Walking into a Red Lobster is a wonderful experience. The smells tempt you, the sights wow you, and the friendly service keeps you happy. But never in a million – scratch that – billion years would I think to sell the place, not to mention ALL the places.
But, that is what Darden Restaurants did. They sold Red Lobster for $2.1 billion dollars because they don’t believe in Red Lobster as much as I do. And just to think, there was a hoax that it was closing down. NEVER. From BBC News:
Darden Restaurants has sold its struggling Red Lobster chain of seafood restaurants to private-equity firm Golden Gate Capital for $2.1bn (£1.2bn).
Several activist investors have opposed the move. They have argued for a larger restructuring of Darden, which also owns the Olive Garden restaurant chain.
Profits at Red Lobster have been hit by rising shrimp prices. Shares in Darden slumped more than 4% on news of the sale.
Wow, that looks like the paranoid android from The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy wrote that opening. “We went to Red Lobster. It was awful *sigh.*” Clearly he didn’t get a chance to gorge on unlimited shrimp or go into a coma from eating too many cheesy garlic biscuits. So tell me, who is my new pusher?
Golden Gate Capital already owns several US dining chains, including California Pizza Kitchen and On the Border, a causal-dining Mexican chain.
Red Lobster has been struggling to attract US diners to its restaurants after the recession curtailed spending. It has also had to stave off competition from Chipotle and Panera, which do not offer table service and are thus slightly cheaper.
The chain has further been impacted by rising shrimp prices as a result of an incurable bacterial infection which has diminished Southeast Asian stocks. (via)
“Incurable bacterial infection” is something you hope not to see in relation to feasting at a seafood restaurant. I guess I’ll be sticking to White Castle at 4am for all my nutritional needs.
Those cheese biscuits, though? They will remain untarnished, right? I will fight you, Red Lobster, if that happens. In the street. With zip guns. And dance.