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…

  7. Vicki Traughber December 28, 2013 at 8:34 am

    Greasy high calorie foods are a high price to pay for your health and your budget. Even your lunch menu is pricey for the average family. I just recently learned that you support Planned Parenthood so I will be boycotting Darden and spreading the word on that as well.

    • Bitty January 10, 2014 at 12:33 pm

      Vickie, people like you aren’t going to change anyone’s mind- I don’t care how many abortions they perform, anyone who wants to take away cheap, adequate healthcare for women who couldn’t afford it anywhere else are either selfish and delusional or so privileged they can’t possibly begin to put themselves in the shoes of a woman who must use these clinics. Your “boycotting” Darden or planned parenthood won’t do anything but waste time, thank God. Ridiculous and pathetic.

    • Bitty January 10, 2014 at 12:42 pm

      e more thing, Vickie- red lobster has plenty of healthy options. Don’t waste your time “spreading the word”, because that would help themSTAY in business,seeing as the average sane person wouldn’t want to snatch the only healthcare available
      away from women of a lower income bracket. Judgmental people like you need to take
      a hard look in the mirror and put yourself in the shoes of a 12 year old girl who was raped, an 18 year old from a poor family who needs treatment for a UTI or any other woman or girl who need these clinics. You are not very astute if you think the majority shares your radical Views.

    • Pro-life for ever January 16, 2014 at 3:47 pm

      Vicki, good for you! I found out about that almost a year ago and we haven’t been back since. I also share what I’ve learned and several family members and friends have boycotted Darden as well. I know it won’t really stop anything, but I can’t sit there and eat my shrimp knowing that even a little bit of my money will go towards tearing babies apart. And whether anyone wants to admit it or not, that’s all pp really wants to do. It’s all about money and abortions are expensive. They don’t even perform some of the services they offer. And if they really cared about woman, they would tell them the truth and stop lying!

  8. Melissa Apodaca December 28, 2013 at 8:27 am

    I used to love Red Lobster until I discovered the all-you-can-eat seafood buffets at the casinos. You pay the same price and get plenty more. Also, Red Lobster kind of reminds me of fast food for some reason.

  9. Laurie Barbee December 27, 2013 at 10:18 pm

    I’ve been boycotting Darden Restaurants for about a year now because of their support of Planned Parenthood.

    • Bitty January 10, 2014 at 12:28 pm

      You don’t support clinics that are sometimes the ONLY option for women who need healthcare but can’t afford it?! Wow, what a great person you are. You boycotting a company because they support a worthy cause doesn’t matter to anyone. Hopefully, privileged, delusional people that don’t support PP don’t stop even one girl from getting treated at these clinics that have helped so many.

  10. Rebecca Savastio December 27, 2013 at 6:37 pm

    Triton, what are you going to sue me for? Writing an editorial? Please enjoy my new article about your company’s whining: We’re reporting on the speculation; we never said the restaurant is definitely closing. Darden says they expect the company to be sold or spin off. How can anyone possibly know what will happen in the future? The truth is, you can’t. The article is my opinion. Welcome to United States. We have freedom of speech here. Keep bullying me, go right ahead. Is that what you do, go around trying to strong arm writers?


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