Red Lobster?

Many famous chefs have sheepishly admitted they loved eating at Red Lobster. So do I. The biscuits are delicious, and even if the seafood is sometimes frozen or basic, the fact remains it is delicious. It’s not like any other restaurant charges bargain prices for lobster tails.

But after Covid, prices went up a lot. They had big losses after an all you can eat crab special years back. You think of all people, they would know how much crab people can eat. The story is that they are facing losses after running similar specials with shrimp. However, the price of a lot of shrimp is not that much more than a moderate amount. Plus you still add on drinks and such. And if it is true that some people could eat twenty servings of shrimp, why not cut the promotion short? Would limiting it to ten orders really annoy anyone but Lionel Hutz? (Mr. Simpson. I don’t often use the word hero. But you. Are the greatest hero. In American history.)

So I don’t fully buy it. Private venture capital is known to gut companies. And a part owner was also a seafood supplier, which might not make it easier to get bargain wholesale prices.

However, I am neither an expert on restaurants, seafood or business. So what caused this? How do you feel about it? And are you so removed from humanity that you do not love Cheddar Bay Biscuits, and so eat them in quantity when there?

The secret to the biscuits is they dip them in the shrimp scampi sauce.

I think it’s a Catch-22 thing with the all-you-can-eat deals. Nobody was coming in for the regular menu, the AYCE deals got them in the door, but then they didn’t order anything except the AYCE deal. They don’t appear to have any better ideas.

They could offer people two or three shrimp dishes at healthy profit and charge a bargain fee for more, that covers the wholesale costs. It doesn’t seem like a seafood restaurant should be unaware of what or how much people eat. Of course, some private capital does not always care if they run businesses aground?

(Thought of Café Society, but decided this is more business than cuisine. But move it if desired.)

Your suspicion is correct.

(If this tweet doesn’t embed for you, here is the content: “A hedge fund bought the company, sold off all the land Red Lobster restaurants are located on, leased the land back to Red Lobster, and jacked the rent. Just so you know what is really going on here”

As usual, vampire capitalists are happy to identify a company with a problematic medium-term future, deliberately transform that medium-term struggle into a short-term collapse in order to suck out all the value, and then abandon the husk and move on to the next target.

Off-topic, but as bad as private equity firms are for Red Lobster, it’s even worse when it’s inflicted on healthcare

I have a guilty, yet pleasant feeling about being part of having eaten a company into bankruptcy. Is that wrong?

Have you been to Corpus Christi? Our Red Lobster, just like almost any other restaurant here in town, is almost always packed, ongoing promotion or not. We didn’t become the fattest city in the world (until our neighbors in the Rio Grande Valley just to our south took away the title) for nothing. Presumably other Red Lobster’s were struggling, but if our’s was, it wasn’t due to a lack of customers. Not that we don’t have restaurants that go out of business, but when they do it’s almost always due to bad management, not a lack of customers.

Yes, yes it is.
But you made me laugh.

I have little knowledge of Red Lobster. Been there maybe 3 times. Everyone I was with loved, loved it. The CB biscuits being the big favorite.

My brother always said, “…it’s like you understand the food, know what it’s gonna be. No surprises. And that’s why it’s great!”

I don’t understand how they’re not making buckets of money. Other places offer AYCE and survive.

It’s very clearly explained in a couple of prior posts.

I can eat five heaping plates of crab legs. I’m a big dude. After four shrimp dishes, I don’t want more. But even if the average person did this, I can go to the Asian grocery store and buy a pound of shrimp retail for five dollars.

Our small city used to have three Red Lobsters. Since going down to one, it is generally busy. But I doubt this is really about the cost of shrimp, as said.

I don’t tweet. But this says the same thing, I’m sure.

Yes, thx. I read that.

I liked to order the feasts on mildly special occasions. But what seemed like a bargain at thirty bucks seemed pricey after Covid at sixty bucks. Especially if this extra was funding an artificial increase in rent. Given that change, not surprising many customers would opt for the greater value (and less profit) of langostinas.

Yeah- it ain’t all you can eat Shrimp. It is those damn private equity companies- who have killed many good companies.

I go up to Chicago a few times a year and crash at a friend’s place. One of the evenings I’m there we go to Red Lobster for the AYCE shrimp. We each have at least five servings, and (despite the supposed policy against it) almost always each get a serving to go. The last time we went the server also brought us each a basket of biscuits to go.

Yesterday I called my friend to see how she and her son were doing, and generally chat. At some point I joked with her how we were responsible, or at least complicit, in driving Red Lobster to bankruptcy.

Back in 1989 when I was first dating my future ex-wife, she got her first ever credit card. We celebrated by her breaking it in at the Red Lobster in La Jolla. It was our first “nice” dinner out together and the first time that I ate and entire lobster (as opposed to just the tail). My first and last time at one. We moved to a place without one nearby soon after that meal.

I saw the post and the link and thought “Is that going to take me to the Georg Rockall-Schmid video?”
Good on ya.

Yes, I prefer the explanation in this skeet, which will only be visible to people logged into Bluesky, so quoted below.

M.R. Bowers

Every article about Red Lobster filing for bankruptcy is “ha ha endless shrimp, what did they think would happen” and then buried ten paragraphs down is the usual:

The following year, Darden sold Red Lobster to Golden Gate Capital, a private equity firm, for $2.1 billion. To help fund the deal, Red Lobster spun off its real estate assets in a transaction known as a sale leaseback agreement. Red Lobster had long owned its own real estate but would now be paying rent to lease its restaurants.

Unfortunately my experience with Red Lobster has been tainted by my last visit there. It was near Salina, Kansas and being on a road trip we decided to treat ourselves to Red Lobster. The food was round lumps of white colored fish in pools of butter flavored grease. The biscuits were good, though.

The biggest issue was the completely unmasked racism. There was a large group of Mexican men eating at one table. They had that dirty look like they’d just finished a hard day’s work, but weren’t loud or otherwise disruptive. They finished and left shortly after we got our food.

Then we overheard the server tell another table she was glad they were gone, because she didn’t think she should have to serve them. To which the other table replied that people like that shouldn’t be allowed in a nice place like this. People love to make up excuses why some story wasn’t racism, but from what we could tell at the table next to those guys, their biggest offenses were wearing work boots and talking in Spanish to each other (not the server).

I don’t find that the prices in Toronto have gone up more than any other restaurant. And now they regularly have all-you-can-eat shrimp instead of only on special occasions.