Red Lobster

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Red Lobster
Type Wholly owned subsidiary
Industry Restaurant
Genre Casual dining
Founded March 1968 (1968-03)
Lakeland, Florida, U.S.
Founder(s) Bill Darden and Charley Woodsby
Headquarters 1000 Darden Center Drive
Orlando, Florida, U.S. 32837
Number of locations 705 (2013)
Area served United States
Saudi Arabia
Canada
Japan
United Arab Emirates
Qatar
Key people Clarence Otis, Jr.
(CEO/Chairman of Darden)
Salli Setta
(President of Red Lobster)
Products Seafood, Chicken, Steaks, Pasta
Parent Darden Restaurants, Inc.
Website www.RedLobster.com
References: [1][2]

Red Lobster is an American casual dining restaurant chain that is owned and operated by Darden Restaurants, Inc., headquartered in Orlando, Florida. The company also has operations in Canada, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Japan. As of February 24, 2013, there were 705 Red Lobster locations worldwide. On December 19, 2013, Darden announced it plans to sell or spin-off the Red Lobster brand, citing pressure from stock investors.[3]

History[edit]

Red Lobster was founded in March 1968 by entrepreneurs Bill Darden and Charley Woodsby. Originally billed as a "Harbor for Seafood Lovers", the first restaurant in Lakeland, Florida, was followed by several others throughout the southeast. In 1970, General Mills acquired Red Lobster as a five-unit company. With new backing, the chain expanded rapidly in the 1980s.

Red Lobster entered Canada in the 1980s, in many cases by buying Ponderosa restaurant locations. The company generally maintains between 25 and 30 locations in Canada, the bulk in larger urban centres in Ontario (across Southern Ontario plus one in Sudbury in Northern Ontario) with a smaller number in larger urban centres in all three Prairie provinces. It exited the Quebec market in September 1997 due to financial losses and never attempted to enter the market in British Columbia.[4]

In 1995, Red Lobster (along with Olive Garden and other sister chains), became part of Darden Restaurants, Inc.. During that time, General Mills decided to release Darden into an independent, publicly traded corporation.[2]

True to its name and slogan, the brand specializes in most seafood, including lobster, shrimp, fish and squid.

New prototype[edit]

The new prototype design as seen at the Baton Rouge, Louisiana location.

In 2009, Red Lobster debuted its new "Bar Harbor" restaurant prototype modeled after coastal New England.[5] The new exterior features include shingle and stone towers, signal flags and Adirondack-style benches. The interior updates include dark wood paneling, warm-toned fabrics, soft lighting, and nautical decor and artwork.[6] Ironically, there are only four Red Lobster restaurants in New England itself, all of which are located in western Connecticut closer to the New York state line.

Promotions[edit]

A Gaithersburg, Maryland Red Lobster restaurant in September 2013.
A Red Lobster restaurant in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Red Lobster has offered an endless snow crab leg promotion twice in its history. However, in 2003, the promotion resulted in parent company Darden Restaurants taking a $3 million charge to third quarter earnings, resulting in president Edna Morris' departure from the company. The ill-timed promotion was launched amid high wholesale crab leg prices. The chain also underestimated how many times a guest would order more. Further complicating matters at the restaurant level was the amount of time a guest spent table-side in the restaurant cracking crab legs. This resulted in increased wait times in the lobby and overall diminished guest capacity per hour.[7]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Notes

  1. ^ "Darden 2011 Annual Report" (PDF). Darden Restaurants, Inc. Retrieved April 12, 2012. 
  2. ^ a b Darden Restaurants, Inc. (May 29, 2011). "FY 2011 10-K". U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Retrieved April 11, 2012. 
  3. ^ "Darden Looking to Spin off or Sell Red Lobster by 2015". Moneynews. Retrieved 23 December 2013. 
  4. ^ "Dur coup pour la restauration au Québec et en Ontario". Radio-Canada Nouvelles. September 13, 1997. Retrieved May 18, 2012.  (In French.)
  5. ^ "Bar Harbor - Overview". Darden Concepts, Inc. Retrieved April 11, 2012. 
  6. ^ Perla Trevizo (December 25, 2009). "Red Lobsters cook up fresher look". timesfreepress.com. Retrieved April 11, 2012. 
  7. ^ Benita D. Newton (September 26, 2003). "All-you-can-eat was too much". St. Petersburg Times Online. Retrieved April 11, 2012. 

External links[edit]