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 At Least 48 Red Lobster Locations Are Closing. People Aren’t Happy About It




Dozens of Red Lobster locations are closing their doors amid financial difficulties for the restaurant chain, including several in New York and New Jersey, according to a restaurant liquidator.

At least 48 locations in 21 states will be shutting down, and TAGeX Brands will be conducting an online auction to sell inventory from the closures, including kitchen equipment and furniture. The auction, which began on Monday, is scheduled to continue until Thursday, May 16, the founder of TAGeX Brands posted to LinkedIn. “The Furniture, Fixtures, and Equipment from select Red Lobster locations MUST GO ASAP!,” Neal Sherman wrote.

The company, which currently has approximately 650 locations, has shut down locations in Buffalo, New York, Bridgewater, New Jersey, and Orlando Florida, among many others. The restaurant chain is considering filing for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy as it attempts to restructure debt, Bloomberg reported.

In March the restaurant chain, which has been open since 1968, appointed Jonathan Tibus, who has experience restructuring, as its new CEO. It is not clear whether the closed stores will reopen. Red Lobster did not respond to TIME's request for comment.

Red Lobster reported a loss of $11 million in the third quarter of 2023, primarily due to an “Ultimate Endless Shrimp” promotion it offered last summer, in which customers would pay $20 for endless shrimp. The menu item had previously been a limited-time offer, but Red Lobster decided to make it permanent. The restaurant then attempted to up the promotion price to $25, but that reportedly did not help with the losses.

Ludovic Regis Henri Garnier, the CFO of Thai Union Group, Red Lobster’s owner, said last fall that the promotion was intended to help get customers in the door at the restaurant. “So we wanted to boost our traffic, and it didn't work,” he said, according to Restaurant Business Magazine.

Social media users quickly began posting about the closures online. The news even began trending on X.

“It's sad to see The Red Lobster go. They always had the best seafood.” one user wrote. Another wrote, “Americans ate Red Lobster into bankruptcy.”

And some reminisced about what Red Lobster meant to them over the years.

“I just learned that the Red Lobster location where I worked for many years has closed. If it weren't for that job, I would have never met my husband and have the wonderful family I have now. I feel so sad to have another chapter of my life closed,” another X user wrote.