Flavor Flav, The Boyeeee Who Cried Red Lobster

Though the giant clock ticks for us all, it looks like Red Lobster might be getting a reprieve from an unexpected source after filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last month.  

The stinging news, along with the subsequent closing of dozens of restaurants, apparently hit former rapper, VH-1 reality show Romeo, and RL superfan Flavor Flav so hard in his solar plexus  (that place beneath his clock) that in early June he started spontaneously visiting Red Lobster outlets and buying the whole menu, and then posting about it  on X and Instagram.

“Ya boy meant it when I said I was gonna do anything and everything to help @redlobster and save the cheddar bay biscuits, ordered the whole menu!!!” he wrote on X.

A photo shows him smiling while eating a biscuit, and standing over a long table impressively laden with colorful tails, claws, sides, and those aforementioned biscuits.



That post got over one million views on X, and almost that number on Instagram.

And he’s not kidding about the draw of the signature biscuits. When Tina Fey wrote her memoir "Bossypants" in 2011, she gave the cheddar biscuits a nod, writing, "There is no one of-woman-born who does not like Red Lobster cheddar biscuits. Anyone who claims otherwise is a liar and a Socialist."

But first, some non-socialist corporate history: It wasn’t the all-you-can-eat Endless Crab that did them in. Nor was it the much-maligned  Endless Shrimp.  Although the decision was not a good one when, in the fall of 2020, Red Lobster made the all-you-can- eat shrimp offer a weekly thing, rather than a seasonal event.  Yes, the cost of endless shrimp nearly broke them, as the American appetite for scarfing down three types of shrimp rivaled champion Joey Chestnut’s ability to tear through Nathan’s hot dogs.

But in truth the chain had been flagging for at least a decade after founder Bill Darden sold it to Golden Gate Capital for $2.1 billion in 2014.  Thai Union, a shrimp supplier, also became a large stakeholder, and overcharged Red for “supplies.” But here’s the real problem: Golden Gate Capital sold off most of the casual dining chain’s real estate to another company called American Realty Capital Properties, forcing Red Lobster to rent its own restaurants back as part of a sale-leaseback deal. This forced them to pay exorbitant rent on what the current CEO says was an already “bloated and underperforming restaurant footprint.”  The company has also cycled through five CEOs in the last three years.

The  Lobster still operates 400 restaurants, and the current CEO is a corporate restructuring expert.

And then our boyeeee brought something organic and regenerative to the RL menu: himself.

Red Lobster had the good sense to pick up on the online  love that Flave had attracted naturally. Last week, the chain announced  it was jettisoning its ad campaign for another, featuring the heroic seafood saver in its “Crab Your Way” campaign kicking off RL’s Crab Fest.

Crab Your Way?

Well, in the commercial, put together quickly by the folks at BarkleyOKRP, we do not see the “Flavor of Love” star, but we certainly hear his unmistakable voiceover, referring to himself in his signature third person. He almost raps  about his original story in a musical way, saying “When the Internet said Red Lobster’s going away, boyee Flavor Flav said not today!”  The spot, loaded with enticing food shots, also shows two of Flav’s short social media posts for added  proof of his intentions.

 He finishes with “The comeback you’ll be coming back for, Crabfest at Red Lobster.”

So, tick on everybody,  because this guy has proven himself the bulwark against bankruptcy.

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