Editor’s picks: Co-branding Red Lobster
Here’s a look at this week’s can’t-miss SeafoodSource news stories and commentaries:
• Darden will open its first co-branded restaurant in Palm City, Fla., on 7 March. The Red Lobster-Olive Garden hybrid will share a building and a kitchen, with entrances and menus remaining separate. Geared toward smaller markets, the co-location is a way for Darden to introduce the brands to markets that ordinarily couldn’t support a Red Lobster or Olive Garden. “It’s a totally brand-unique experience, so when you’re the guest and you pull into the parking lot on one side you have the entrance to Red Lobster and on one side you have the entrance to Olive Garden,” Rich Jeffers, Darden’s director of media relations and external communications told SeafoodSource.
• Monday marked the much-anticipated Legal Sea Foods four-course dinner in Boston featuring “blacklisted” seafood. The event’s purpose was to ignite a dialog on sustainable seafood among a mix of stakeholders, including fishermen, marine scientists, chefs and food writers. SeafoodSource Editor Steven Hedlund was in attendance and interviewed Legal CEO Roger Berkowitz after the event. Berkowitz said he was pleased with how the dinner turned out. “I didn’t have any preconceived notions,” he said. “I didn’t know what was going to happen. But people were [respectful] of one another. Good questions were asked, and good explanations were forthcoming.”
• The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization released a report underlining how a significant price increase in key commodities such as corn and wheat over the last few months may impact the global seafood market. SeafoodSource Contributing Editor Lindsey Partos reported that current fish prices are on average higher than the previous record levels reached before the economic crisis hit in the fall of 2008.
• News that French sushi chain Planet Sushi launched a free iPhone application piqued SeafoodSource readers’ interests this week. The app lists the chain’s more than 180 menu items along with photos and prices. In addition, it offers a choice of menus depending on customers’ personal dietary needs, whether they’re athletic, pregnant, elderly, young or vegetarian.
• The governments of China and Spain this week vowed to work closer in respect to fisheries and agriculture. After a meeting, the two countries signed a fisheries agreement “to continue driving the extraordinary relationship between China and Spain, which can go much, much further as an aspiration of the Spanish government.” The agreement aims to secure large contracts for both countries’ seafood suppliers and will work together on food and agriculture issues. The agreement is also a part of the EUR 5.7 billion trade deal singed by the countries’ leaders in Madrid earlier this month.