Red Lobster Sold and Olive Garden Should Be Next

Red Lobster

Red Lobster has been sold and the future of the restaurant chain is uncertain at best. Last year, Guardian Liberty Voice published several stories about the possibility of Red Lobster closing its doors forever, and as a result, received numerous threats of lawsuits from people claiming to represent Red Lobster. Now, however, it is clear that the seafood chain’s future is tenuous since no one knows exactly what new owner Golden Gate Capital plans to do with the brand. There had been talk of possibly spinning off the chain into a more casual “fast food” type of establishment, but so far, there’s been no word on what, exactly, will happen. The possibility still remains that Red Lobster will close for good. This would actually be best for everyone, especially the public. In fact, Olive Garden should be next, because its food is even worse than the food at Red Lobster.

While shareholders for Red Lobster were busy wringing their hands and getting mad at newspaper reporters for giving opinions on the sub-par seafood restaurant, parent company Darden continued to ignore the real problem, which was always the food itself. Sure, they tried offering a variety of specials to lure back lost customers, but no one wants to eat cold, over-salted, microwaved food no matter how inexpensive it is. Unless company executives begin to understand that, there is no hope for Red Lobster or its sister company, Olive Garden.

The food at Olive Garden is an embarrassment to all people of Italian descent, and bears no resemblance whatsoever to the food in Italy. In fact, the Olive Garden commercials are downright hilarious as they portray Olive Garden chefs traveling to Italy for new recipe ideas. This is preposterous, to say the least. Red Lobster has been sold, and the new owners ought to just give up and close the chain permanently. Olive Garden should be next.

Before the sale of the beleaguered seafood chain earlier this week, profits had been on a downward spiral and were down 8.7% in one year. Darden shares overall were down 4% and this is because Darden execs are obviously not paying attention to food quality. Here’s how Darden can recover from their financial downturn and avoid Olive Garden being the next victim of a sale.

First: get rid of all the microwaves and freezers in all Darden restaurants; and that means all of them, no excuses. No one wants your re-heated food, Darden. If people wanted to eat previously frozen food heated in a microwave, they would stay home and eat a Lean Cuisine off of a TV tray. That’s why Chipotle has been cited as edging out brands like Red Lobster. Chipotle does not have microwaves, freezers or can openers on the premises of any of their restaurants. Times have changed since 1968, Darden, but your company has failed to change with them. Back in the 70s and 80s when Red Lobster was booming, microwaves were still new things and thus, eating food heated in them was acceptable. Now, society has moved into this whole “farm fresh, sustainable” deal, so you need to get with the program. Hire real chefs who are committed to cooking real, fresh food from local sources. Throw in some organic items, too. People love the organic thing these days.

Second: lower the prices on the wine. Your wine prices were always, and still remain, outrageous for the cheapo brands you sell. Lower the prices on your wine, and people will start flowing in just for reasonable alcohol.

Third: Clean up your act. Some of your restaurants are dirty, run down and just plain awful. Renovate the worst and clean up the rest. Make sure your staff is on top of keeping the bathrooms clean, too. They are often disgraceful. If you make your restaurants nicer overall in terms of ambiance, it will go a long way in their possibly avoiding the same fate suffered by Red Lobster.

The most important of all these points, though, is by far the food issue. Normal citizens who aren’t bigwig fat cat company executives often wonder what the corporate millionaires are doing at Darden, because those head honchos are definitely not paying any attention to the food. Maybe they are busy lolling about on yachts and driving overpriced cars. Instead of spending time being typical corporate d*****bags, improve the food, and everything will change.

Red Lobster has been sold, and Olive Garden should be next; that is, unless parent company Darden takes actual steps to improve the lousy cuisine they try to pass off as good casual dining. Otherwise, it won’t be just the over-salted cheddar biscuits that are in jeopardy, but the unlimited bowls of watery and sometimes partially frozen piles of iceberg lettuce as well.

Opinion by: Rebecca Savastio

Source:

Washington Post

Forbes