Market Overview

More than Just Seafood at Red Lobster with Added Variety and Lower Prices reports Lobster Advisor


(EMAILWIRE.COM, October 31, 2012 ) San Francisco, CA- Red Lobster is broadening its menu, adding lighter fare and non-seafood dishes in an effort to appeal to guests with an eye for more than lobster and steak. Starting October 15th, the Red Lobster menu will feature new items, such as pork chops, vegetable skewers, Parmesan chicken alfredo. The additions bump the number of non-seafood items to 25% of the new menu, up from 8% a earlier menu versions.

By adding more styles of food at lower cost to its traditional $15-$25 entree line-up, Red Lobster hopes to entice all types of diners back for dinner, not just seafood lovers.

In addition to adding new types of food to the menu, Red Lobster is making more dinner choices available for less. Lower-cost entrees make up 40% of the current menu. Those items will have a 20% jump.

Darden Restaurants Inc., owner of the seafood chain, hopes to lure customers back from relatively-fast food locations. Items such as Panera Bread and Chipotle Mexican Grill, expanded to fill the role that traditional sit-down restaurants filled in more-robust economic times.

Salli Setta, Red Lobster executive vice president of marketing, commented on the importance of value: "The consumer, it's no secret, is financially constrained. When they do go out to eat, price is much more of a factor."

The seafood chain has been hit hard by the recession, posting lower-than-average sales for the last two years, and hopes the new offerings and lower-priced choices will help change the companys image from a seafood only dinner destination to a restaurant with something for everyone.

Darden learned the importance of a dollar from an earlier flop by another of its subsidiary chain, Olive Garden, earlier this year. The Taste of Tuscany by the Italian restaurant promotion posted disappointing sales numbers because, the parent company said, it failed to underscore value.

Dave Picken, owner of Darden Restaurants Inc., says he does not intend to make that mistake again, citing the psychological importance of paying more than $15 for dinner.

"There's a difference between $14.99 and $15.50 and the difference is more than 51 cents.

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Richard Eul Bradford


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