“Fast food is the next big thing in Singapore,” my fat boss used to say. “One day, we’ll create Goody Food and sell cai png.”
As usual, we just listened and forgot about it the next day.
But he’s right about something (which is very rare): fast food is bigly business, which is why we’ve #FastFoodFriday articles.
While Singaporeans would often think of McDonald’s or KFC when it comes to fast food, there’s one that’s apparently pretty popular, but somehow did not get the attention it deserves: Long John Silver’s.
And for randomness’ sake, here are ten facts about Long John Silver’s, because we’ve run out of topics to write.
1.How it got its name
The brand’s name is derived from the novel Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson.
The pirate “Long John” Silver is one of the main characters.
So, yes, it really is connected to that book you read for literature when you were on secondary school.
2. A theme
You might not notice this, but the chain apparently puts in a lot of effort to commit to the seafaring theme.
Original restaurants had New England architecture and nautical decorations, replicating the seaside Cape Cod vibes.
Executives at Long John Silver’s teamed with a big movie release to do a promotional tie-in.
In 1994, before the release of The Little Rascals, a commercial for Long John Silver’s featured Alfalfa telling Darla that he got them a delicious shrimp and fish meal while on a romantic boat ride.
4. Followed by a fail
Four years later, the company tried the same tactic again, by partnering with another movie, Lost in Space.
The plan did not go as planned and pretty much failed.
Maybe they should engage Goody Feed in, say, 2019?
In the late 1980s and 1990s, Long John Silver’s experienced many waves of financial turmoil.
The price of fish went up, and the company was bought and sold several times.
Long John Silver’s filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 1998, which allowed them to continue operation while “protecting themselves from claims by creditors as it develops a financial reorganization plan”
They were sued for breach of contract for failing to pay for $3 million worth of Lost in Space toys.
In 1999, the parent company of A&W Restaurants (yes, the root beer) bought Long John Silver’s and created a new parent company, Yorkshire Global Restaurants.
Following that in 2002, Yorkshire Global Restaurants sold Long John Silver’s and A&W to Yum! Brands, a company that owned KFC, Taco Bell, and Pizza Hut.
In 2011, Yum! Brands decided to sell Long John Silver’s to LJS Partners.
Just three years later, LJS Partners attempted to sell Long John Silver’s, but the deal fell through.
Feels bad being “used” so many times huh?
7. Big plans
In 2016, Long John Silver’s executed a regional reboot of the brand to coincide with Lent.
Lent is a Christian tradition, a hallowed forty-day period of sacrifice in honour of Jesus’ death and Resurrection.
During Lent, Catholics and some Protestants prepare for the Holy Week by fasting, praying, and reconciling with the Lord.
Biblically, the flesh of fish is separated from the flesh of man, beast and bird, which is why people still consume fish.
During the Lenten season, Long John Silver’s expects to sell more than 20 million pieces of fish, which makes the season its busiest period.
8. Secret menu
Most food served in Long John Silver’s is fried (thanks captain obvious), and those little pieces of fried batter found on fish and fry platters can actually be ordered as a secret menu side dish.
Though we’re not sure if it works in Singapore. Give it and try and tell us?
However, as a responsible Singaporean, I’ve to add this: these fried batter are full of empty calories. Don’t eat them if you’re watching your weight.
9. All about pirates
The chain loves 19 September, also known as Talk Like A Pirate Day.
In 2015, Long John Silver’s offered a free fish or chicken tender to anyone who spoke like a pirate.
They also gave away free fish and chicken tender baskets to patrons wearing basic buccaneer apparel.
I would do anything for free food.
In 2013, the Center for Science in the Public Interest named Long John Silver’s “Big Catch” meal the worst restaurant meal in the US.
It revealed that the meal contained 33 grams of trans fat, 19 grams of saturated fat, 1,320 calories, and almost 3,700 milligrams of sodium.
In 2014, the company announced that it had eliminated trans fats from its menu.
Now, 1,320 calories is almost the calories required for a small lady. So you can bet why it created such a hoo-ha.