Captain D's renews rivalry

By

SeafoodSource staff

Published on
March 30, 2009

Captain D's Seafood Kitchen is again turning up the heat on rival Red Lobster.
 
The fast-casual seafood chain on Tuesday released a cease-and-desist letter mocking the one Red Lobster issued to Captain D's last year. The letter asks Red Lobster to lower its menu prices, speed up its service and eliminate tipping for its servers.
 
Captain D's encouraged its customers to write their own cease-and-desist letter to Red Lobster, which they can submit at irefusetoceaseanddesist.com. The best submissions will receive a cease-and-desist t-shirt and a gift card.
 
The one-sided rivalry stems from a 30-second TV spot that Captain D's initially aired in September 2008 in which a company spokesman asks Red Lobster customers to sample a few Captain D's menu items - including Wild Alaskan Salmon, Seasoned Tilapia and Seafood Scampi Platter - and claims they could have saved $30 or $45 by dining at Captain D's.
 
Red Lobster parent company Darden Restaurants sent a cease-and-desist letter to Captain D's demanding it pull the spot. When Captain D's refused, Darden complained to the Better Business Bureau's National Advertising Division (NAD) in November, calling the ad's price and product comparisons inaccurate and misleading.
 
Captain D's declined to participate in the NAD review, so the NAD referred the matter to the Federal Trade Commission.
 
Then in January, Captain D's aired a follow-up spot in which the company spokesperson tears up the cease-and-desist letter and tosses it in the air outside a Red Lobster restaurant.
 
Based in Nashville, Tenn., Captain D's operates about 550 restaurants worldwide.

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