Cheddar bay biscuits, popcorn shrimp, strawberry lemonade, and below market-price king crab legs have kept black folks loyal to Red Lobsters around the country. But as many different food joints littered neighborhoods with cheap, subsidized food, it caused the Darden Restaurants chain to change its menu and price points, effectively destroying the lore of Red Lobster. Gone are the days of celebrating a family’s once-a-month fine-dining experience. Hello industrialized seafood-like products.
A new report stated that now customers were passing up both Red Lobster and Olive Garden, the restaurant that offers a never-ending
diabetes pasta bowl. According to ABC News, numbers are down this quarter at Olive Garden and Red Lobster despite recent Michelle Obama-inspired (and nicely funded) revamps, including small plates and lighter menu options. Sales at Olive Garden are down 4%, while Red Lobster is down 5.2%.
The shakeup comes as Darden Restaurants Inc. struggles to keep pace with a shifting industry, with more people heading to chains such as Chipotle that offer food perceived to be higher quality at relatively cheaper prices. As traffic has declined at Olive Garden and Red Lobster over the years, Darden has been trying to win back diners with lighter dishes and promotions intended to underscore the affordability of its food.
Olive Garden, for example, recently rolled out “small plates” that can work as appetizers or side dishes. TV ads have ditched the Old World atmosphere of the past in favor of a more upbeat, modern feel. Recent promotions included two dinners for $25 and its long-running Never-Ending Pasta deal.
Despite the moves, sales fell 4 percent at Olive Garden restaurants open at least a year in the latest quarter. The figure was down 5.2 percent at Red Lobster, where the company added more non-seafood options to attract a broader audience. Darden has blamed its troubles on a variety of factors, including more cautious spending by consumers.
And by the way, I secretly can’t wait until cannibalism becomes mainstream, and we put humans in a tank in the lobby of cannibal restaurants, so cannibals can pick the most tender grass-fed meat for dinner. Yuck … Free the lobsters!