Long John Silver’s, the nation’s largest quick service seafood restaurant company, prepares for seafood’s busiest season with a wave of developments. Many restaurants from the Louisville-based brand will begin the Lenten season with a new look, new menu items, and a new twist on a classic. The 48 year-old brand sold more than 2 million pounds of seafood during the 40-day Lenten season in 2017 and is anticipating a favorable reaction to the 2018 improvements.
“We are moving into a new era for Long John Silver’s and enhancing the customer experience,” said CEO James O’Reilly. “Since last year’s kick off we have started to transform restaurants across the country with our new branding, introduced the drive-thru of the future, answered the call for grilled items, and updated our website.”
Historically the restaurants experience the heaviest sales days on Ash Wednesday and the first Friday of Lent. Last year Long John Silver’s enjoyed a 130 percent increase on Ash Wednesday and a 107 percent increase the first Lenten Friday. On average, a Friday during Lenten season will also see an 84 percent increase in sales over other Fridays during the year. Long John Silver’s typically begins Lent preparations six months in advance.
Long John Silver’s began the process of reimaging select restaurants this year, swapping the nostalgic Cape Cod elements for the clean, nautical-themed lines of the new design and the channel fish logo. The completed restaurants have already reported double digit growth. In addition the company invested in refreshing more than 100 restaurants to make them more welcoming for customers. The brand shifted from a 100 percent franchised system and began acquiring restaurants in late 2015. Today Long John Silver’s owns 10 percent of the restaurants making it the largest restaurant operator for the brand.
Recently the company has seen big developments at corporate headquarters with an upgrade to larger and more contemporary space in Louisville. Long John Silver’s was also named on the “Best Places to Work in Kentucky” list for the second consecutive year. The company expects to open new units in the coming year including a flagship restaurant near headquarters. It will be the first restaurant to feature all the elements of the new vision.
The brand has also undergone a major refresh to its website, ljsilvers.com. This update provides an enhanced user experience, improved mobile usability, and an overall ease of use for guests to visit the brand outside of the restaurant.
Long John Silver’s recently announced the drive-thru of the future. The advanced technology is the first of its kind, and will present the customer with a state-of-the-art service experience. Up to 400 Long John Silver’s will feature the new technology by 2020. The new system will include three high-definition video screens, audio systems, and computer platforms to enhance the ordering process for consumers.The engaging, high-resolution menu is easily updated with promotions and specials based on historical sales trends, special events, and local weather forecasts. The system will also be the foundation of a new digital CRM capability which is designed to drive even higher returns for franchisees.
Beyond expansion to the technology in the drive-thru, the brand will also debut a new line of grilled menu items this Lenten season, with almost 60 restaurants featuring new grilled products. “When people asked us for grilled seafood we understood they wanted the taste of great seafood with big flavors,” said Katie Rooprai, Vice President of Brand Marketing. “We expect to delight our customers with wholesome entrees like grilled salmon tacos and customizable basmati rice bowls to satisfy any craving.”
This year Ash Wednesday, the company’s busiest day, falls on February 14. Long John Silver’s is showing customers a little extra love with a tongue-in-cheek promotion on February 15, the day after Valentine’s Day. The #PlentyFish campaign celebrates single hearts who survived the couple-centric holiday. Consumers are encouraged to share funny experiences on social media platforms revolving around fishing the dating pool and mishaps of coupledom. Customers can expect to see community tables in participating restaurants set for lively conversation and a free Deep Fried Twinkie as a token of affection.
Long John Silver’s is a classic American brand founded in 1969, and stands today as the nation’s largest quick-service seafood chain with nearly 1,000 franchised restaurants nation-wide. Long John Silver’s is famous for its pure, wild-caught Alaskan whitefish hand-dipped in their signature batter and lightly fried to golden perfection. Learn more at www.ljsilvers.com or join the conversation via social media on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.