Red Lobster Closes 48 Locations Nationwide Amid Financial Struggles

Red Lobster has abruptly closed at least 48 of its restaurants across the United States, including three in Georgia. The Georgia locations affected are 1050 Holcomb Bridge Road in Roswell, 1956 W. Broad Street in Athens, and 2105 Veterans Blvd. in Dublin. Despite these closures, the other 20 Red Lobster locations in Georgia remain operational for now.

According to CNN, the seafood chain is reportedly contemplating filing for bankruptcy protection. This follows a series of financial challenges, including a substantial $11 million loss from their endless shrimp promotion last year, and a significant revenue drop during the COVID-19 pandemic due to lockdowns and reduced dining capacity.

Red Lobster, founded by Bill Darden in 1968 in Lakeland, Florida, aimed to offer high-quality, affordable seafood to a broad audience. The chain quickly became popular for its all-you-can-eat shrimp promotions, which began in 2004, and its signature Cheddar Bay Biscuits, introduced in 1992, which are now available in grocery stores.

The closures span a wide range of states, including Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin.

TAGeX Brands is managing an online auction of the closed restaurants’ inventory, which includes kitchen equipment, furniture, tables, and chairs. The auction is set to begin Monday and will run through Thursday.

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Several factors have contributed to Red Lobster’s decline, including corporate mismanagement and the growing popularity of fast-casual dining chains like Chipotle and Chick-fil-A. Despite these challenges, Red Lobster continues to operate over 700 locations worldwide, striving to overcome its current financial hurdles and retain its place in the competitive restaurant industry.

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