Lexington, KY

Plans For Long John Silver’s Closings in 2022

Joel Eisenberg

As one of the oldest remaining seafood chains, will Long John Silver’s survive the current calendar year despite well-publicized business challenges?

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Long John Silver’sShutterstock

Author’s Note

This article is based on corporate postings and accredited media reports. All linked information within this article is fully-attributed to the following outlets: Wikipedia.org, ScrapeHero.com, EatThis.com, Google.com, SeafoodSource.com, and IntraFish.com.

Introduction

This article represents the latest in a series that attempts to elucidate the truth behind internet rumors of restaurant closures.

Wikipedia features a comprehensive overview of the Long John Silver’s seafood chain. As excerpted from the dedicated company page: 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, the company was sold to a group of franchisees in September 2011 and is now 80% franchise-owned. The first restaurant opened on August 18, 1969, in Lexington, Kentucky. The original location, on 301 Southland Drive, was previously the Cape Codder seafood carry-out restaurant.

Wikipedia lists the company’s employee count at 10,000+, and 634 locations as of November 4, 2021.

To illustrate the volatility of today’s restaurant industry, according to ScrapeHero.com: There are 609 Long John Silver's locations in the United States as of June 10, 2022. The state with the most number of Long John Silver's locations in the US is Texas, with 88 locations, which is 14% of all Long John Silver's locations in America.

25 company locations, according to these figures, have closed in the last seven months, which is consistent with related online reports from similarly accredited outlets.

Let us explore further.

Long John Silver’s, 2022

A June, 2021 article published on EatThis.com, entitled “These Major Mistakes Caused the Decline of America's Largest Seafood Chain,” delved quickly into the heart of the matter and yet again can be considered a valid perspective as to the company’s volatility.

As excerpted from the article: The once-dominant seafood brand has halved in size and is struggling to remain relevant... The company's heyday was a ten-year period from about 1979 to 1989, during which it grew from a footprint of one thousand units to an all-time high of 1,500 locations. Today, the seafood chain claims a little under half of that amount, with about 701 units to its name.

Compare this number of location counts (701) to Wikipedia’s update (634) of five months later, to now (609) and that referenced volatility is punctuated.

Also, according to the EatThis article: The chain has been on a decline since at least 1989 when, in response to mounting debt, it first took its business private. In the three decades since, it's been handed off from one parent company to another and is still struggling to find its footing in the modern fast-food landscape.

The company has made no official comment of a company-wide closure, though a targeted Google search reveals industry concerns of continued individual location shutterings.

However, according to a January, 2021 article from SeafoodSource.com, the company itself expressed optimism for the then-coming year and months thereafter. From the website’s “After Rough 2020, Long John Silver’s Names New CEO, Unveils Revitalization Plan,” which discusses issues related to the pandemic in its 2020 performance: In early 2020, Long John Silver’s had its best start in nearly five years, according to a company press release. However, it was forced to close in-person dining at the start of the pandemic, leading to an immediate sales decline of between 30 and 40 percent during the peak Lenten season, which usually brings in the highest volumes of the year, the company said.

As of today, though, reports are the company’s business has been improving. As excerpted from IntraFish.com’s March, 2022 report, “U.S. Restaurant Long John Silver’s Continues to Grow and Expand While It Shuffles Management Team”: U.S. quick-service seafood restaurant chain Long John Silver’s said Monday it has completed its sixth consecutive quarter of same-store sales growth, and posted record-breaking average unit sales volumes in 2021. The restaurant chain said over the last two years it grew total system sales by 2.5 percent year-over-year. It did not, however, reveal what its annual sales are.

As with other restaurant chains adjusting their business models within the pandemic era, this article attributes the company’s improved performance in large part to drive-through and delivery efforts.

Conclusion

Though internet rumors continue to have Long John Silver’s as a possible pandemic-era casualty, to date there has been no official indication of a company-wide closure. The entity, it appears, is actively attempting to expand overseas, while continuing to strategically close under-performing locations in the U.S.

For now, this rumor is false.

Thank you for reading.

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I am an award-winning author, screenwriter for film and television, and producer. My mission on News Break is to share socially important perspectives on both culture and pop-culture. Member of PEN America, and the WGA.

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