Share This Page

Darden announces sale of Red Lobster for $2.1B

| Friday, May 16, 2014, 9:30 a.m.

Darden Restaurants said it will sell its Red Lobster chain to investment firm Golden Gate Capital in a $2.1 billion cash deal.

Darden, which also owns Olive Garden, announced last year that it planned to spin off or sell Red Lobster to improve its financial performance.

Olive Garden and Red Lobster have been losing customers in recent years. Part of the problem is the growing popularity of fast-casual chains such as Chipotle, where customers don't have to pay as much or wait for table service.

Red Lobster, which opened in 1968, helped popularize seafood among Americans. The first location in Lakeland, Fla., boasted platters that included frog legs and hush puppies for $2.50.

As the chain suffered sales declines more recently, Darden expanded its menu to include more non-seafood dishes in a bid to attract a wider array of customers. The efforts didn't take hold.

Darden CEO Clarence Otis has noted that Red Lobster has been unable to capture higher-income customers.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.