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Continued growth at Long John Silver’s pushes it to expand internationally

Long John Silver’s posted its sixth-consecutive quarter of same-store sales growth, while also scoring record-breaking average unit volumes in 2021.

Despite COVID-19 pressures that pushed its sales down 30 to 40 percent at the start of the pandemic, the Louisville, Kentucky, USA-based operator realized a 2.5 percent increase in sales year-over-year throughout 2020 and 2021, according to the international seafood chain’s recently released its 2021 results.

The Louisville, Kentucky, USA-based chain’s rapid growth in the US and Asia also led to promotions for three individuals on its leadership team.

With more than 700 restaurants in the United States and abroad, LJS plans to continue its international expansion, adding up to 50 restaurants in Indonesia. It also operates 24 restaurants in Singapore, and international interest in the chain continues to grow, the company said.

“It’s really an exciting time for Long John Silver’s, and we must ensure the right infrastructure is in place to continue our brand’s strong momentum, support our key strategic investments and expand globally,” Chief Executive Officer Blain Shortreed said.

In order to build its infrastructure and expand globally, the brand promoted Stephanie Mattingly, former chief marketing officer, to president of the brand’s operating company. The operating company represents a large portion of the overall LJS system, employing around 2,800 individuals and overseeing 220 of the chain’s restaurants, while the others are franchise locations.

“Stephanie has been very involved in delivering sales growth for the Long John Silver’s system and in elevating our brand offerings. Our operating company requires strong senior business leadership support, and Stephanie will bring her great sense of the Long John Silver’s brand to this new challenge ,” Shortreed said. “I am confident that under Stephanie’s leadership, our operating company will continue to grow its sales, people, and customers by reimaging its restaurants.”

As a result of Mattingly’s promotion, Christopher Caudill, former vice president of marketing, was promoted to senior vice president of marketing and innovation.

Caudill has been “instrumental in leading the marketing calendar development and consumer insights,” LJS said. He will focus on building a “robust pipeline of products and advancing LJS’s mobile ordering and loyalty programs,” LJS said.

Tom Burress, former vice president of franchise operations, was promoted to senior vice president of franchise operations and development.

“Burress will continue working to elevate the training and operations capability across the Long John Silver’s franchise system, while at the same time expanding that system internationally,” LJS said.

LJS’s leadership attributes the brand’s performance to improving speed and accuracy through the drive-thru; adding other revenue streams via delivery and online ordering for pick-up; and capitalizing on core menu items, such as fish and chicken family meals.

The company also increased traffic with new products and limited time offers, including bringing back “fan favorites” such as Norway Lobster Bites.

“Our success has been built by growing our people, reinvesting in our restaurants, and on elevating the drive-thru customer experience,” Shortreed said. “Our long-term growth strategy is driven by improving our basic execution in order to increase our domestic AUV’s and finding franchisees that can grow our presence around the world.”

When LJS its international expansion last fall announcedMattingly said the company wanted to move in line with cultural norms in Asia and understands “there will be some adjustments needed due to regional and local sourcing – for example, halal certifications.”

But LJS saw a good fit for its offerings in the region, Mattingly said.

“Seafood and poultry are two of the most-consumed proteins in the world and both have grown faster over the last decade than other protein options like beef, pork, or lamb,” Mattingly said. “This sets us up for success as we work with our international partners and supply chain to uphold our core menu offerings in areas where we expand.”

Photo courtesy of Long John Silver’s