Dead Lobster: seafood chain sinking into bankruptcy

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2024/04/18/dead-lobster-seafood-chain-sinking-into-bankruptcy.html

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At least we’ll always have the Biscuits; there’s enough copy-cat recipes out there and they are easy enough to make.

(Most of the ones in my area closed down some years ago, even before the pandemic delivered a crippling blow to the dine out industry.)

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Why the schadenfreude?

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Maybe there’ll be one surviving location to serve as a warning?

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I am not a seafood guy, so I rarely ever went there. I do like their biscuits though…

IMO - that restaurant has a reputation of being for old people. I dunno if that is accurate or deserved, but I feel like that is the perception.

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For decades now the closest one to me is about an hour’s drive away and, although I’ve often gone to great lengths for take-out, it’s never been something I’ve even thought about. Even at its absolute best Red Lobster’s food has to be eaten in the restaurant. It just doesn’t travel well. Then again no seafood does, which is why it amazes me Red Lobster has survived as long as it has.

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From what I have heard, the reasons are one, and the same as many other long-term businesses: private equity. People keep focusing on superficial external causes and ignoring that they have parasites hollowing them out.

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OMG!!! There’s a Ponderosa in Coldwater, Michigan!!! We’re soooo going.

As for the Lobster, the one in Pittsfield Township just outside if Ann Arbor would be my bet for the lone survivor, the parking lot is always full in the late afternoon/early evening. :wink:

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early bird special, FTW!

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I would wager that the primary reason they are “sinking into bankruptcy” is because they are being loaded up with debt by the private equity firm that bought them.

From 2014, Golden Gate Capital:
https://www.nrn.com/mergers-acquistions/darden-sell-red-lobster-21b

From 2020: Thai Union then bought a 25% stake; I’m guessing they’re the bag-holder:

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The last guy I dated loved Red Lobster. Me, not so much. The food was very salty. I cringed when it was his turn to pick the restaurant. :nauseated_face:

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And yet I’ve heard it can be confusing.

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No worries, I’m a salad bar veteran. :smirk:

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I maintained the breakfast and salad bars at another restaurant one summer. At least while I was there the food was as fresh and as well-prepared as I could make it.

The kale that was used for garnish, on the other hand, was reused for up to three days. :nauseated_face:

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Right? Something about the whole tone of his post is fishy.

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Granted, I did it to myself more or less, but that’s why I ended up filing for bankruptcy. (the real knife in the back was the overages on both remodel projects, but again; I was the idiot that decided to do two major remodels at the same time…)

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It has had the reputation at least since the 1990s. I used to ask to go there as a kid. My grandma was the only other person I knew who really liked it.

@chenille They were a Darden group restaurant until 2014. Longhorn, Olive Garden, and the like are doing fine, but they couldn’t make Red Lobster work and sold it off. So whatever was causing its decline can’t just be about private equity. They were sold to private equity because they were declining. The sale just delayed the bankruptcy a few more years and changed who benefitted and who lost out.

Like most predators, private equity doesn’t go for the biggest and healthiest prey. Maybe Red Lobster wouldn’t survive even without a leech sucking as much from it as possible…but I don’t think that possibility means we should excuse the leech from blame for actually desiccating it. Private equity exists to destroy things for profit and it should be pointed out every time so people can see just how much.

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You can’t actually hear a company scream; it’s just value escaping from cracks in the shell corporation. Or so they tell me.

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