Red Lobster May Close Its Doors Forever?-Update

Red Lobster

Update: Guardian Liberty Voice received a letter from Red Lobster parent company Darden saying Red Lobster will not be closing. However, their official press release says they expect the chain will be sold or spun off. Due to this fact, there is still wide speculation among consumers that the brand could be in trouble and could end up eventually closing, just as many previous business have done in the past after being sold. The original opinion piece, below, only intended to report on the rampant speculation and not to suggest that Red Lobster would definitely close. The title of this article has been changed to better reflect its intent.

Original Editorial:

Better stock up on the cheddar biscuits and shrimp prepared in an endless variety of ways; upon the news that Red Lobster’s parent company is not doing well financially, many are speculating that the chain may close its doors forever. Parent company Darden also announced that it is nixing the opening of any new Olive Gardens as well as cutting down on new locations of LongHorn Steakhouses. The company has been struggling financially and recently reported a whopping 31 percent drop in earnings for its last quarter.

Darden has been discussing a “spinoff” restaurant, leaving some asking if that’s the same as a television show spinoff like The Jeffersons or Frasier. However, it appears Darden is not going to be “moving on up”; chatter is focused on more casual chains that offer fast food, such as Chipotle, as models for a possible Red Lobster spinoff. In fact, chains like Chipotle, Panera and others that offer very fast, freshly prepared food to diners in a rush are being blamed for Red Lobster’s demise.

Darden says the overall economy has prevented its main demographic from eating out at the price point expected for a restaurant like Red Lobster. Consumers, Darden CEO Clarence Otis seemed to suggest, are increasingly turning to establishments that offer lower prices, and those who can afford a higher price point haven’t been successfully captured by the Red Lobster brand. He said there have been “relatively low levels of consumer demand in each of the past several years for restaurants generally, and for casual dining in particular, as well as additional unexpected softness since June.”

Some consumers are saying that Darden may have underestimated the importance and focus on well-prepared, local, sustainable and “farm to table” type cuisine that the fine dining set craves. “If I’m going to pay $25.95 for an entrée, I could go down the street to the locally owned bistro and dine on locally sourced entrees, enjoy a much nicer and cleaner ambiance and drink imported wines. At the big chains, the whole experience is catered to their corporate office as opposed to the vision and desires of the local diner,” says Rob Green, a Philadelphia native. “There’s a Red Lobster near me, but I would pass it by every time for an independently owned place,” Green says.

Jezebel blogger Lindy West recently wrote a piece entitled People Don’t Want to Eat at Red Lobster or Olive Garden Anymore. In it, she nails what some might say is “the elephant in the room” by explaining:

So here’s ONE idea I had: If you want more people to eat at your restaurant, maybe make the food a tiny bit better? Like…serve people crab legs that actually have crab in them? Because it’s not like Olive Garden or Red Lobster are even that cheap. They’re kind of expensive! Why not just make the food, you know, worth the price?

When corporations ignore quality and the desires of diners in favor of the increasing bottom line of the company, they often find that bottom line shrinking rather than growing; and the real bottom line, and harsh reality for the big corporate execs, is that the food at Red Lobster and Olive Garden is often sub-par. Red Lobster may close its doors forever, but is that really such a bad thing? One thing’s for sure: if Olive Garden follows suit, many Italian foodies will rejoice.

An Editorial by Rebecca Savastio

LA Weekly

New York Times

Huffington Post

74 Responses to Red Lobster May Close Its Doors Forever?-Update

  1. Mary February 3, 2014 at 9:00 am

    I love red lobsters I go there all the time and they got good food

  2. julie January 5, 2014 at 6:43 am

    I have not eaten at Red Lobster since I got a lobster that tasted like amonia. I told the waitress and nothing was done about it. They can close and it won’t hurt my feelings at all.

  3. Carlene Ferrick January 5, 2014 at 5:13 am

    I agree.. .I usually got the crab legs and coconut shrimp. Not much in the crab legs, but coconut shrimp was good. For the price I could hit the casino’s in Lawrenceburg and Rising Sun. Rising Sun has King crab spicy or regular and deep fried shrimp and peel and eat shrimp. Also prime rib and ribs. Yummy

  4. Karen E January 1, 2014 at 10:32 am

    The sad fact is the chain had gotten greedy. The sacrificed quantity and quality. I do not mind people raising prices slightly if they keep the quantity and quality the same. I have always gotten the ultimate feast. I remember when it used to be 16.95. You got enjoy food you were stuffed and took home leftovers. I have since had weight lost surgery. The price went up like 10.00 a plate and eat everything on my plate and leave hungry. The tasty is not as good. The portions are cut in half and the product is smaller. The lobster tail is no bigger than the tail of a crayfish I used I used to catch as a kid in the creek. The shrimp are almost now the size of canned mini shrimp for salads. The crab legs you are now lucky if you get one leg and a claw. That is the problem.

    • Bitty January 10, 2014 at 12:58 pm

      It’s called inflation. Everything on earth goes up in price with time, so yeah, of course food does too! And I just ate at RL for lunch today- if their huge portions are too small for you, you may be contributing to the problem of Americans demanding portions five times bigger than what they should be. The portions are STILL much larger than what is actually adequate. I don’t even see a difference in portion size compared to 15 years ago! Eating a salad, an entree with two sides and endless biscuits should never end up in you “leaving hungry”- that is insane.

  5. txgator24 December 30, 2013 at 9:33 am

    I wouldn’t sue you, but I personally disagree with you. I love red lobster. Being from central Texas, we have no local crabs or lobster to catch. So those of you from the coast or one of those tiny N.E. States, shut up with that. Enjoy your local produce, we will enjoy our shipped in crab legs. Helbig. Someone who does that because they THINK someone won’t tip well….THEY are the problem. And would probably do it regardless where they are. They are not decent human beings nor are those that know they do it and do nothing to stop them. And I’m betting they did not learn that from their employee handbook. Not going to a restaurant because of that is tediculous.

  6. J helbig December 28, 2013 at 8:12 pm

    I will not there anyway, my step daughter works at one, she told me if someone doesn’t look like they are going to tip enough, they sneeze , spit or roll the lobster on the floor. Will not even patronize or look at it!

    • Bitty January 10, 2014 at 12:35 pm

      So because there are a few idiots at that one location, they all must do that?? News flash: there are waiters at the most expensive restaurants on earth who do the same thing. My sister also worked at RL and they were extraordinarily strict about rules. No way would anyone caught doing that keep their jobs. By the way, you can’t tell what anyone is going to tip, which every server knows…


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