Long John Silver's
|This article relies on references to primary sources. (August 2010)|
|Founded||1969 in Lexington, Kentucky, U.S.|
|Headquarters||Louisville, Kentucky, U.S.|
|Employees||8,400 (world wide)|
|Parent||LJS Partners LLC|
Long John Silver's, Inc., is a United States-based fast-food restaurant that specializes in seafood. The name of the brand is borrowed 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 2011.
The first restaurant was opened in 1969 in Lexington, Kentucky.1 The original location, on 301 Southland Drive just off Nicholasville Road, was previously a seafood restaurant named the Cape Codder, which accounts for the Cape Cod style of LJS’s early chain restaurants. That original location is now a styling salon.23 Until its bankruptcy in 1998, Long John Silver's was a privately owned corporation. The chain began as a division of Jerrico, Inc., which also operated Jerry's Restaurants, a chain of family restaurants which also began in Lexington, and that was very similar to Big Boy restaurants. Jerry's was located in the Midwest and Southern United States. When the company was sold in 1989, the Long John Silver's concept had far outgrown the Jerry's chain. Most of Jerry's 46 remaining locations were converted to Denny's by the new owners, with a handful staying under the original name, usually because there was already an existing Denny's nearby. Only a dozen or so, now called Jerry's J-Boy Restaurants, are still open in Kentucky and southern Indiana. LJS stores were largely unaffected by this move. (Many original LJS franchisees were also operators of Jerry's locations.)citation needed
Earlier restaurants were known for their Cape Cod-style buildings, blue roofs with square cupolas, and nautically-themed decorations such as seats made to look like nautical flags. Most early restaurants also featured separate entrance and exit doors, a corridor-like waiting line area, food heaters that were transparent so customers could see the food waiting to be served, and a bell by the exit which customers could "ring if we did it well." Many of these buildings had dock-like walkways lined with pilings and thick ropes that wrapped around the building exterior. Somewhat newer restaurants kept the basic structural design and theme, but eliminated most of the interior features. The contemporary, multi-brand outlets do not use the blue roofed Cape Cod-style buildings. All locations continue to have the "if we did well, ring the bell" bell by the exit, a feature that was later copied by Arby's. Originally, the chain had a much larger focus on a pirate theme. For example, the chain used to offer small chicken drumsticks which they called "peg-legs", but now offer chicken fingers known as "Chicken Planks". The chain does still offer kids paper pirate hats with LJS's logo.citation needed
The restaurant, which has over 1200 units worldwide, was formerly a division of Yum! Brands, Inc. The company purchased it from Yorkshire Global Restaurants, which originally acquired it from Fleet Boston Bank after its having gained control of the restaurants due to bankruptcy. Yum! originally combined many of the franchises' locations with its chain of A&W Restaurants, and most new Long John Silver's locations in the first few years after the acquisition were co-branded with A&W. Yum! announced in 2005 that it would expand the multi-brand concept and pair Long John Silver's with KFC, just as they had paired Taco Bell and Pizza Hut along with A&W, and Long John Silver's was since paired with all of Yum!'s other chains. The parent corporation of the chain's Canadian franchises, which have no connection with A&W in Canada, was Priszm before its bankruptcy and eventual sale of all assets. Long John Silver's had only one New York City location (in Eastern Queens), but it is no longer in business.citation needed
As Yum! Brands began putting more money in its other brands, the investment in smaller brands like Long John Silver's and A&W was reduced. With the anticipated shrinkage in sales, on January 18, 2011, Yum! Brands announced its intention to sell Long John Silver's, along with its A&W Restaurant chain. Citing poor sales for both divisions, the company plans to focus on its international expansion plans for its other brands, with particular emphasis on its growth in China.4 With the announcement of the intent to sell by Yum! Brands, a group consisting of Long John Silver's franchisees and other private investors made a successful bid to buy the LJS Brand and in September 2011, Yum! announced the impending sale to LJS Partners LLC.citation needed
Since divesting from Yum! Brands in October 2011, the Long John Silver's brand has seen a steady increase in sales, market share, and net worth. The brand currently is looking to upscale the brand with new stores opening in Fall 2013 through Winter 2014/2015 and a complete makeover of all franchise stores through 2016. However the chain is currently fighting a reputation that their food is unappealing, and the fact that half of their locations have been shut down at times by health departments.4
Long John Silver's food offerings include platters, sandwiches, and various single items. The platters feature seafood as the main item, with side dishes consisting of coleslaw, hushpuppies, corn, green beans, and French fries (chips) or batter fried onion rings. Seafood items include fish, clams, and shrimp, with chicken fingers known as "Chicken Planks". More recently, the brand began offering baked cod for the calorie conscious diner. The restaurants also sell dessert offerings as separate items.citation needed
Before being bought by Yum! Brands in late 2002, Long John Silver's sold Coca Cola products. They began to switch over to Pepsi products the following year when Yum! Brands began to open new restaurants. Long John Silver's still sells Pepsi products to this day.citation needed
Customers also have the option to "add a piece", which the company promotes in its advertising and on its website.5
On July 2, 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 contains 33 grams of trans fat, 19 grams of saturated fat, 1,320 calories and almost 3,700 milligrams of sodium.6
- Sloan, Scott (2011-12-09). "A&W Returns to Lexington". Kentucky.com. Retrieved 2012-11-06.
- "Fayette County PVA". Qpublic7.qpublic.net. Retrieved 2012-11-06.
- USA. "Fantasia Styling Salon". Fantasia Styling Salon. Retrieved 2012-11-06.
- "Yum! Brands Places Long John Silver's and A&W All-American Restaurants for Sale - Jan. 18, 2011". Stocks.usatoday.com. Retrieved 2012-11-06.
- Long John Silver'sdead link