Red Lobster is a casual-dining seafood chain known for its popcorn shrimp, crab legs and Cheddar Bay Biscuits as well as its lobster. It is one of the largest seafood purchasers in the world and for that reason has robust seafood sustainability initiatives and protocols to ensure that it can have a steady and affordable supply of product.
The chain was founded by Bill Darden in 1968 in Lakeland, Fla., In 1970 it was purchased by General Mills, which gave it the resources to expand and become a national chain. In 1995 General Mills spun off Red Lobster and Olive Garden, a concept that it created, as Darden Restaurants Inc. That company expanded with other concepts such as Bahama Breeze and Seasons 52, and also purchased other concepts such as LongHorn Steakhouse and The Capital Grille, but as the casual-dining segment suffered in the 2010s, activists investors sold Red Lobster in 2014 to Golden Gate Capital.
Headquarters: Orlando, Fla.
Segment: Casual Dining
Restaurant Segment: FSR Seafood
Number of U.S. Locations: 673
2020 Sales: $2.24 million
Source: Datassential Firefly 500
CEO: Kim Lopdrup
Parent Group: Golden Gate Capital