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

Carolinian

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Again, the restaurants which couldn't survive this were probably already in financial dire straits. Restaurants transitioned to takeaway and delivery.

And we never had the kind of lockdown where people had to show their "essential" card and prove they were on their way too or from doing something essential.

You're making it sound like this was East Germany in the 1970s. We were asked, politely, to stay home.

And none of the "covid killed business" argument holds water because there are thousands of restaurants doing the exact same thing Red Lobster used to do, and they have lines out the door. They're making food which the paying customers enjoy and come back for. (I'm generally only interested in fresh-off-the-boat seafood. But not everyone has the luxury of living near the boats.)

These seafood restaurants don't need to sell gift cards at a discount or offer online coupons to try to entice guests in. Guests are lining up without any sales, AYCE specials, or "Thursday Free King Crab Giveaway and Make-Your-Own-Change" night. And they don't need "covid ruined us" as an excuse because business is good.

No, I am using the term that was commonly used here at the time by everyone, and in particular by restaurant owners and other small businesses that were shut down by the governor. Other small businesses were also hard hit by the lockdowns, but restaurants had it the worst because they were shut down longer than anyone else. And, NO, carry out and drive through did not provide the revenue they needed. Both of our local Italian restaurants, both family owned by Sicilian natives, survived, with the owners having the advantage of owning their own buildings. The one I eat at frequently, spent money for a drive through window during the lockdown, but never made enough money from it to even pay for adding the window, much less make up for other lost revenue.

I know that some get very defensive about various actions taken during the Covid era. I do not seek to get off into that subject. I am merely talking about the impact of one of those actions that occured here and from what I read in many other states as well, on the restaurant business, with particular reference to the impact it would have had on Red Lobster. I am not trying to get into the side issue of whether that was a good or bad action by government. Whether it was good or bad, it happened, and it had an impact.
 
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davidvel

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... and it leads to memory loss

May 8:


May 28:


What a joker.

Anyone can post out of all sides of their keyboard on social media and convince themself they are some kind of "expert." :LOL:
He has his opinions and makes up the facts to align with them, despite conflicting his prior posts constantly.
 

Carolinian

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He has his opinions and makes up the facts to align with them, despite conflicting his prior posts constantly.

You are getting your panties in a twist over terminology that was commonly used during the era. I am trying to make a point over the practical impact of these government actions on the restaurant business, and you are trying to take it off on an ideological tangent. I am not going to get bogged down in whether or not they were justified, which would be a political discussion. The point is that they happened and they had a real business impact on restaurants.

Would you rather I use the term "shutdowns"? That was not actually used when this was going on, but if it keeps you from getting your panties in a twist, I will do so. When the governor here closed restaurants, most small businesses, churches, and other things, people called that a "lockdown" because all those things were locked down, regardless of whether they could get in their car and drive to a grocery store, Walmart, Lowes, some other large businesses, and generally ride around the area. But I will change to a terminology that suits you so that this can be discussed rationally for a change.
 

Cornell

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No, I am using the term that was commonly used here at the time by everyone, and in particular by restaurant owners and other small businesses that were shut down by the governor. Other small businesses were also hard hit by the lockdowns, but restaurants had it the worst because they were shut down longer than anyone else. And, NO, carry out and drive through did not provide the revenue they needed. Both of our local Italian restaurants, both family owned by Sicilian natives, survived, with the owners having the advantage of owning their own buildings. The one I eat at frequently, spent money for a drive through window during the lockdown, but never made enough money from it to even pay for adding the window, much less make up for other lost revenue.

I know that some get very defensive about various actions taken during the Covid era. I do not seek to get off into that subject. I am merely talking about the impact of one of those actions that occured here and from what I read in many other states as well, on the restaurant business, with particular reference to the impact it would have had on Red Lobster. I am not trying to get into the side issue of whether that was a good or bad action by government. Whether it was good or bad, it happened, and it had an impact.
Even the media used that language

 

davidvel

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You are getting your panties in a twist over terminology that was commonly used during the era. I am trying to make a point over the practical impact of these government actions on the restaurant business, and you are trying to take it off on an ideological tangent. I am not going to get bogged down in whether or not they were justified, which would be a political discussion. The point is that they happened and they had a real business impact on restaurants.

Would you rather I use the term "shutdowns"? That was not actually used when this was going on, but if it keeps you from getting your panties in a twist, I will do so. When the governor here closed restaurants, most small businesses, churches, and other things, people called that a "lockdown" because all those things were locked down, regardless of whether they could get in their car and drive to a grocery store, Walmart, Lowes, some other large businesses, and generally ride around the area. But I will change to a terminology that suits you so that this can be discussed rationally for a change.
I don't wear panties, but nice messaging. Your comments make no sense as I stated there were lockdowns/shutdowns/closures (whatever you want to call it), and never quibbled over the terminology. Especially strange since I have mostly agreed with your assessment of the lockdowns/shutdowns:
Of course many counties/states had literal lockdowns for a time where you could only leave your house for essential matters.

My post you are responding to was directed to the coffee guy, not you. I never discussed the lockdowns in a political manner. I stated that coffee guy was wrong when he claimed people were only politely asked not to go places, everything was voluntary, and restaurants were not shutdown. Maybe you should spend a little more time reading and comprehending who is posting before you reply with your derogatory comments.
 

Talent312

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Back to the original topic (what was it?)...
Oh, yeah. I thought that Sears was the perfect case study.
But there are a lot of parallels between the two.
.
 
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ScoopKona

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My son-in-law, his mother, and his uncle were in Czechoslovakia in the 1970s and 1980s. They said the pandemic lockdown in CA was exactly like life in eastern Europe at that time.

I was in East Berlin during that time. It's not even close.

The DDR didn't give PPP loans to help businesses affected by the pandemic. I'm not suggesting the pandemic was a walk in the park. Particularly in the US. This was a big deal for the relatives of the 1MM deceased and counting. It was a piffle for business owners. Tom Brady got how many millions? And for what?. If I was at the Green Parrot in Key West, I'd point at the "No Sniveling" sign at this point.

Loads of restaurants are selling frozen seafood right now and making a tidy profit. But not Red Lobster. Seems to me people want to pin this on Anthony Fauchi. "He ruined Red Lobster. Twirled his mustache. Cackled. Wrung his hands. And that was that."

Fact of the matter is that Red Lobster was struggling before the pandemic. And then doubled-down on the reasons they were struggling. Cracker Barrel is also treading water. When they go, will it be the same? "The pandemic killed them." Or, more accurately, their food simply isn't interesting.
 

T_R_Oglodyte

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I was in East Berlin during that time. It's not even close.
I stand corrected, and I bow humbly to your superior knowledge.

You were in East Berlin. Clearly, that makes you a more astute observer and commentator on life behind the Iron Curtain than my relatives who were born and raised as non-Party citizens in eastern Europe, spending their entire lives there until they were able to patch together an exit.

The DDR didn't give PPP loans to help businesses affected by the pandemic.
I'm not at all surprised that the DDR didn't give PPP loans to help businesses affected by the pandemic. That would have been difficult, since the DDR ceased to exist in 1990, 30 years before the pandemic.
 

davidvel

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I stand corrected, and I bow humbly to your superior knowledge.

You were in East Berlin. Clearly, that makes you a more astute observer and commentator on life behind the Iron Curtain than my relatives who were born and raised as non-Party citizens in eastern Europe, spending their entire lives there until they were able to patch together an exit. Because you are Scoop Kona and anything that Scoop Kona says must be the final, authoritative, and definitive word, despite any amount of information to the contrary.


I'm not at all surprised that the DDR didn't give PPP loans to help businesses affected by the pandemic. That would have been difficult, since the DDR ceased to exist in 1990, 30 years before the pandemic.
Monkey King is a troll, nothing more. Holy moly. To him PPP loans, Tom Brady roast gets him hundreds of millions, and Green Parrots prove that the lockdowns were not similar to former eastern European control?

It is a true disconnect from reality.
 

jp10558

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Fact of the matter is that Red Lobster was struggling before the pandemic. And then doubled-down on the reasons they were struggling. Cracker Barrel is also treading water. When they go, will it be the same? "The pandemic killed them." Or, more accurately, their food simply isn't interesting.
I'd argue that while there may be a market shift, there are plenty of people who like Cracker Barrel. My recent trips to both a Red Lobster and a Cracker Barrel are studies in opposites.

Red Lobster has $43 standard menu items. That as everyone has pointed out aren't that amazing. It also has obvious staffing issues and mostly empty restaurants. The service is extremely slow.

Cracker Barrel has many menu items under $13. While there isn't a line to be seated, the seating area is usually 75%+ full IME. Service is pretty fast, and tables turn over in under 60 minutes, often in 45. They also have a whole store section to get you to potentially add on tchotchkes and candy. Yes, the food isn't life changing, but is fast food priced (or lower) in a sit down place.

Now, maybe this is just upstate NY not being like the rest of the world, but I've had the same experience in several locations of both chains around my area.

What I really feel is missing in a lot of these discussions is - how is say Red Robin, or Applebees faring?
 

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The popular chain closed 46 locations in 2023. Applebee's President Tony Moralejo shared in a fourth-quarter earnings call that 25 to 35 more locations are expected to close this year

Like many things, restaurant styles come in and out of fashion. "Fast Casual" is a popular type these days, compared to sit down restaurants, compared to cloth table cloth restaurants, compared to food trucks.

To generalize, an older person is more likely to patronize a sit down restaurant, compared to a millennial or younger who may be more au fait with Uber Eats.

Certainly, COVID affected many things, including styles of eating out. Big Chains are more monolithic and slow to change. After all, one of their features is that they DON'T change. Stability is what people want when they go to a chain, no surprises and pretty much what Red Lobster or Cracker barrel in Cleveland was like when they are in Port Huron.

How they react, like Cracker Barrel acknowledging the need to change, is a key to salvation. Except don't go woke. The Crackers don't like Woke.
 

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What I really feel is missing in a lot of these discussions is - how is say Red Robin, or Applebees faring?

It's a good rule of thumb that any restaurant which advertises on TV is probably the wrong restaurant for your dining dollar. That's an awful lot of money being spent on something which does nothing to improve food quality or service. Any restaurant which runs such commercials knows they're part of the "commodity food" market. They're trying to catch those "I don't care as long as it's not toxic and fills me up for $5" guests.

Applebee's showed a very minor loss last year. But Olive Garden saw decent sales increases. (If the big chains are on the way out, Olive Garden will very likely be the last mediocre restaurant standing.)

It's likely in the case of Cracker Barrel, their market is simply aging out. (They aren't eating out anymore because they're either not capable of driving themselves or they're on the wrong side of the ground.) Nothing has happened to that menu in decades. And yet they lost nearly 1-in-5 of their guests. A 20% loss of covers is enough to put most restaurants into panic mode.
 

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There may be a bigger reason that led to Red Lobster's problems. This reminds my of what happened to TWA and other corporations when Carl Icahn took over and bled the companies dry in order to get wealthy.
 

ScoopKona

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There may be a bigger reason that led to Red Lobster's problems. This reminds my of what happened to TWA and other corporations when Carl Icahn took over and bled the companies dry in order to get wealthy.

All of the trade press is saying this, exactly. Most of them hitting on the "selling off their real estate to do the deal, and then renting their space back while paying way too much for raw ingredients from the corporate overlord."

"Covid" is for people who desperately want Anthony Fauci to have personally destroyed Red Lobster -- twirling a non-existent mustache, wringing his hands, and cackling like Simon Bar Sinister.

The whole Red Lobster thing kinda-sorta reminds me of what happened to Hostess. But America's love affair with Ding-Dongs and Twinkies means that company will never actually shutter. I'm sure that right now in the US, there is someone on dialysis eating a Twinkie.
 

Talent312

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It's a good rule of thumb that any restaurant which advertises on TV is probably the wrong restaurant for your dining dollar. That's an awful lot of money being spent on something which does nothing to improve food quality or service.
One could say that about drug advertising, as well.
I'm thinking about Jardiance & Ozempic, in particular.
The musical numbers are hardly informative.
.
 

geist1223

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I hate the Jardiance Commercials. I have Diabetes Type 2. I achieved an A1C below 6 without it through Diet, Exercise, and meal time use of Insulin. However taking Jardiance and Metformin has allowed me to stop using meal time Insulin and greatly reduced my dose of once Daily Slow Release Insulin.

Jardiance is not a Wonder Drug. It will not provide substantial benefits without Diet and Exercise. All the people I know with Diabetes Type 2 do not achieve good results without Diet and Exercise.
 

ScoopKona

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One could say that about drug advertising, as well.
I'm thinking about Jardiance & Ozempic, in particular.
The musical numbers are hardly informative.
.

One could say that about any damned thing on TV...

But Monday Night Football isn't going to pay for itself. That's what I tell myself every time there's a phone/injury attorney/drug/lite beer ad. Apparently that's all America is buying these days.
 

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All of the trade press is saying this, exactly. Most of them hitting on the "selling off their real estate to do the deal, and then renting their space back while paying way too much for raw ingredients from the corporate overlord."

"Covid" is for people who desperately want Anthony Fauci to have personally destroyed Red Lobster -- twirling a non-existent mustache, wringing his hands, and cackling like Simon Bar Sinister.

The whole Red Lobster thing kinda-sorta reminds me of what happened to Hostess. But America's love affair with Ding-Dongs and Twinkies means that company will never actually shutter. I'm sure that right now in the US, there is someone on dialysis eating a Twinkie.
Had a conversation from an old newspaper editor. Much of the reason for the demise of local news was due to the real estate play. Old newspaper offices were in downtowns. Buy the paper and get the real estate.
 

ScoopKona

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Had a conversation from an old newspaper editor. Much of the reason for the demise of local news was due to the real estate play. Old newspaper offices were in downtowns. Buy the paper and get the real estate.

True. But if the papers weren't in such financial dire straits, they wouldn't sell their land. They had to already be on life support due to the loss of advertising.


There is an outstanding article by Clay Shirky about the demise of newspaper.


Everyone should read this -- even if they don't give an [excrement] about newspapers. Because the mechanics that killed the daily paper also hit the travel agents; and now it's coming for real estate agents and commercial drivers. (And pretty-much everyone else. Eventually, no job is safe. There are computers which can diagnose medical problems better than a human physician. Never thought I'd ever write that sentence.
 

Brett

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True. But if the papers weren't in such financial dire straits, they wouldn't sell their land. They had to already be on life support due to the loss of advertising.


There is an outstanding article by Clay Shirky about the demise of newspaper.


Everyone should read this -- even if they don't give an [excrement] about newspapers. Because the mechanics that killed the daily paper also hit the travel agents; and now it's coming for real estate agents and commercial drivers. (And pretty-much everyone else. Eventually, no job is safe. There are computers which can diagnose medical problems better than a human physician. Never thought I'd ever write that sentence.

I suppose, yes - no job is really "safe".
I'm just hoping AI doesn't turn into Skynet and wipe out the human race
 

jp10558

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Because the mechanics that killed the daily paper also hit the travel agents; and now it's coming for real estate agents and commercial drivers. (And pretty-much everyone else. Eventually, no job is safe. There are computers which can diagnose medical problems better than a human physician. Never thought I'd ever write that sentence.
Interestingly enough, every time I think computers will replace all jobs, or automation will, we find new limits or just more stuff we want to do. Working in IT the Tech companies seem to be actively pushing employment by making everyone run in place all the time - forcing replacements of hardware that isn't dead, changing the fad of the day every couple years to do the same thing, but new shiny this time so you have to re do everything, etc. We can manage more computers with the same number of IT employees, but here's the rub - we add more computers all the time. People used to have one desktop. Now they have a desktop, a laptop, sometimes special hardware controller computers, sometimes a spare loaner for travel, sometimes multiple offices or a home office. Plus a tablet, phone, and probably soon VR headset or something. So yes, if everyone still had 2005 era single desktop, we could have less employees, but they now all have 5-10 devices. Plus they now expect them to work everywhere in the world, not just at their office desk.

I'm less versed in other fields, but for a lot of them, that last 10% is both hard edgecases to fully give up and exponentially harder to fill with computers. For instance Insurance. If you need basic car insurance, you can do that all via a website. If you need a fiduciary bond or inland marine (to save a lot on insuring things like camera gear used for a hobby) or house insurance that is for a second house and so not homeowners insurance or.... You basically need an agent - there just isn't an option on the websites, and you probably don't know what the policy you need is even called.

Expand this to many things and ... I think the death of all jobs is overhyped yet again.
 

Talent312

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I'm just hoping AI doesn't turn into Skynet and wipe out the human race.
More likely, a major solar storm will take out the Net and leave us all penniless.
.
 

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Flavor Flav makes last-ditch attempt to save Red Lobster after seafood chain files for bankruptcy​

Flavor Flav is determined to keep Red Lobster afloat - buying every dish on the menu to help the struggling seafood chain.

The Public Enemy rapper - self-proclaimed as the chain's No 1 fan - is also set to talk to Red Lobster this week about a potential collaboration.


85716931-13494815-image-a-1_1717535107503.jpg
 

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Hard day today. Took down a 45-foot oak tree (24 inches diameter at the base, and I have an 18" chainsaw) that was leaning in the direction of the house. Felled it away from the house using multiple 2" webbing tow straps and more than a little help from my 5.9L diesel pickup truck.

As the sun goes down, I am too tired to cook dinner. What better way to celebrate the successful felling than a Live Lobster Dinner from Red Lobster! Bonus! Only $29.99! (Instead of the usual $39.99) I have not seen that bargain price since 2019 or early 2020 (pre-Covid, pre-inflation days). Add-on a Chocolate Wave for dessert using one of my Rewards.
Lobster Dinner 29_99.jpg


Man, will I ever miss Red Lobster (if it ever goes away).
 
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