By Mercedes Grandin, SeafoodSource contributing editor
Published on 19 February, 2009
In preparation for Lent, which begins 25 February, Ash Wednesday, many restaurant operators are preparing for their customers' abstinence from meat on Fridays by promoting seafood specials on menus and in stores.
Hooters is running an eight-week Lenten special that includes a Blackened Mahi Sandwich, Daytona Shrimp and Grouper Bites. Wendy's is promoting its Premium Fish Fillet on its Web site.
Starting 23 February, Popeyes is offering a 30-day special for the Lenten season, the Butterfly Shrimp Tacklebox, for USD 4.99 (EUR 3.96).
"It's always a fan favorite," said Popeyes spokesperson Jackie Tate. "Some of our restaurants carry other kinds of seafood, but it depends on the market."
Another company promoting seafood for Lent is SeaPak Shrimp Co. SeaPak just added two items to retail shelves: Culinary Classics fish fillets and Tilapia Tenders. The Tilapia Tenders retail for USD 7.49 (EUR 5.94) to USD 7.99 (EUR6.34) per three-serving package. The Culinary Classics, which include regional specialties like Asian Sesame Salmon and Parmesan Encrusted Flounder, are sold nationally at Wal-Mart for USD 6.88 (EUR 5.46).
With cash-strapped consumers in mind, SeaPak is marketing its new seafood offerings as affordable, healthy and easy to make.
"During these trying economic times, smart shoppers are migrating to the frozen food section," said Jenna Guthrie, recipe director and marketing manager for SeaPak. "By incorporating SeaPak's delicious, high-quality seafood products into main dishes, families of four can enjoy many of our gourmet-style meals for less than USD 15 (EUR 11.91). With the addition of our new Tilapia Tenders and Culinary Classics, consumers have more choices than ever before.
"Captain D's is also promoting several seafood specials during Lent. Featured menu items include the Big Easy Shrimp Entrée Sampler, the Big Easy Shrimp & Salmon Platter, the Two Piece Fish and Blue Bay Crab Cake Dinner, the Big Easy Shrimp Dinner and the Fish, Shrimp and Blue Bay Crab Cake. The entrée specials are available through 12 April.
"It's typically a pretty good time of year for us," said a Captain D's spokesperson. In recent years, Captain D's has reported record sales during the Lent and has increased staffing to meet increased restaurant traffic.