Saturday, May 25, 2024

Workers’ fury as thousands lose their jobs after Red Lobster immediately shutters more than 50 outlets across America without warning

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Red Lobster staff across the country are up in arms after the seafood restaurant shuttered more than 50 outlets across with no warning, leaving them jobless with no notice. 

The chain has ‘temporarily closed’ locations in Buffalo, Orlando, Jacksonville and other cities, and is auctioning off kitchen equipment and furniture, according to CNN

The brand is reportedly eyeing up a possible Chapter 11 filing to restructure its debt, allowing it to discard long-term contracts and renegotiate new leases.

But it has also left its workers in a scramble to find employment, with many Red Lobster staff claiming they were laid off with no warning. 

One Tiktokker posted a stitched video that started with her talking through her day working at Red Lobster on Mother’s Day, before she complained about being laid off.

The chain has ‘temporarily closed’ locations in Buffalo, Orlando, Jacksonville and other cities

X users took to the social media platform to complain about being laid off

X users took to the social media platform to complain about being laid off

She said in the video, posted with the caption ‘I got another job but still DAMN RED LOBSTER’: ‘Why was that my last shift working there?

‘I just got a phone call this morning saying out location is closed.

‘Y’all know Red Lobster was going bankrupt, they don’t have no money [sic] to be playing around and out location was… we wasn’t [sic] the best location, so it makes sense.

‘I ain’t gonna lie, if you work at Red Lobster, you need to start finding something else to do.’

Another TikTokker posted a video of her sadly dancing through what appeared to be the stockroom of a Red Lobster location. 

The video was posted with the caption: ‘Trying to laugh through the pain.’

Former Red Lobster workers also took to X to complain. One user said: ‘Im trying so hard to put on a smile right now. I feel like I could break at any moment. 

She said in the video, posted with the caption 'I got another job but still DAMN RED LOBSTER': 'Why was that my last shift working there?'

She said in the video, posted with the caption ‘I got another job but still DAMN RED LOBSTER’: ‘Why was that my last shift working there?’

Red Lobster is considering filing for bankruptcy as high costs and low sales ground the business

Red Lobster is considering filing for bankruptcy as high costs and low sales ground the business

‘What the f*** is life gonna look like. What Red Lobster did in New York is illegal. They closed their doors with no warning. So now we are unemployed. Life is f***ing kicking my ass.’

Another simply said: ‘red lobster laid me off this morning :(.’

A third Red Lobster employee took the news in stride, posting: ‘red lobster just laid all of us off without notice and closed for good LMAOO.’

The employee added in replied that Red Lobster didn’t tell managers until 8am yesterday. 

MailOnline has contacted Red Lobster for comment.  

The fury comes after the company last year reported record losses of $11 million, which its CFO partly blamed on its unlimited shrimp deal.

The chain, which started as a single restaurant in Lakeland, Florida, in 1968 has around 650 locations across almost all states. It’s famous for its cheese-flavored biscuits.

News of the bankruptcy was first reported by Bloomberg, which said the restaurant chain is taking advice from the law firm King & Spalding.

The chain has closed locations across America (File image)

The chain has closed locations across America (File image)

Red Lobster CEO Kim Lopdrup (pictured)

Red Lobster CEO Kim Lopdrup (pictured)

Those familiar with the matter told the outlet the decision was yet to be finalized, but that bankruptcy would allow the company to continue operating.

Red Lobster’s famous shrimp promotion came as it wanted to lure in more customers after significant losses of $5.4 million in the second quarter of 2023.

But those plans backfired since the ‘all you can eat’ promotion was too generous.

For just $20, diners could indulge in as much of the shellfish as they could stomach.

The ‘Endless Shrimp’ offer was initially a special but in June it claimed a permanent spot on the Red Lobster menu. Foot traffic reportedly increased by 4 percent as a result.

More people were ordering the Endless Shrimp than the company anticipated – likely because the deal went viral on social media platforms like TikTok, where people showed off how much they ate to get their money’s worth.

For just $20, diners could indulge in as much of the shellfish as they could stomach, but the price was later bumped to $25

For just $20, diners could indulge in as much of the shellfish as they could stomach, but the price was later bumped to $25

The chain, which started as a single restaurant in Lakeland, Florida , in 1968 has around 650 locations across almost all states with its menu offering variations of shrimp-infused items

The chain, which started as a single restaurant in Lakeland, Florida , in 1968 has around 650 locations across almost all states with its menu offering variations of shrimp-infused items  

‘For those who have been in the US recently, $20 was very cheap. And the rationale for this promotion was to say we knew the price was cheap, but the idea was to bring more traffic in the restaurants,’ said CFO Ludovic Garnier in November.

‘But something which was different from our expectation is the proportion of the people selecting these promotions was much higher compared to expectation,’ he added.

Eventually, the company bumped the price of their Endless Shrimp up to $25 in a bid to reclaim some of the losses.

Red Lobster has had multiple owners in recent years. It was previously owned by the Darden restaurant group, which also owned Olive Garden, but was taken over by Golden Gate Capital in 2014.

In 2020 it was purchased by Thai Union, which this year said its ‘ongoing financial requirements no longer align with Thai Union’s capital allocation priorities.’

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