The Red Lobster and Olive Garden combination in Beaufort are no longer serving patrons.
The two restaurants closed down on Saturday, May 3rd.
A representative of Darden Restaurants Inc., which owns the two restaurants, confirmed the closing and said the company is interested in selling Red Lobster, or may choose to separate it through what is called a "spin-off."
Daren also closed a combination restaurant in Thomasville, GA on Friday. The two locations are the only two of the six like it to close, so far. Darden will convert the other locations into just Olive Gardens.
The employees will be offered severance pay or another job at another restaurant owned by Darden, like Longhorn Steak House.
The move, company officials say, is centered in 'enhancing' their focus and improving performance.
Darden Restaurants released this statement:
Darden remains on track to execute its previously announced plan to separate the Red Lobster business through either a tax-free spin-off to Darden shareholders or a sale of the Red Lobster business. The sale process is well underway. The Company has also begun the process of establishing separate financials and associated infrastructure for the Red Lobster business should the Board determine that the spin-off alternative creates more value for shareholders.
As consumer demand dynamics have changed, Red Lobster's priorities and operating support requirements have come to differ meaningfully from those of Darden's other brands, which are having greater success increasing appeal among consumers outside their core guest profiles. By establishing two independent companies, a separation will better enable the management teams of each company to focus their exclusive attention on their distinct value creation opportunities. To elevate focus on consumers who have its core guest profile, Red Lobster has developed a clearly defined vision and plan that includes:
Greater focus on seafood quality, craveability and variety which its guests have long looked to Red Lobster for.
Streamlining restaurant operations to drive efficiencythat will support the affordability many of Red Lobster's core guests need and want.
More tailored marketing and promotional strategy that leverages brand equity with core guests.