Median annual sales$1,067,816
Investment to sales ratio1.1x
Investment payback*6.1 years (average)
Minimum net worth$1,000,000
Minimum liquid capital$350,000
* using 15% net profit margin

🔎 How does Captain D’s compare vs. other franchises? Check the ranking

What is Captain D’s?

Captain D’s is an American fast-food chain owned by private equity firm Sentinel Capital Partners, headquartered in Nashville, Tennessee.

The chain was founded on August 15, 1969, in Donelson, Tennessee, by Raymond L. Danner Sr. It began as Mr. D’s Seafood and Hamburgers and changed into Captain D’s in 1974.

It specializes in seafood and serves fried fish, shrimp, lobster, crab, and chicken meals, platters, and sandwiches. Captain D’s began franchising in 1969 and has over 540 restaurants in the US.

Captain D’s franchises: pros and cons

Pros

  • Pre-opening training: The franchisor offers franchisees comprehensive training on the business concept, products, operations, customer service, and staff management. It also trains the franchisees to carry out a successful grand opening and provides ongoing online training for staff to run their restaurants smoothly.
  • Real estate support: With an experienced real estate team, the brand offers franchisees expert real estate assistance whether building from scratch or converting an existing restaurant. Franchisees get expert advice on viable business locations, site selection, restaurant plans and approval, construction, and branding.
  • Multiple franchise options: The brand combines market-smart prototypes with its conversion efficiency, making restaurant development easy. It offers franchisees the drive-through and carryout-only format or the dine-in and drive-thru options to deliver sales-to-investment ratios.
  • Streamlined supply chain: The brand has a central supply chain. Franchisees can order supplies and inventory online and from a universal supply chain controlled by the franchisor. This guarantees the franchisees consistent, high-quality, and affordable seafood products that add value to their restaurants and customers.
  • Corporate and management support: The brand offers solid and continuous support to its franchisees to establish and operate their restaurants successfully. Also, franchisees get constant guidance from qualified brand managers and successful industry leaders. This is in form of meetings and conventions, safety and security procedures, seminars, and field operations.
  • Passive investment: The franchise allows for absentee ownership. Franchisees can run their restaurant alongside other investment ventures.

Cons

  • No exclusive territory protection: The franchisor does not grant the franchisees an exclusive territory to operate in. Franchisees can face competition from franchises granted by the parent company or from competitive channels it controls.
  • No franchise financing: The brand does not offer direct or indirect financing to franchisees. Also, it does not guarantee any lease, note, or grant for any lender.

How much does a Captain D’s franchise cost?

To open a Captain D’s franchise you would pay around $982,778 as the initial required investment, including an initial franchise fee of $35,000.

As the investment amount is an average, it may vary depending on the type of restaurant you choose. Indeed Captain D’s offers different types of restaurants as a franchise:

  • 44-seat Prototype ($1,052,700 – $1,231,400)
  • 22-seat Prototype ($935,900 – 0$1,107,790)
  • Express Prototype ($709,800 – $859,080)

How does the payment help you to open a new restaurant? Well, the initial investment helps you as a kick-start for your new business. This means the investment amount covers all types of startup costs needed to begin a restaurant.

Indeed, in addition to the $35,000 initial franchise fee you would also pay for:

  • Formation costs: real estate, building, leasehold improvements, training expenses, equipment, computer systems, etc.
  • Pre-opening costs: incorporation fees, legal fees, business license fees, utility deposits, etc.
  • Operating costs: inventory, insurance, and working capital for the first 3 months.
Type of costLowHigh
Initial Franchise Fee$35,000$35,000
Formation Costs$838,900$940,790
Pre-Opening Costs$5,000$9,000
Operating Costs$57,000$123,000
Total$935,900$1,107,790
Source: Franchise Disclosure Document

What’s the turnover of a Captain D’s restaurant?

On average, a Captain D’s franchise makes $1,067,816 in sales per year.

The sales number is the annual average sales of all franchised restaurants operating in 2021.

How profitable is a Captain D’s franchise?

An average Captain D’s franchise makes $271,225 in profits per year. This represents an adjusted EBITDA margin of 25% of sales.

The 25% adjusted EBITDA margin is in line compared to similar franchises as per our intelligence (~25-27% industry average). Although the labor cost is lower (25% sales vs 29% industry average), but the COGS is higher (30% vs 25%), and as a result, the margin is in line.

Note that Captain D’s doesn’t disclose any financial information about franchised restaurants regarding costs, neither they disclose any information on rent. Indeed, we had to use the industry average for rent (8%) and company-owned restaurant data for COGS and labor costs.

Profit-and-lossAmount ($)% sales
Sales$1,067,816100%
COGS$(320,345)30.0%
Labor$(266,954)25.0%
Rent$(85,425)8.0%*
Royalty + marketing fees$(123,867)11.6%
Adjusted EBITDA$271,225~25%
Source: Franchise Disclosure Document

Is a Captain D’s franchise a good investment?

So with that in mind, should you invest in a Captain D’s franchised restaurant? Are the future profits worth investing $982,778 upfront?

To answer this question, we must look at the payback period: the number of years it takes for an investment (like buying a franchise) to repay itself with the profits.

We found that the payback period for Captain D’s is 6.1 years on average. This is a good payback and therefore a good investment. Think about it: it would take you only 6 years to reimburse your investors, the bank and/or yourself with the future profits of the business.

Want to start your own Captain D’s franchised restaurant? When applying, make sure to prepare a set of pro forma financial statements. Save time and download our business plan template below, including 5-year financial projections with all you need to get your franchise funded.

Captain D's business plan

Download the Captain D’s franchise business plan and get your franchise funded

Including a 5-year financial plan built with the latest Franchise Disclosure Document numbers

How does it compare vs. other franchises?

FranchiseInvestment ($)Sales ($)S/I RatioPayback (years)Min. net worth ($)Min. liquid capital ($)
Chick-Fil-Ahttps://sharpsheets.io/blog/chick-fil-a-franchise-costs-profits/Chicken1,363,5104,227,4173.12.2--
Dunkin' Donutshttps://sharpsheets.io/blog/dunkin-donuts-franchise-costs-profits/Donuts779,0001,056,5211.44.9500,000250,000
Domino'shttps://sharpsheets.io/blog/dominos-franchise-profits-costs/Pizza398,7251,286,4283.23.9250,00075,000
Krispy Kremehttps://sharpsheets.io/blog/krispy-kreme-franchise-costs-profits/Donuts824,0003,400,0004.11.62,000,000300,000
Little Caesarshttps://sharpsheets.io/blog/little-caesars-franchise-costs-profits/Pizza1,022,850798,1130.88.5350,000150,000
Wingstophttps://sharpsheets.io/blog/wingstop-franchise-costs-profits/Chicken631,6951,460,4592.32.91,200,000600,000
Steak 'n Shakehttps://sharpsheets.io/blog/steak-n-shake-franchise-costs-profits/Burger, Milshakes815,6261,346,3321.74.01,500,000500,000
Crumbl Cookieshttps://sharpsheets.io/blog/crumbl-cookie-franchise-cost-profits/Sweets507,2241,582,0903.12.1300,000150,000
Taco Bellhttps://sharpsheets.io/blog/taco-bell-franchise-costs-profits/Mexican462,4131,650,0003.61.91,500,000750,000
Popeyeshttps://sharpsheets.io/blog/popeyes-franchise-costs-profits/Chicken1,095,7831,444,6171.35.11,000,000500,000
Smoothie Kinghttps://sharpsheets.io/blog/smoothie-king-franchise-costs-profits/Smoothie688,108573,2690.88.0300,000100,000
Jersey Mike'shttps://sharpsheets.io/blog/jersey-mikes-franchise-costs-profits/Sandwich574,3231,220,5862.14.7300,000100,000
Nothing Bundt Cakeshttps://sharpsheets.io/blog/nothing-bundt-cakes-franchise-costs-profits/Sweets538,6501,307,2802.42.7600,000150,000
Jimmy John'shttps://sharpsheets.io/blog/jimmy-johns-franchise-costs-profits/Sandwich513,650874,8451.73.9300,00080,000
Texas Roadhousehttps://sharpsheets.io/blog/texas-roadhouse-franchise-costs-profits/Steakhouse4,209,5002,955,5340.79.5n.a.200,000
Kung Fu Teahttps://sharpsheets.io/blog/kung-fu-tea-franchise-costs-profits/Bubble tea250,125353,2371.44.7n.a.25,000
Wendy’shttps://sharpsheets.io/blog/wendys-franchise-cost-profits/Burger1,374,8331,791,2311.35.11,000,000500,000
Burger Kinghttps://sharpsheets.io/blog/burger-king-franchise-costs-profits/Burger1,242,9501,215,9701.06.81,500,000500,000
Sonic Drive-Inhttps://sharpsheets.io/blog/sonic-drive-in-franchise-costs-profits/Burger1,467,0831,617,0001.16.01,000,000500,000
Panera Breadhttps://sharpsheets.io/blog/panera-bread-franchise-costs-profits/Sandwich2,290,5002,599,4321.15.97,500,0003,000,000
Pizza Huthttps://sharpsheets.io/blog/pizza-hut-franchise-costs-profits/Pizza935,575906,9111.06.9700,000350,000
KFChttps://sharpsheets.io/blog/kfc-franchise-costs-profits/Chicken1,802,0501,567,4740.97.71,500,000750,000
Arby’shttps://sharpsheets.io/blog/arbys-franchise-costs-profits/Sandwich1,184,9751,126,2631.07.01,000,000500,000
Dairy Queenhttps://sharpsheets.io/blog/dairy-queen-franchise-costs-profits/Ice Cream1,404,2201,143,1800.88.2750,000400,000
Jack in the Boxhttps://sharpsheets.io/blog/jack-in-the-box-franchise-costs-profits/Burger2,195,8001,755,5030.812.51,000,000250,000
Papa John’shttps://sharpsheets.io/blog/papa-johns-franchise-costs-profits/Pizza353,6951,101,1273.12.1750,000250,000
Zaxby’shttps://sharpsheets.io/blog/zaxbys-franchise-costs-profits/Chicken534,7502,229,1874.22.41,000,000500,000
Hardee’shttps://sharpsheets.io/blog/hardees-franchise-costs-profits/Burger1,759,0001,147,9750.710.21,000,000300,000
Culver’shttps://sharpsheets.io/blog/culvers-franchise-costs-profits/Burger4,044,5003,051,7620.88.82,000,000350,000
Five Guyshttps://sharpsheets.io/blog/five-guys-franchise-costs-profits/Burger511,2251,203,3662.42.8500,000250,000
Carl’s Jr.https://sharpsheets.io/blog/carls-jr-franchise-costs-profits/Burger1,860,3351,419,5160.88.71,000,000500,000
Baskin-Robbinshttps://sharpsheets.io/blog/baskin-robbins-franchise-costs-profits/Ice Cream465,100316,8150.79.8250,000125,000
IHOPhttps://sharpsheets.io/blog/ihop-franchise-costs-profits/Pancakes2,058,3021,553,3110.88.81,500,000500,000
Applebee’shttps://sharpsheets.io/blog/applebees-franchise-costs-profits/Casual American5,137,9662,356,9650.514.51,000,000500,000
Denny'shttps://sharpsheets.io/blog/dennys-franchise-costs-profits/Casual American3,785,4591,639,5490.415.41,000,000500,000
Papa Murphy'shttps://sharpsheets.io/blog/papa-murphys-franchise-costs-profits/Pizza433,174580,4411.35.0275,000125,000
Auntie Anne'shttps://sharpsheets.io/blog/auntie-annes-franchise-costs-profits/Pretzels229,692343,1351.55.6300,000100,000
Firehouse Subshttps://sharpsheets.io/blog/firehouse-subs-franchise-costs-profits/Sandwich613,186888,3561.44.6350,000100,000
Tropical Smoothie Cafehttps://sharpsheets.io/blog/tropical-smoothie-cafe-franchise-costs-profits/Smoothie430,500961,9692.23.0350,000125,000
Marco’s Pizzahttps://sharpsheets.io/blog/marcos-pizza-franchises-costs-profits/Pizza437,625895,5232.03.3400,000100,000
Cinnabonhttps://sharpsheets.io/blog/cinnabon-franchises-costs-profits/Sweets276,062394,8971.45.8300,000120,000
Cold Stone Creameryhttps://sharpsheets.io/blog/cold-stone-creamery-franchise-costs-profits/Ice Cream310,956417,5881.35.0250,000100,000
Jambahttps://sharpsheets.io/blog/jamba-franchise-costs-profits/Smoothie414,562597,0281.47.7300,000100,000
Church’s Chickenhttps://sharpsheets.io/blog/churchs-texas-chicken-fees-sales-costs/Chicken1,195,1471,395,0881.25.71,000,000300,000
Moe’s Southwest Grillhttps://sharpsheets.io/blog/moes-southwest-grill-franchises-costs-profits/Mexican792,3701,013,3611.35.21,000,000100,000
Tim Hortonshttps://sharpsheets.io/blog/tim-hortons-franchises-costs-profits/Coffee1,242,7501,188,2401.07.0500,000100,000
Checkers & Rally'shttps://sharpsheets.io/blog/checkers-franchises-profits-sales-costs/Burger837,8471,039,7731.25.4750,000250,000
Charleys Philly Steakshttps://sharpsheets.io/blog/charleys-philly-steaks-costs-profits/Sandwich509,806786,2331.54.3500,000100,000
Buffalo Wild Wingshttps://sharpsheets.io/blog/buffalo-wild-wings-costs-profits/Chicken3,546,9002,534,1480.79.31,500,000750,000
Rita's Icehttps://sharpsheets.io/blog/ritas-ice-franchise-costs-profits/Ice Cream215,839248,3401.25.8300,000100,000
A&W Restaurantshttps://sharpsheets.io/blog/aw-restaurants-franchises-costs-profits/Burger786,750851,2121.16.2350,000150,000
Hungry Howie’s Pizzahttps://sharpsheets.io/blog/hungry-howies-pizza-franchise-costs-profits/Pizza419,682806,8991.93.5750,000200,000
Bojangleshttps://sharpsheets.io/blog/bojangles-franchise-costs-profits/Chicken1,658,0001,801,0571.16.11,000,000500,000
McAlister’s Delihttps://sharpsheets.io/blog/mcalister-deli-franchise-costs-profits/Sandwich1,424,9631,865,8611.35.11,000,000500,000
Round Table Pizzahttps://sharpsheets.io/blog/round-table-pizza-franchise-costs-profits/Pizza783,2501,037,8161.35.0500,000200,000
Qdoba Mexican Eatshttps://sharpsheets.io/blog/qdoba-mexican-eats-franchise-costs-profits/Mexican659,250972,9621.54.5
Freddy’shttps://sharpsheets.io/blog/freddys-franchise-costs-profits/Burger1,453,0401,792,9291.25.41,000,000400,000
Taco John’shttps://sharpsheets.io/blog/taco-johns-franchise-costs-profits/Mexican1,119,0001,124,9801.06.61,000,000400,000
Scooter’s Coffeehttps://sharpsheets.io/blog/scooters-coffee-franchise-costs-profits/Coffee1,143,250797,1010.79.6500,000200,000
Einstein Bros. Bagelshttps://sharpsheets.io/blog/einstein-bros-bagels-franchise-costs-profits/Sandwich750,075885,0111.25.71,000,000536,500
Great American Cookieshttps://sharpsheets.io/blog/great-american-cookies-franchise-costs-profits/Sweets385,275452,7711.25.7250,000100,000
Wienerschnitzelhttps://sharpsheets.io/blog/wienerschnitzel-franchise-costs-profits/Hot dogs873,300880,9801.06.6600,000250,000
Blaze Pizzahttps://sharpsheets.io/blog/blaze-pizza-franchise-costs-profits/Pizza865,4501,096,4321.37.9500,000300,000
Wetzel's Pretzelshttps://sharpsheets.io/blog/wetzels-pretzels-franchise-costs-profits/Pretzels377,571748,8572.03.4300,00050,000
Pizza Ranchhttps://sharpsheets.io/blog/pizza-ranch-franchise-costs-profits/Pizza3,268,3001,174,0880.418.61,000,000297,000
Del Tacohttps://sharpsheets.io/blog/del-taco-franchise-costs-profits/Mexican1,406,8501,345,3411.07.02,000,000500,000
Schlotzsky’shttps://sharpsheets.io/blog/schlotzskys-franchises-costs-profits/Healthy, Salads1,102,9331,053,3330.322.21,000,000300,000
Captain D’shttps://sharpsheets.io/blog/captain-ds-franchise-profits-costs/Seafood982,7781,067,8160.419.01,000,000350,000
Biggby Coffeehttps://sharpsheets.io/blog/biggby-coffee-franchise-profits-costs/Coffee310,575648,3520.320.0300,000100,000
Which Wichhttps://sharpsheets.io/blog/which-wich-franchises-profits-costs/Sandwich330,375281,8860.322.2500,000150,000
Marble Slab Creameryhttps://sharpsheets.io/blog/marble-slab-franchises-costs-profits/Ice Cream407,360251,0520.416.7250,000100,000
Mountain Mike's Pizzahttps://sharpsheets.io/blog/mountain-mikes-franchise-profits-costs/Pizza410,900865,7130.320.0300,000100,000
Huddle Househttps://sharpsheets.io/blog/huddle-house-franchise-cost-profits/Diner988,743712,4280.513.3600,000300,000
L&L Hawaiian Barbecuehttps://sharpsheets.io/blog/ll-hawaiian-barbecue-franchises-costs-profits/BBQ334,350612,9210.333.3500,000150,000
Chicken Salad Chickhttps://sharpsheets.io/blog/chicken-salad-chick-franchises-costs-profits/Healthy, Salads651,0001,202,0200.320.0750,000250,000
Golden Chickhttps://sharpsheets.io/blog/golden-chick-franchises-costs-profits/Chicken362,975917,6092.52.62,000,000425,000
Perkinshttps://sharpsheets.io/blog/perkins-franchise-costs-profits/Diner1,922,7281,729,2460.97.41,500,000500,000
Waba Grillhttps://sharpsheets.io/blog/waba-grill-franchises-costs-profits/Teryaki454,000466,5361.06.51,000,000250,000
Bruster’s Ice Creamhttps://sharpsheets.io/blog/brusters-franchises-profits-costs/Ice Cream663,925466,6960.79.5375,000150,000