- Convenience-store retailer Checkout Food Stores has opened its first Captain D’s seafood restaurant in Humble, Texas, about 20 miles north of downtown Houston, Furqan Ibrahim, one of the owners of Checkout Food Stores, said in an interview.
- Checkout, which owns and operates 41 c-stores throughout South Texas and Western Louisiana, signed a franchise development agreement last year to open 10 new Captain D’s restaurants in the Houston area. The restaurants are independent of the team’s c-store locations.
- Becoming the owners or franchisees of chain restaurants has been a growing trend within the c-store industry for some time as retailers increasingly look to build their foodservice portfolios.
This isn’t Checkout’s first foray into franchising restaurants, as the retailer had previously operated a number of Pizza Hut locations about 15 years ago, Ibrahim said.
Now, Checkout is tapping into the fast-food seafood market, which doesn’t seem to have “much competition,” he said.
“We saw there was an open market when it came to seafood,” he said. “We had approached Captain D’s a few years back, and saw they were growing around the country and trying to grow in Texas. We figured it was an opportunity for us to grow.”
Captain D’s — which has about 530 restaurants in total across 23 U.S. states — already has a few restaurants in the Houston area, but those locations are “run down,” Ibrahim said. The 10 new locations franchised by Checkout will be part of Captain D’s “new image” and “built from the ground up,” he said.
Part of that new image includes Captain D’s new double drive-thru, which is available at the Humble restaurant and will be featured at the second location, expected to open in spring 2023, Ibrahim said.
Captain D’s menu features a variety of fried and grilled seafood dishes, ranging from shrimp and crab platters to catfish and whitefish filets.
“We’re excited to grow and bring a new brand of seafood into the Houston Market,” Ibrahim said.
Franchising chain restaurants is common practice for c-store operators, since many are often located adjacent to the fuel stations or c-stores themselves to attract customers. In the U.S., EG Group’s chain restaurants include Arby’s, Burger King, Cinnabon, Pizza Hut, Sbarro, Subway and Taco John’s. In 2017, supermarket chain Hy-Vee — which operates about 180 c-stores — became the largest single franchisee of Wahlburgers restaurants.