Overhaul for Red Lobster menu


SeafoodSource staff

Published on
September 23, 2012

Despite increases in first-quarter profit and revenue, Darden Restaurants Inc. plans to make big changes to spur future sales at its flagship Olive Garden and Red Lobster brands, including revamped advertising and revised menus.

Orlando-based Darden, which operates 2,006 restaurants under the Olive Garden, Red Lobster, LongHorn Steakhouse and other brands, said menu changes at Red Lobster would include more non-seafood choices and items priced below $15. At Olive Garden, changes will include more healthful menu items, affordable choices and additional lunchtime options.

The menu moves come as Olive Garden reported a 0.3-percent increase in same-store sales for the August-ended first quarter — the chain’s first positive result in a year and a half — and as Red Lobster continues to post negative trends. First-quarter same-store sales fell 2.6 percent at the seafood chain.

“We think that the risk in a changing environment is to not change,” Darden chief executive Clarence Otis said during a call with investors. The menu changes are intended to “respond more powerfully to economic and lifestyle changes” occurring with U.S. consumers, he said.

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