Red Lobster: for the seafood lover in you®
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January 18, 1968 was a good day for Bill Darden and Charley Woodsby because that’s the day they opened their first Red Lobster restaurant. That single family-owned restaurant in Lakeland, Florida, now has 677 U.S. locations, as well as restaurants in Canada, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Mexico, and Japan.
There’s no stopping us nowTheir first restaurant was quickly followed by four others and in 1970, General Mills acquired Red Lobster as a five-unit company. This new backing allowed the company to expand rapidly throughout the 1980s.
Welcome to Canada
The 1980s were, indeed, a busy decade for Red Lobster as they entered Canada in 1983 and, in many cases, buying Ponderosa restaurant locations. The company generally maintains between 25 and 30 locations in Canada, with most of them in larger urban centres in Ontario and in all three Prairie provinces.
In 1995, Red Lobster became part of Darden Restaurants, Inc., and General Mills released Darden into an independent, publicly traded corporation.
Golden Gate Capital, an American private equity firm has been Red Lobster’s parent company since it was acquired from Darden Restaurants in July 2014.
Clever advertising, creative menu!
Red Lobster’s logo is simple, but it really says it all: For the seafood lover in you® And then came their unforgettable and iconic advertising campaigns that included Life on Land is DryTM, GoOverboardTM and Sea Food DifferentlyTM.
Wanting to reach out even further, in 2003, the company began donating unused food to local food banks and homeless shelters. To date, this program which is called RL Shares, has donated about 20 million meals.
Let’s turn up the heat…
Red Lobster installed wood-fire grills in all their restaurants and hired Certified Grill Masters to cook their fare to mouth-watering perfection. This new way of cooking introduced their guests to a whole new way to enjoy sea food.
That’s the Maine idea
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