Red Lobster Hospitality LLC is an American casual dining restaurant chain headquartered in Orlando, Florida. The company has operations in Ecuador, Canada, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Mexico, and Japan, in addition to the United States. As of February 24, 2013, the company had 705 locations worldwide. Golden Gate Capital has been Red Lobster’s parent company since it was acquired from Darden Restaurants on July 28, 2014.
On August 6, 2014, Red Lobster announced their new headquarters location in CNL Center City Commons in Orlando. On March 6, 2015, Red Lobster officially opened the Restaurant Support Center.
The first Red Lobster restaurant was opened on January 18, 1968, in Lakeland, Florida, by entrepreneurs Bill Darden and Charley Woodsby. The oft-quoted date of March 1968 is based on the March 27, 1968, incorporation of Red Lobster Inns of America, Inc. (now GMRI, Inc.) in the Florida Secretary of State’s Office. Originally billed as a “Harbor for Seafood Lovers”, the first restaurant was followed by four others throughout the southeast United States. In 1970, General Mills acquired Red Lobster as a five-unit company. With new backing, the chain expanded rapidly in the 1980s.
A Lobsterfest duo meal
Red Lobster entered Canada in the 1980s, in many cases by buying Ponderosa restaurant locations. The company generally maintains between 25 and 30 locations in Canada, the bulk in larger urban centres in Ontario (across southern Ontario plus one in Sudbury in northern Ontario) with a smaller number in larger urban centres in all three Prairie provinces. It exited the Quebec market in September 1997 due to financial losses, and never attempted to enter the market in British Columbia.
On March 29, 1994, Bill Darden died, after an extended illness, at the age of 75.
|Founded||March 22, 1968; 50 years ago Lakeland, Florida|
|Founders||Bill Darden Charley Woodsby|
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