Captain D’s Inks Multi-Unit Deal with Tony Lutfi, One of the Nation’s Top Multi-Unit Operators

Captain D's Inks Multi-Unit Deal with Tony Lutfi, One of the Nation's Top Multi-Unit Operators

Seafood Chain’s Unit-Level Economics Leads to Impressive Franchise Deals in 2014

Captain D's Inks Multi-Unit Deal with Tony Lutfi, One of the Nation's Top Multi-Unit OperatorsNashville, TN  (Restaurant News Release)  Leveraging the momentum of three consecutive years of record sales growth, Captain D’s has landed its fifth major multi-unit franchisee to join its roster in 2014.

Tony Lutfi, CEO of Marlu Investment Group, has agreed to purchase five Captain D’s company-owned restaurants in the Kansas City market, making the fast-casual seafood chain the latest brand in his portfolio that spans 165 restaurant and retail locations. Sacramento, Calif.-based Marlu operates units of Jack in the Box, Sizzler, Little Caesars, Arby’s, Church’s Chicken and Sears.

Lutfi joins newly signed Captain D’s franchisees like Michael Knobelock, an operator of several dozen Church’s and Little Caesars locations, as well as longtime Dairy Queen operators Mike Munshi, Zaheara Momin and Asif Jariwalla.

“We are thrilled to welcome Tony and his team to Captain D’s, and we look forward to him supercharging our growth in such critical markets like Kansas City,” said Phil Greifeld, CEO of Captain D’s. “This brand has worked tirelessly the past several years to be the No. 1 choice for top-quality franchise operators looking to expand their territories and diversify their portfolios. Clearly, sophisticated investors like Tony have taken notice.”

Greifeld credited Captain D’s recent store prototype redesign and menu launches like $4.99 Full Meal Deals and the From the Grill lineup of grilled-seafood items for driving the brand’s revenues and profitability. As a result, he said, Captain D’s has attracted new franchise partners and successfully encouraged accelerated store growth from current franchisees as well.

“With more partners like Tony on our team, we are confident this growth in our sales and footprint will carry over and make 2015 another fantastic year for Captain D’s,” Greifeld said. “With many key markets still available, Captain D’s is actively recruiting new franchisees looking for either single- or multi-unit growth.”

Lutfi expressed his enthusiasm for contributing to Captain D’s momentum as well.

“The turnaround that Phil and his team at Captain D’s have put together the past few years has been incredible,” Lutfi said. “I was drawn to the new building designs and the best-in-class seafood — which we’re very excited to add to our portfolio — but what really assured me that Captain D’s was right for my company was meeting the leadership team and knowing that their corporate vision aligns with Marlu’s. The four pillars of my company are taking care of customers, taking care of employees, protecting the brand and operating profitably, and I know Captain D’s shares those values.”

Lutfi plans to move quickly in the Kansas City market and reimage the five acquired stores within the next six to eight months with remodeled dining rooms, new signage and investments in all deferred maintenance.

“Everything Captain D’s has done has elevated the brand from a standard QSR experience to an appealing fast-casual restaurant concept, and I am thrilled that this brand gives my company another way to play in that crucial segment,” Lutfi said.

For Captain D’s franchise information, please visit

About Captain D’s

Headquartered in Nashville, Tennessee, Captain D’s owns, operates and franchises 520 restaurants in 25 states, plus military bases around the world. Captain D’s offers its customers great seafood at reasonable prices in a relaxed environment. The brand’s restaurants serve a widely varied seafood menu that includes freshly prepared entrees, and the company’s signature hand-battered fish which is prepared to order to ensure freshness. The restaurants also offer premium-quality, grilled fish, as well as shrimp, chicken, shrimp & beef kabobs, hushpuppies, desserts and freshly brewed, southern-style sweet tea, a Captain D’s favorite. For more information, please visit

Eric White
No Limit Agency