Red Lobster Shutters One Of Last Remaining San Diego Locations Amid Looming Bankruptcy Rumors

May 13, 2024

Amid swirling rumors of bankruptcy, one of the last remaining San Diego locations of the popular seafood restaurant chain Red Lobster has shuttered its doors.

Red Lobster restaurant was founded in Lakeland, FL, in 1968 by entrepreneurs Bill Darden and Charley Woodsby. Over the decades, Red Lobster expanded its presence across the United States, as well as opening locations in in China, Ecuador, Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Philippines, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates.

News broke today that Red Lobster is closing over 100 locations across at least 27 states, with employees taking to social media to express shock and report they were given no prior notice. One of the closures is the San Diego location in within The Village at Mira Mesa, which has been open for decades. The other two San Diego locations of the seafood restaurant giant, which are located in the Sports Arena area and in the South Bay city of Chula Vista, remain in business for the time being. There was also once a Red Lobster in La Mesa, but that outpost shuttered last September. 
The Orlando-based chain, with its 650 United States locations, has reportedly contemplated restructuring its debt to ensure financial stability. Reportedly considering bankruptcy protection, Red Lobster has appointed a restructuring expert as its chief executive, potentially signaling an impending filing. However, these closures on Monday came without any public acknowledgment or comment from the company. A restaurant supply liquidator plans to auction off the company's kitchen equipment from closed branches.

Known for signature dishes like their Cheddar Bay Biscuits and endless shrimp promotions, Red Lobster's journey has been riddled with challenges, both financial and internal. In the span of just two years, the company witnessed a revolving door in its C-Suite, with turnover in key leadership positions such as CEO, chief marketing officer, chief financial officer, and chief information officer.

Last summer's revival of their renowned endless shrimp menu deal, while beloved by customers, resulted in an $11 million loss for the seafood chain. Moreover, the company faced a setback as its top supplier, Thai Union, recently terminated their partnership and took a $530 million loss on its investment into the company.

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