Avast ye and prepare to board the largest quick-service seafood restaurant chain on the US mainland. Taking its name from a character in Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island, Long John Silver's franchises more than 1,200 nautically themed eateries offering such menu items as batter-dipped fish, chicken, shrimp, and hushpuppies. Patrons can also select from sandwiches and salads, as well as chicken items and family-size meals. The Long John Silver's chain operates primarily in the US though it does have a small number of international locations. The seafood chain traces its roots back to 1929; it was part of the YUM! Brands fast food empire that includes KFC, Pizza Hut, and Taco Bell until late 2011.
YUM! Brands sold the Long John Silver's chain (and YUM! Brands' A&W locations) in order to focus on its core chains of KFC, Pizza Hut, and Taco Bell. Long John Silver's dominates the quick-serve seafood segment in the US with more than a third of the market. Its closest competitor is Captain D's, a regional fish and chips chain with a concentration in the Southeast.
Like most other restaurant franchisors, Long John Silver's allows its local operators to use the company's branding and marketing in exchange for royalties and other fees. Through franchising, the chain has been able to spread throughout many regions of the country without the high cost of building and maintaining all of those eateries.
The new owners moved quickly to update the menu, adding Asian and Italian dishes and improving hush puppies and sauces. Local restaurants were given even more freedom to offer regional favorites. – less