ORLANDO, Fla. (June 2, 2005) In an effort to help feed the more than 36 million Americans who go hungry every year1, Red Lobster restaurants around the nation will begin donating unused food to charitable organizations through the company’s new “Harvest Food Donation Program.”
Starting this week, unused food at Red Lobster’s more than 640 restaurants throughout the nation will be bagged, weighed, labeled, chilled or frozen, and stored so that it can be donated to charitable organizations. Red Lobster is partnering with Food Donation Connection (FDC), a national organization that teams food service companies with charities that feed the needy.
“The biggest benefit for all these organizations is that they are receiving a free source of high quality protein and nutritious food from Red Lobster,” stated Bill Reighard, president of the Food Donation Connection. “These organizations can focus on their main mission of helping those in need, instead of worrying about the cost and preparation of the food product.”
Several charities will benefit from this program, including the Salvation Army, food banks, homeless shelters and soup kitchens.
“Our goal is to nourish and delight everyone we serve,” said Kim Lopdrup, president of Red Lobster. “Through the Harvest Food Donation Program, we will provide countless people in our local communities with healthy, nutritional meals. Even a small amount of food from one of our restaurants will go a long way to help people in need.”
Since Red Lobster serves more than 2.7 million guests a week and over 144 million guests a year 1, it is able to donate a full array of food, such as already prepared dishes (crab, shrimp cocktails, baked potatoes, vegetables, soups and desserts) and seafood and meat that can be prepared in a variety of ways, (including fish, shrimp, scallops, lobster, chicken and steak).
Doug Delaney, general manager from the Red Lobster restaurant in West Dundee, Ill., and his crew donate food to the Elgin Cooperative Ministries.
“The crew feels good about it. They seem to have a sense of pride in doing something good for the community,” states Delaney. “Our local charitable organization has soup kitchens in the area and we have a good, cooperative partnership with them. Two of us went to a soup kitchen to serve meals and we saw many people standing in line in the cold to receive their meal that day. You can really see the need for our program.”
About Red Lobster
Red Lobster has over 670 restaurants in North America and more than 63,000 employees. The company served more than 144 million guests in fiscal 2004 (ending May 30, 2004) and enjoyed total sales of $2.4 billion. Diners have recognized Red Lobster as the nation’s best seafood restaurant for the 16th year in a row in a nationwide poll by Restaurants & Institutions magazine. The company is a subsidiary of Darden Restaurants Inc. (NYSE: DRI). Darden also owns and operates Olive Garden, Bahama Breeze, Smokey Bones Barbeque and Grill and Seasons 52 restaurants. For the Red Lobster nearest you, call 1-800-LOBSTER or visit www.redlobster.com
1Food security status of U.S. households, 2003 studied by the Economic Research Service