August 18, 1969|
Lexington, Kentucky, United States
|Headquarters||Louisville, Kentucky, United States|
Number of employees
Jerrico Inc. |
LJS Partners LLC
Long John Silver's LLC (also formerly known as Long John Silver's Seafood Shoppe) is an American fast-food restaurant chain that specializes in seafood. The brand's name is derived from the novel Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson, in which the pirate "Long John" Silver is one of the main characters. Formerly a division of Yum! Brands, Inc., the company was divested to a group of franchisees in September 2011 and is now 80% franchise-owned.
The first restaurant was opened on August 18, 1969, in Lexington, Kentucky. The original location, on 301 Southland Drive just off Nicholasville Road, was previously a seafood carry out restaurant named the Cape Codder. The original Cape Codder concrete block building was redesigned by Architect Druce Henn, who created the New England style of LJS's early chain restaurants. That original location is now a styling salon.
Earlier restaurants were known for their Cape Cod style buildings, blue roofs with square cupolas, wood benches/tables, lobster pots, and ship's wheels. Later, more nautically themed decorations were added such as seats made to look like nautical flags.
Those early restaurants also featured separate entrance and exit doors, a corridor like waiting line area, deep fryer with food heaters that were transparent so customers could see the food waiting to be served, and wrought iron 'sword' door handles. A major exterior theme of these buildings had dock-like walkways lined with pilings and thick ropes. Somewhat newer restaurants retained the basic structural design and theme but eliminated most of the interior features.
The chain was acquired by Yum! Brands in 2002, but by January 2011 Yum! announced it was looking for a buyer for its Long John Silver's and A&W All-American Restaurants divisions, citing poor sales and a desire to transfer more of its focus to international expansion. In September 2011, Yum! announced the impending sale of Long John Silver's to LJS Partners LLC – a group consisting of franchisees and other private investors.
In March 2015, James O'Reilly, who had previously worked for KFC (another Yum! Brands holding), was appointed as the CEO. He stated that he expected the chain to maintain its 1,132 stores, refocus its marketing following negative press about the fat and sodium content of the menu (see below), and looked to the possibility of future expansion.
In July 2013, the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a nutrition and health policy watchdog group, named Long John Silver's "Big Catch" meal the worst restaurant meal in America, noting that it contained 33 grams of trans fat, 19 grams of saturated fat, 1,320 calories, and almost 3,700 milligrams of sodium. In January 2014, the company announced that it had eliminated trans fats from its menu.