The Truth About Red Lobster

The Truth About Red Lobster


In the late 1960’s, a couple of restaurant
moguls put their heads together and came up
with a brilliant idea: affordable, fresh lobster
for everyone!
Nearly 50 years later, Red Lobster is still
going strong.
But how much do you really know about your
favorite place to get butter all over your
shirt?
Here’s a look at the truth about Red Lobster.
“Red Lobster for the seafood lover in you.”
Humble beginnings
The success of Red Lobster owes itself to
the vision of Bill Darden and Charley Woodsby.
In 1963, Darden, who was just 19 years old
when he opened his first restaurant, teamed
up with Woodsby to buy a popular joint in
Orlando called Gary’s Duck Inn, which was
famous for its seafood.
Gary’s Duck Inn became such a massive success
for them that they decided to take the basic
premise of fresh lobster and shrimp and use
it to start a second restaurant in Lakeland,
Florida.
In 1968, that new restaurant opened under
the name Red Lobster.
Just two years later, they had expanded to
five locations across the south.
The success of the chain caught the eye of
General Mills, who bought out the whole operation
in 1970.
Massive expansion
Following the acquisition by General Mills,
Red Lobster rapidly expanded across the country,
and eventually the world.
By 2013, it boasted 705 locations worldwide,
and by 2016 those international locations
included restaurants in Canada, Mexico, Ecuador,
Brazil, Japan, Malaysia, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi
Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.
Red hot
Considering the chain is nearly five decades
old, you might think that the clientele skews
towards the grey hair crowd.
But in fact, Red Lobster is enjoying renewed
popularity with the youth of America, with
millennials between the ages of 18 and 24
voting it their number one casual dining restaurant
in a recent Nation’s Restaurant News survey.
One unexpected reason for that popularity
surge?
Beyoncé.
Her hit song “Formation,” which she performed
during Super Bowl 50, features Mrs. Carter
singing about Red Lobster.
Sales rose 33 percent immediately after Red
Lobster got the free advertising from the
biggest album of the year.
Never underestimate the power of the Bey-Hive.
“When he f— me good, I take his ass to Red
Lobster, cause I slay”
“When he f— me good, I take his ass to Red
Lobster, ’cause I slay”
Controversy and lawsuits
Not everything is coming up roses for Red
Lobster, though.
Over the last decade, the company has been
involved in some high profile controversies,
most famously in 2013, when a server at a
Tennessee location accused a patron of writing
a racist message on the receipt in place of
a tip.
The diner then counter-sued for defamation,
claiming he was the victim of a hoax.
Red Lobster was found to not be at fault,
and the waitress walked away with almost $11,000
in tips from a fundraising effort set up in
her name.
In a separate incident, parent company Darden
Restaurants – which is named for Red Lobster
founder Bill Darden – ended up paying tens
of thousands of dollars in damages and fines
after the government investigated allegations
of sexual harassment and underpayment of staff.
And the company got another black eye in 2016
when an Inside Edition story revealed that
some of their lobster bisque was actually
not lobster at all.
“according to the lab, the lobster in one
sample was actually langostino.
Two others had a combination of langostino
and lobster.
This is a langostino, and it looks nothing
like a lobster.”
A langostino is more closely related to a
hermit crab than a lobster, so….
Bleah.
Still going strong
Considering Red Lobster was the foundational
piece in the creation of Darden Restaurants,
you’d think they would be protective about
the brand.
However, you’d be wrong, because in 2014,
Darden Restaurants actually sold off Red Lobster
to Golden Gate Capital for $2.1 billion dollars.
Part of the reason they wanted out was the
expense involved in getting fresh seafood,
especially since prices can fluctuate wildly
depending on supply and demand.
In 2016, Golden Gate sold a minority stake
in the company to seafood distributor Thai
Union Group, which will lower those costs
by providing product in house.
So will that lower the quality of the food
at Red Lobster?
Probably not.
Though you’ve likely never heard of Thai Union
Group, they already own a brand you might
be familiar with: Chicken of the Sea.
And you know what that means: Jessica Simpson
must love Red Lobster now.
“Why is it called Chicken… by the sea or
in the sea?”
“Chicken Of The Sea is the brand.”
“Ohhh.”
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100 thoughts on “The Truth About Red Lobster”

  1. The red lobster where we can go to it because there is a cook there that had hep c and when we ate there some people got sick

  2. I should've sued when I was sexually harassed by my coworker in 2007. The manager said she suspended him for a few days, come to find out, he already had those days off. It was bullshit!

  3. Red Lobster, olive Garden, Bahama Breeze, Long Horn Steak House. all owned by the same corp' All rip offs all overpriced crap food. The shrimp at R L needs a magnifying glass to find & You can't afford to order the maine lobster.. It coat almost a whole paycheck to eat there.. So many more local places to spend your money at. save your money & screw these places

  4. Red lobster sucks. If you have a legit seafood place near by and go to red lobster instead you are trash.

    The ONLY good thing from there is the damn biscuits.

  5. They engage in misleading advertising. Their KOP restaurant charges separately for drinks that they advertise as being part of their endless shrimp menu on their website.

  6. Tried it once because it was the only "decent" place in the area I was visiting. Is it real seafood or was it made in a lab? I couldn't tell. Never again!

  7. The food is gross, unless you like the taste of a salt lick. Horrible stuff that barely passes as food which all comes from a commissary. Never go. Give your money to a small, local business instead.

  8. COLEY FOLEY SAYS: THAT FUCKIN "RED LOBSTER" ON THEIR SIGN IS NAMED "CLAWDE", BTW… HAHAHA! (THEY STILL HAVE A VERY FUCKIN POOR SELECTION OF FUCKIN STEAKS TO PAIR WITH THEIR LOBSTERS THOUGH…)

  9. I need the good thing is at Red Lobster is a cheddar biscuit and the shrimp scampi if you don't get shrimp or lobster tail you might getting some other kind of fish

  10. Do they just but frozen seafood and re-fry it? I doubt they actually hand –
    Bread the shellfish and cook it themselves

  11. sweet chilli shrimp + lobster bisque soup + 12oz medium rare new york striploin + steamed atlantic lobster tail… is what i order…

  12. Langustino lobster is not worth the price they charge… All it is is a freaking saltwater crawfish…. And I'm pretty sure they use pre-cooked frozen shrimp in all their dishes which they just warm up for the plate! 👎👎👎

  13. Red Lobster makes many of their dishes using sea-food (mostly shrimp) from Thailand which uses slave labor from human trafficking.

  14. I don’t eat in any franchise restaurants. Everything is prepared behind closed doors, and they hire teenagers to prepare the food . They piss in the soup take food off the floor and put it on the plate and who knows what else. I’ve talked to some and they have told me what goes on.

  15. Wish I could have eaten at the green frog when it was open. Would have been tasty, but Darden never wanted to keep that place open.

  16. I ate at red lobster once in edmonton alberta canada. I picked the lobster i wanted from the tank and i watched them pluck it out. The lobster i ate was freezer burned and that night my lobster was put back into the tank.

    Never again.

  17. The truth? That the food sucks and is overpriced! Mostly processed food that is microwaved ( by illegal aliens…at least in Illinois)! Basically, like most chains, it is lipstick on a pig 🐷 food wise!

  18. People are stoopid. About 38 years ago, I went into a Red Lobster and they served me Langoustine. My wife and I walked out and refused to pay. I'm a Jew. You ain't conning me, bitches…

  19. I went to Red Lobster on 2 / 10 / 19 , that will be the last time ever . Got sick from bad seafood stayed in bed 24 hours . Red Lobster you SUCK .

  20. local red lobster is less not for us anymore, the servers were so untrained it was pitiful, the salads had things which were inedible in them and the cost for that was high, overdone shrimp, its bad

  21. We went to Red Lob. a year ago, first time for us. We had great expectations of a lovely meal. It was the worst dining exper. we have had. Honestly the food tasted old, and stale. Actually a couple sitting across from us mentioned aloud how their dinner was garbage, I agreed. Will never ever waists a dime again at Red lob.

  22. Who would want to eat bottom feeders anyway. I worked there 13 yrs ago and had to split my tips with the bus boys. You really can't make good money there.

  23. GROSS… I've never had a decent meal at a Red Lobster…I often go to Myrtle Beach, SC…FRESH SEAFOOD galore and for some reason the Red Lobster is busy… it's because people are STUPID ..they think the seafood is Fresh…the don't know it's trucked in from California…it crosses America before hitting your plate…WAKE UP PEOPLE….

  24. Ever since the discontinued the seafood bisque, the quality of their food took a nosedive while they upped the prices. haven't eaten there in years

  25. Have you heard about the new policy that servers have to allocate a portion of their tips to the hostess and busboys?

  26. red lonster is sometimes dead lobster…a sleeper is an unboiled lobster that is half dead…boil it and it is red and tastes ok…restaurants can buy them for 60% of live lobster and N.E. lobster is 10X better than ones from FL folks

  27. I’ve never been because I don’t like seafood. And, from what I’ve heard, red lobster isn’t good.

  28. They closed the wonderful Red Lobster in my neighborhood to put up a bunch of high rises.  I feel sad every time I drive by that area and miss having lunch there with friends.  The closest one to me is too far to go to all the trouble getting there.  Hey, Red Lobster, why not consider reopening a restaurant in the Falls Church/Arlington, VA area?

  29. It tastes like frozen seafood. Hideous, but the line for Olive Garden is long, and that food is just as awful, so no accounting for taste.

  30. Red Lobster is too expensive for me. I took my family there to eat and had to forgo my own meal and just order myself a drink only because the prices were so high. But lots of places are priced high nowadays. Got a dinner at one restaurant recently and it was $20 and didn’t even come with ONE side. That’s why I’m cooking at home all next month! Omg.

  31. I don't know where your Red Lobsters are but the one near me has excellent food worth the price.

  32. I miss the retro red lobster…it’s completely lost it’s nautical atmosphere, the food is not as good and now every employee looks like they’re either just out of prison or about to be in a rap video

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