Captain D’s Hires First Chief People Officer

Wendy Harkness joins executive team to lead human resources and people development

Captain D's Hires First Chief People Officer
Wendy Harkness

Nashville, TN  (Restaurant News ReleaseCaptain D’s, the leading national fast casual seafood restaurant, announced today that Wendy Harkness has joined the company as chief people officer, effective April 7. An industry veteran, Harkness brings more than 25 years of rich experience in developing and implementing skillfully designed human resources and communication campaigns, and specializes in building high-performing teams.

In the newly created position of chief people officer, Harkness will be responsible for executing company-wide human resources strategies, including culture development, administration, internal communications and compliance programs.

“Throughout her impressive career, Wendy has displayed an exceptional talent for driving results through expertly executed human resources strategies, and we are thrilled to have her join the Captain D’s team,” said Phil Greifeld, chief executive officer and president of Captain D’s. “Our success as an industry leader is a direct result of our talented employees. We continually seek new tactics to further cultivate and expand our strong guest-centric and people company culture. Wendy’s knack for leveraging the best in people will undoubtedly allow us to advance our record setting success throughout 2015 and beyond.”

Prior to joining Captain D’s, Harkness served as senior vice president of human resources at Advantage Waypoint, LLC, where she created and implemented proprietary human resources strategies. Additionally, she successfully launched a full-scale communication campaign designed to significantly improve employee trust and increase organizational readiness, which resulted in significant growth in employee engagement scores. Throughout her professional career, Harkness has also been actively engaged in the food service industry, and has served as the president of the Chain Restaurant Compensation Association and the steering committee chair of Organizational Readiness for the Women’s Foodservice Forum.

Harkness holds a bachelor’s degree in human resource administration from St. Leo University, where she graduated Summa Cum Laude, as well as a J.D. degree from Stetson University College of Law. She is certified in trial advocacy and formerly practiced in Worker’s Compensation and Employment law.

With 513 restaurants in 26 states, Captain D’s is the fast-casual seafood leader and number one seafood franchise in America ranked by average unit volume. Captain D’s recently unveiled a new design featuring a vibrant coastal atmosphere and upgraded the dining experience with plate ware and silverware. A revamped menu was also launched, featuring better-for-you, fire-grilled options like Tilapia, Surf and Turf, Wild Alaskan Salmon and Shrimp Skewers, made possible from the recent installation of the new grilling system, which is proprietary to Captain D’s and has flames from both the bottom and the top to ensure quality and quick grilling. With these efforts, Captain D’s has remained true to what it does best — serving high-quality seafood with warm hospitality at an affordable price.

For more information about Captain D’s, please visit

About Captain D’s

Captain D's Hires First Chief People OfficerHeadquartered in Nashville, Tenn., Captain D’s has 513 restaurants in 26 states, plus military bases around the world. Captain D’s is the nation’s leading fast casual seafood restaurant and was named the #1 seafood chain in the QSR 50, ranked by AUV. Founded in 1969, Captain D’s has been offering its customers high-quality seafood at reasonable prices in a welcoming atmosphere for 45 years. Captain D’s serves a widely variety of seafood that includes freshly prepared entrees and the company’s signature hand-battered fish, which is cooked to order to ensure freshness. The restaurants also offer premium-quality, grilled fish, as well as shrimp, chicken, shrimp and beef kabobs, hushpuppies, desserts and freshly brewed, Southern-style sweet tea, a Captain D’s favorite. For more information, please visit

Samantha Russo
Fish Consulting