Latest LJS Acquisition Boosts Ownership to 20% of Units

The Long John Silver’s (LJS) quick service seafood restaurant chain has acquired 76 franchise outlets operated by ServUS in central and northern Indiana, western Kentucky and southwestern Michigan. The units were purchased from veteran franchisee Bob Ruckriegel, who opened the third Long John Silver’s restaurant in 1969, the year the company was founded.

“This is an excellent opportunity to continue our brand revitalization,” said Brian Unger, president and chief operating officer of Louisville, Kentucky-headquartered Long John Silver’s. “We’re thrilled to add an extensive lineup of well-performing restaurants to our company-owned portfolio and to continue the legacy that Bob has left behind.”

LJS fish mealThe transaction, terms of which were not disclosed, has expanded the LJS’ company-owned system to 200 restaurants and includes the addition of ServUS’ highly experienced operations team.

With nearly 1,000 restaurants serving customers in the United States, Long John Silver’s is well known for offering wild-caught Alaskan whitefish hand-dipped in its signature batter and lightly fried. Among other items on the menu are shrimp, chicken, sandwiches, french fries, hushpuppies, onion rings, additional side dishes and desserts.

“This brand holds a special place in my heart and we’re very proud of the work we’ve put into these restaurants for the last 49 years,” said Ruckriegel. “I know these restaurants and the team running them are in great hands.”

LJS restaurant interior redesignIn shifting from a 100% franchised system, Long John Silver’s began acquiring restaurants in late 2015. Today the company owns 20% of the chain’s units, making it the largest LJS restaurant operator.

LJS recently began the process of revitalizing its image, swapping the nostalgic Cape Cod building elements for clean, nautical-themed lines of a new design. The renovated restaurants have reported double digit growth, and the former ServUs units in Indiana will showcase this contemporary change as well as feature the brand’s new grilled platform.