A company that operates Long John Silver’s locations in Illinois, Iowa and two other states has closed some locations and plans to close more.
Nellis Management, a real estate and restaurant management company based in Urbandale, Iowa, owns 31 LJS locations including five in Illinois and 17 in Iowa. Their website said they have been a Long John Silver’s franchisee since 1972.
Several of those locations closed the second week of June 2014 and more closures were expected. Eight of the 16 planned closures were locations in Iowa including Ankeny, Cedar Rapids, Des Moines, Dubuque, Fort Dodge, Marshalltown, Muscatine and West Des Moines.
Crews were reportedly removing signs and other branding items from the LJS location in Muscatine on Tuesday, June 10, 2014. The Galesburg, Illinois location closed June 9, and employees were reportedly told that same day that the restaurant was closing. The Dubuque, Iowa location also reportedly closed that day, and the Marshalltown, Iowa location was expected to close Wednesday, June 11. A Cedar Rapids location was reportedly closing Thursday, June 12.
The complete list of planned closings was not published, but there was no indication that the Moline, Burlington or Davenport locations would be immediately impacted.
The company announced it would close a total of 16 LJS locations due to poor sales, which Nellis officials blamed on negative media coverage in 2013 for their use of trans fat oil for cooking. The Center for Science in the Public Interest dubbed the LJS “Big Catch” meal the worst restaurant meal in America in a July 2013 report.
The company began using a new oil in 2014. The Fort Dodge Messenger reported Nellis’ chairman of the board Richard Levitt said he hoped the trend could be reversed and that they might be able to reopen some locations in the future.