the history of red lobster
Fresh Seafood for Everyone
Bill Darden opens the first Red Lobster in Lakeland, Florida.
Red Lobster catches the attention of General Mills. Backed by their resources, Red Lobster restaurants rapidly multiply from coast to coast.
Shrimp Becomes Snack-Worthy
Red Lobster debuts Popcorn Shrimp. People go crazy for it, and rightfully so.
For the Seafood Lover In You®
We launch our first of many iconic advertising campaigns, including Life on Land is DryTM, Go OverboardTM and Sea Food DifferentlyTM.
We open our first Canadian restaurant in Ontario.
Lobster Lovers, Rejoice
We have our first Lobsterfest — and a Valentine's Day tradition is born.
Behold Biscuit Mania
Cheesy garlic goodness comes together to create our legendary Cheddar Bay Biscuits™.
Red Lobster Charts a New Course
General Mills spins-off its restaurant division as Darden Restaurants, Inc.
Taking Care of Our Own
We establish an Employee Emergency Assistance Fund, now called RL Cares, to help fellow employees facing financial hardship.
Feeding the Hungry
We start donating unused food to local food banks and homeless shelters through a program we now call RL Shares. Since its launch, we’ve donated about 20 million meals.
Love at First Shrimp
Our Endless ShrimpTM event launches and it’s a huge success.
Bring on the Freshness
“Today’s Fresh Fish” menu makes its debut, bringing fresh, regional seafood to Red Lobsters everywhere.
Get Fired Up
We bring wood-fire grills into our kitchens and train Certified Grill Masters to let the natural flavors of our seafood take center stage.
A Maine Makeover
Our restaurants begin to transform inside and out to a new design and décor, inspired by the historic fishing village of Bar Harbor, Maine.
We Celebrate Our Independence
We begin charting a new course as an independent company.
A Taste of Innovation
As part of our commitment to keeping our menu fresh and our guests happy, we introduce sustainable, wild-caught selections like Sockeye salmon, as well as bigger and better shrimp options.
REWARDING OUR LOYAL GUESTS
The My Red Lobster Rewards program is born, rewarding guests for doing what they already love to do – enjoy delicious seafood at Red Lobster.
PARTNERING TO SET SEAFOOD STANDARDS
We unveil our Seafood with Standards commitments and engage in partnerships to help drive continuous improvement within our supply chain. We also become the first large casual dining restaurant company to make a commitment to eliminate plastic straws
from our restaurants, promising to begin replacing plastic straws with an eco-friendly alternative straw by the end of 2020.
WORKING TO PROTECT AND PRESERVE OUR OCEANS
Through a partnership with Ocean Conservancy®, a leading ocean conservation nonprofit, we have focused on two programs: The Global Ghost Gear Initiative, which focuses on driving solutions to the problem of lost and abandoned fishing gear, and the Trash Free Seas Alliance®, which unites leaders to mitigate plastic waste entering the oceans.
CELEBRATING OUR EMPLOYEES AND OUR GUESTS
We are recognized on the Forbes list of America’s Best Large Employers 2021, and our My Red Lobster Rewards Program is named to Newsweek’s list of America’s Best Loyalty Programs 2021.
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