Red Lobster bulks up menu with non-seafood items


SeafoodSource staff

Published on
October 2, 2012

Red Lobster isn’t just for the seafood lover in you. It’s also for that picky eater in every group who just wants a simple chicken dish.

The chain that brought seafood to the masses is hoping to broaden its appeal by revamping its menu on 15 October to include more dishes that appeal to diners who don’t want to eat seafood. The chain, which is owned by Darden Restaurants Inc., also is boosting the number of dishes that it offers for less than USD 15 to appeal to customers who have cut back on spending.

The chain says a quarter of the items on its menu will be non-seafood dishes, up from 8 percent. And the number of lower-cost entrees will rise to about 60 percent from 40 percent.

A lot hinges on the makeover. After a long streak of healthy growth that began in the late 1980s, the casual dining segment has struggled to grow in the past few years because of oversaturation of those restaurants.

People also are eating out less or trading up to higher-end fast food chains such as Five Guys burgers or down to ‘‘fast-casual’’ eateries like Panera Bread Co. and Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. that fall somewhere between traditional sit down restaurants and fast-food chains. And the need for change at Red Lobster in particular is apparent: Traffic at restaurants has fallen in 12 of the past 24 months.

When asked about the risks involved making such a dramatic change to the menu, Clarence Otis, CEO at Darden, which also owns Olive Garden, said: ‘‘the biggest risk would be to not change.’’

Click here to read the full story from Fox News >

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