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The demise of Red Lobster is a perfect case study in how to kill a business

DrQ

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Red Lobster is abruptly closing dozens of restaurants​


New YorkCNN —​
Struggling Red Lobster is abruptly closing at least 48 of its restaurants around the country, according to a leading restaurant liquidator.​
TAGeX Brands is conducting an online auction of Red Lobster kitchen equipment, furniture and other contents at restaurants closing. The auction begins Monday and continues through Thursday, according to company founder Neal Sherman.​
 

1Kflyerguy

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Yes, I saw this on the business news. Sad ending, though since it's been 15 or 20 years since I last ate there, can't say I will miss them much.
 

Talent312

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I wonder what will happen to their live lobsters, if they haven't been eaten yet.

You may still be able to get a box-mix for their cheddar biscuits at Walmart and local groceries.
 

jme

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We have two Red Lobster restaurants in our home town, and the one nearest our home is actually very good. It's also recently undergone a very nice renovation.
We visit there about once every month or two. Most every item is very tasty and well done, and the place is very comfortable and clean.
When my wife and I are headed out "somewhere" to dinner if it's spontaneous and we don't have reservations, and I present her with a short list
from which to choose, when she hears "Red Lobster" it's frequently a done deal.
I'm not always putting it on the list as each time I'll include several varying places (mostly what I am craving that night).
The choice is always made at the end of our driveway, our tradition, so I'll know which way to turn, lol.

Walt's Fried Shrimp, the Clam Strips, and several of the combination plates are really good. And I like the non-fried items too.
Of course it's not Boston's seafood, where we love to go in the Fall, or even Hilton Head's seafood, which happens to be superb, but it'll do just fine.
It's always a quick, tasty, and inexpensive meal. Hope ours remain open. 🦞🐟🦐
 

DrQ

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REVEALED: Full list of Red Lobster restaurant closures as popular chain considers bankruptcy - find out if YOUR favorite is affected​

  • Florida and California will lose the most restaurants
  • The contents of closed locations will be auctioned off online on Thursday
  • Scroll down to see the list of locations by state
 

davidvel

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Red Lobster has always been described to me as "The poor person's seafood restaurant." (Or more derogatory terms.) Looking at the locations in California, they appear to be properly located given the description. We frequented them a lot when we were younger, and enjoyed the meals and value as compared to more local restaurants.

Lower end restaurants seemed to have narrowed the gap in price with higher end restaurants, and it just didn't make sense to go to a mass produced lesser quality place for not such a savings. But offering unlimited shrimp at a fixed price (likely shared by multiple people in this no shame day and age) seems to have been their downfall per most accounts.
 

amycurl

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Waffle Houses also serve a very important role in emergency response. So much so that FEMA has actually embraced the Waffle House Index. As climate change brings ever-worsening and frequent storms, this role will become even more important over time.



Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
 

joestein

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I wonder what will happen to their live lobsters, if they haven't been eaten yet.

You may still be able to get a box-mix for their cheddar biscuits at Walmart and local groceries.
They have frozen boxes of their biscuits at Sams Club - I think it was on deep discount when I bought it.
 

1Kflyerguy

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You may still be able to get a box-mix for their cheddar biscuits at Walmart and local groceries.
In many situation the grocery store options for famous restaurant items are actually produced and sold by different company under a licenses. If you think about it, big consumer package goods company has factories and distribution agreements with grocery stores, so items like are an easy add on for them.

I am not sure if these biscuits are handled this way, but i would not be surprised. If so they may live on for quite a while.
 

ScoopKona

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In many situation the grocery store options for famous restaurant items are actually produced and sold by different company under a licenses. If you think about it, big consumer package goods company has factories and distribution agreements with grocery stores, so items like are an easy add on for them.

I am not sure if these biscuits are handled this way, but i would not be surprised. If so they may live on for quite a while.

Almost certainly the case.

I've never been to a Red Lobster. But it would surprise me if their biscuits are much more complicated than White Lily self-rising flour (or big agricorp equivalent), powdered/shredded "cheese," and some kind of dairy(ish) component -- margarine, butter, buttermilk powder, actual milk, etc.

Most chain restaurant offerings are surprisingly uncomplicated.
 

bizaro86

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Almost certainly the case.

I've never been to a Red Lobster. But it would surprise me if their biscuits are much more complicated than White Lily self-rising flour (or big agricorp equivalent), powdered/shredded "cheese," and some kind of dairy(ish) component -- margarine, butter, buttermilk powder, actual milk, etc.

Most chain restaurant offerings are surprisingly uncomplicated.

I think it's fairly likely the Red Lobster biscuit process is the following:

1) take pre-portioned frozen biscuit dough

2) cook in oven
 

ScoopKona

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I think it's fairly likely the Red Lobster biscuit process is the following:

1) take pre-portioned frozen biscuit dough

2) cook in oven
Like most places, the food is made in regional commissaries and then heated. (Very little actual cooking goes on at most of these places. Diners need to jump up an order of magnitude to get food that started as something recognizable at the loading dock.) Par-cooking and then freezing biscuits has been SOP for generations.

There are exceptions to this. Olive Garden makes a surprising number of dishes in house. (I've talked to cooks who came from Olive Garden.) But like most chains, if there's a corner they can cut, they're cutting it.

There are also a surprising number of chains where the lion's share of the food comes prepackaged, frozen, in sous-vide bags. And most of the "cooking" is just heating food in a water bath. There's nothing particularly wrong with that. I'm a big fan of sous vide. But a great amount of this food is basically a TV dinner, heated in a bath and plated as nicely as possible. Add a grill and a deep fryer and that's most of the menu.
 

bizaro86

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There are also a surprising number of chains where the lion's share of the food comes prepackaged, frozen, in sous-vide bags. And most of the "cooking" is just heating food in a water bath. There's nothing particularly wrong with that. I'm a big fan of sous vide. But a great amount of this food is basically a TV dinner, heated in a bath and plated as nicely as possible. Add a grill and a deep fryer and that's most of the menu.

One way to tell if something comes in a plastic bag for re-heating is to ask for a modification. One fancier chain restaurant here I asked for my meal with no green peppers, extra red peppers, and was told no modifications are possible. The reason is that the entire stir-fry comes in a bag from their central kitchen.
 

jp10558

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Almost certainly the case.

I've never been to a Red Lobster. But it would surprise me if their biscuits are much more complicated than White Lily self-rising flour (or big agricorp equivalent), powdered/shredded "cheese," and some kind of dairy(ish) component -- margarine, butter, buttermilk powder, actual milk, etc.

Most chain restaurant offerings are surprisingly uncomplicated.
You can make a potentially better biscuit by using bisquick and shredded mild cheddar (I tried shredding some sharp cheddar I had and it didn't taste the same or good IMHO), baking that, and then brushing with a melted butter and lowrys garlic salt mix. Much cheaper than their boxes at the store.
 

ScoopKona

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You can make a potentially better biscuit by using bisquick and shredded mild cheddar (I tried shredding some sharp cheddar I had and it didn't taste the same or good IMHO), baking that, and then brushing with a melted butter and lowrys garlic salt mix. Much cheaper than their boxes at the store.

Bisquick is.... well... problematic.

Bisquick does lots of things, poorly. It doesn't do anything particularly well. It's kind of like finding a dull Swiss Army Knife. Sure, it's useful if it's the only tool you have. But is it the right tool for any job? Not really.

Baking is chemistry. If you're interested in biscuits, here's a solid foundation:

 

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And the lectures continue. . .
 

KarenLK

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Ours closed on Monday. Well, Sunday at the end of business. By Tuesday the online auction was listed. I think everything sold for something like 12,000 dollars. I drove by on Thursday and saw one large dumpster, filled. So sad.
 

DrQ

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Ours closed on Monday. Well, Sunday at the end of business. By Tuesday the online auction was listed. I think everything sold for something like 12,000 dollars. I drove by on Thursday and saw one large dumpster, filled. So sad.

Entire contents of shuttered Red Lobster restaurants sold for $5k - as DUMPSTER DIVERS help themselves to unsold items​

 

T_R_Oglodyte

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Harking back to the original discussion in this thread, another classic way to ruin a business is to manage in terms of the product you are selling instead of the customer need you are meeting. This came up early in my consulting career. I was working on a predesign study of an industrial waste discharge that recurring exceedances of the waste discharge limits. My study was to establish basis of design parameters for changes to the plant wastewater treatment system to resolve the exceedances. In the course of my work, I established that the problem was associated with periodic discharges from equipment at one particular stage in the process, and that managing the discharges at that stage of the process would be far simpler and easier to accomplish than a redesign of the larger waste water treatment plant.

I suggested that to my boss, and he just about came unglued. He said that the focus company was engineering design, that was where the company made their money. And that studies such as this were done for the purpose of locking in the follow-on design work. In short, while what I was saying might be true and would save the client money and time, what I was suggesting was out of scope.

A short time later I went to work for a competitor that had been founded about 10 years earlier, and whose view of themselves was that they were in business of providing technical solutions to enviromental issues faced by industrial clients. Within about five years after I joined them, the company had become the largest of environmental consulting services to industrial clients in the United States, with much of the client base built on taking over clients who historically had used firms such as the one I left. Most of those competitors no longer exist - they have long since been swallowed by mega-engineering design firms that nowadays do large-scale infrastructure projects.
 

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Entire contents of shuttered Red Lobster restaurants sold for $5k - as DUMPSTER DIVERS help themselves to unsold items​

Just this past Sunday on Mother’s Day I was asking my mother and sister if they’d heard anything about their Torrance restaurant, and now you’ve posted photos of furnishings being hauled away. Five or so years ago the Marie Callendar’s in this same plaza closed its doors. Solid upper middle class area, seems like a sure thing for keeping a restaurant going.
 

ScoopKona

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Solid upper middle class area, seems like a sure thing for keeping a restaurant going.

That has nothing to do with it. If the upper-middle-class residents want Pho, "Howlin' Mad" Crab, Pad-Thai and Sushi, then Red Lobster is in deep trouble. "It's a Sicilian message. It means Luca Brasi sleeps with the fishes."
 
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