Captain D’s Franchise Costs, Fees & Owner Salary (2023)









April 11, 2024


Captain D’s

a franchise?

Captain D’s

Captain D's, a notable player in the quick-service seafood restaurant sector, first opened its doors in Donelson, Tennessee, in 1969. Over the years, it has grown to become a leading name in the industry, known for its wide variety of fried fish, shrimp, chicken dishes, and an assortment of seasonal and regional seafood favorites.

Franchising since 1969, the brand prides itself on offering casual dining food quality at quick-service price points, incorporating fresh-grilled options and a diverse menu to cater to evolving consumer tastes and dietary needs.

Headquartered in Nashville, Tennessee, Captain D's has established itself as a category leader with a strong brand presence and a unique fast-casual dining experience reminiscent of authentic seafood shacks. The chain has been recognized for its innovative restaurant designs and commitment to quality, which have contributed to its positive same-store sales growth over the years.

Captain D's continues to expand, offering both single and multi-unit development opportunities in sought-after territories. For those interested in franchising, Captain D's seeks partners with a passion for the brand and a drive for profitability, preferably with previous restaurant operating experience. The franchise offers comprehensive support to its franchisees, from initial training to ongoing operational assistance, ensuring the success of each franchise location.

How many

Captain D’s


are there?

In 2022, there were
outlets in
the United
States, of which
are franchises, and
are corporate-owned.

What are the

Captain D’s



Advertising fee


Initial Franchise Fee ($35,000)

The initial franchise fee for a Captain D’s location is $35,000. If you are part of the Veterans Program, there's an offer for a reduced initial franchise fee of $17,500 for the veteran’s first restaurant. Additionally, depending on the number of restaurants that a developer commits to develop, the franchise fee can vary. For instance, for a commitment of 1 to 2 restaurants, the fee is $35,000, but for 16 to 20 restaurants, the fee is reduced to $17,500.

Royalty (4.5% of Gross Sales)

The royalty fee is set at 4.5% of the franchisee's gross sales made at or from the franchised site throughout the duration of the agreement.

Advertising (4% of Gross Sales)

  • The advertising fee is 1.1% of gross sales. This fee can be increased up to a maximum of 2%. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the advertising fee has been temporarily reduced to 1.0% of gross sales.
  • In addition to the advertising fee, franchisees are required to spend each year for local market advertising, exclusive of on-site signs, a minimum of 2% of gross sales per annum. This local marketing requirement has been suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic until further notice.
  • The advertising marketing contribution can be a maximum of 4% of gross sales. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this contribution has been reduced to either 0.50% or 1.0% of gross sales, depending on the location of the restaurant.

Note: The fees presented here can be found in the Item 5 of the Franchise Disclosure Document. For a complete list of all the fees borne by the franchisee, please consult the Franchise Disclosure Document.

How much does

it cost

to start a

Captain D’s


It costs between
to start a
Captain D’s

Captain D’s offers a diverse range of franchising opportunities tailored to various market needs and investor preferences. Their restaurant prototypes are meticulously designed to cater to different customer bases and operational scales, and each comes with a detailed cost breakdown table:

  1. 44-Seat Restaurant Prototype: This traditional dining model, expandable to 62 seats, is ideal for areas with a dense customer base. The investment for this prototype ranges from $1,159,500 to $1,354,200. A comprehensive table further breaks down the costs, ensuring potential franchisees understand every aspect of the investment.
  2. 22-Seat Restaurant Prototype: A more compact version of the traditional dining model, this prototype is designed for locations with space constraints or a moderate customer flow. The investment for this model varies between $1,037,300 and $1,252,270, with a detailed table providing insights into each expenditure.
  3. Express Captain D’s Restaurant Prototype: Tailored for a fast-paced environment, this model focuses on quick service without compromising on the quality Captain D’s is renowned for. The estimated investment for this express model lies between $898,600 and $1,091,700. An accompanying table offers a granular view of the costs involved.

Investment for 44-Seat Restaurant Prototype:

Type of Expenditure Amount
Franchise Fee and Development Fee $35,000
Real Estate As Agreed
Building and Leasehold Improvements $750,000 - $815,000
Training Expenses $25,000 - $46,000
Equipment $256,500 - $292,100
Computer Systems $31,000 - $34,100
Inventory $6,000 - $8,000
Miscellaneous Opening Expenses $5,000 - $9,000
Insurance $11,000 - $25,000
Additional Funds - 3 Months $40,000 - $90,000
Total $1,159,500 - $1,354,200

Note: The table above provides a snapshot of the main costs associated with starting the most common franchise format (as disclosed in the Item 7 of the Franchise Disclosure Document). For a complete overview of all the expenses involved with the various formats offered by the franchisor, please consult the Franchise Disclosure Document.


Captain D’s



to its


Captain D’s

Captain D’s offers comprehensive training for its franchisees. This includes:

  • Management Training: Every franchised Captain D’s restaurant is expected to have at least three managers who have completed the brand's specified management training programs. This ensures that the restaurant operates in line with the brand's standards.
  • Employee Training: All staff members undergo training programs to ensure they are well-equipped to serve customers and maintain the restaurant's operations efficiently.
  • Counseling and Advisory Services: Captain D’s provides ongoing counseling and advisory services on a range of topics, from equipment selection and layout to advertising strategies and new product introductions.
  • Computer Systems: To keep up with modern technology and efficient operations, new franchisees are required to invest in specified point-of-sale and computer-based training systems. The estimated cost for these systems ranges from $25,000 to $34,100.
  • Does

    Captain D’s




    Captain D’s, LLC grants franchisees the right to operate a Captain D’s restaurant at a specific location. The franchisee's rights are limited to the designated location and do not extend to a broader exclusive territory.

    This means that while franchisees have a specific location to operate, they do not have a broader exclusive territory, and their operations are confined to the designated location.

    Can a

    Captain D’s


    be run as

    a passive


    Captain D’s requires franchisees to personally participate in the direct operation of the franchised restaurant.

    If the franchisee operates as a corporation or another business entity, either the franchisee or a supervisory person with at least a 10% ownership interest (or an ownership vesting plan approved by Captain D’s) must be actively involved in the restaurant's operations.

    This person, known as the "Primary Contact," must attend and satisfactorily complete Captain D’s training programs.

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