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Last week, it was announced that seafood megachain Red Lobster was sold for $2.1 billion dollars, which is kind of incredible. There were rumors that the company was just going to close every single restaurant in the chain, denying bored Americans of their cheddar biscuits. For shame.
The chain was under pressure from rising costs of shrimp and other seafood. That’s what happens when you offer all-you-can-eat shrimp and lobster during LobsterFest. You ruin it for the rest of us, meanwhile effectively driving up your own prices.
The true death knell for Red Lobster was not the rising cost of seafood. No, no. It was old people. From BusinessWeek:
Beyond the expenses of procuring shrimp, Red Lobster also attracts an oversize share of older diners who don’t eat out frequently, while younger and spendier patrons eat their fish at more upscale restaurants—places that can cover rising costs better. Casual-dining chains like Red Lobster also have been hurt by the massive growth of such fast-casual options as Chipotle Mexican Grill (CMG) and Potbelly(PBPB).
I can’t tell you how many times I suggested to friends that we try to hit up Red Lobster after work to Sea Food Differently, but they weren’t having it. “No one goes there anymore, bro.” It’s the old people. They wrecked our dreams of convenient, yet classy, uniform seafood.