- Long John Silver’s has promoted President Blain Shortreed to CEO, according to a press release. Shortreed joined the brand in January 2019 as chief operating officer.
- Prior to Long John Silver’s, Shortreed spent nearly 30 years at Yum Brands in various leadership positions, including managing director of Pizza Hut's Middle East/North Africa Division and vice president of operations for Pizza Hut USA.
- The seafood QSR has been undergoing a revitalization plan, which began in 2019 and ran through 2020, when the company focused on stabilization. The second phase, which will focus on growth, will begin this year.
As part of its strategic plan, Long John Silver's reshaped its leadership and corporate structure, which included laying off about 20 positions in 2019 from its Louisville, Kentucky-based headquarters. The company has also brought in new leadership, promoting Stephanie Mattingly to chief marketing officer. Tom Burress also became vice president of franchise operations and Christopher Caudill was promoted to vice president of marketing.
Under Shortreed’s leadership, the company will focus this year on investing in operations, adding culinary options, mobile ordering, a guest rewards program, remodels and setting up locations in new areas. Long John Silver's will initially focus on a speed initiative to provide staff with tools, technology and training to increase accuracy and speed of service. The company also plans to offer pick-up and delivery from its own online platform, which is expected to launch in early 2021.
Beginning in 2019, the QSR has closed franchised and corporate locations that were no longer financially viable and investing in areas that had more opportunities for growth. The company, which had about 1,000 stores in 2019, currently operates around 700 units.
While the company entered 2020 with its best start in nearly five years, the pandemic and dining room closures led to drive-thru sales increasing from 40% to 95% of total sales, while sales dropped 30% to 40% during the peak of Lenten season, which is the biggest sales driver for the chain, according to the press release. The QSR shifted its focus to its drive-thru business, adding contactless delivery options and expanding family meal promotions and offerings.