I know it’s not very “cool” to admit this but I don’t have a problem going to a chain restaurant for dinner, sure I’ll check out a local company if I can find a good one but at the end of the day if I’m given a choice I’ll typically choose Chili’s over Ray’s Burger Barn any day of the week. (restaurantreport) One of the more popular companies in the chain restaurant world lately has been Darden Restaurants, they’re the organization behind restaurants like Bahama Breeze, Olive Garden, Seasons 52, and The Capital Grille, they have menus across the board to meet any dining needs. (darden) Darden is a fortune 500 company, they’re a bit behind middle of the road, but still making the list alone is a great feat, especially for a company known primarily for mid range priced restaurants, they’ve been able to maintain about the same spot for the last three years as well. (cnn) With all of the upside within the Darden organization it would seem that common sense would state that they continue on their course, while they’re not the top of the heap, they’re not in a terrible position anyway, but the Darden organization decided to take a different approach by selling off one of their flagship chains. (bbc)
Red Lobster has been around since 1968, starting out just a few towns over from my hometown in Lakeland, Florida. (wikipedia) They’ve been offering good seafood at a very good price for a long time now, it’s been a specialty of theirs but in recent years it seems as if business has tapered off as cost for seafood increased making Red Lobster less profitable than desired. (southtownstar) Due to the economic downturn, the cost increase in product, and the lower than desired customer traffic, Darden wasn’t really left with any other option, they had to unload one of their oldest chains in order to stop the bleeding. (abcnews) With a 2.1 billion dollar price tag, Darden shipped Red Lobster off to Golden Gate Capital, a company that buys, and in some cases flips, companies that are struggling, in 2008 they purchased Romano’s Macaroni Grill before selling it in 2013 to Ignite Restaurant Group, which is already starting to turn around the business. (goldengatecap) If their previous venture into the dining world is any indication, Red Lobster should be on it’s way to becoming viable again soon, I’m just glad they’re not going away anytime soon.