Red Lobster Abruptly Closes Dozens Of Locations

Despite the allure of cheesy garlic biscuits and endless shrimp, Red Lobster locations are struggling mightily. Dozens have closed abruptly and are selling off their assets via auction. 

“The auction site includes grainy pictures of freezers, ovens, blenders and other items,” according to The New York Times. "A photo of a tank with live lobsters appeared in the listing for the Red Lobster in Redding, Calif., along with photos of a bar with whiskey bottles and a refrigerator stocked with wine and beer.”

A look at the restaurant chain's website reveals 87 stores temporarily closed across 27 states, according toUSA Today. The auctions were scheduled to end on Thursday, and items must be picked up on Friday, according to the liquidator, TAGeX Brands.



“The closures come as the popular seafood chain has struggled in recent years with increasing financial challenges—one of which was the popularity of its Endless Shrimp promotion, which led to an $11 million quarterly loss in late 2023,” according to Fast Company. “ Due to these financial hardships, there have been ongoing rumors that Red Lobster is considering filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.”

Red Lobster did not respond to requests for comment, reported several sources. The company has around 650 locations.

“The mass closures are another sign of problems at Red Lobster and one of the only times in its more than 50-year history the chain has closed dozens of stores at once,” notes CNN Business. “Red Lobster was a casual dining pioneer, bringing affordable seafood to middle-class consumers for the first time. But the chain has declined in recent years due to a range of factors, including corporate mismanagement, say former leaders and restaurant analysts.”

Casual dining has slipped from 36% of total restaurant industry sales in 2013 to 31% in 2023, notes Technomic, a restaurant research firm, according to CNN. 

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