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Five-Person Team Has More Than 33 Years of Combined Experience

OAKDALE, Minn. (January 30, 2006) — Bob Beattie, director of operations for Red Lobster restaurants in the Minnesota area, has announced that Cory Thiessen, Pat Erwin, Christopher Carlberg, Charles Purrington and Krista Banaszak have joined the management team at the company’s newest Red Lobster in Oakdale.  The five-person management team has over 33 years of combined restaurant experience working with Red Lobster at its restaurants in Minnesota and throughout the country.

Cory Thiessen is joining the new Oakdale Red Lobster as the restaurant’s general manager.  Thiessen will be responsible for all of the restaurant’s operations, including managing an average $3.6 million in restaurant sales.  A 15-year Red Lobster veteran, Thiessen previously was general manager at the company’s restaurant in Bloomington. 

Pat Erwin has been with Red Lobster for eight years and was named the restaurant’s new culinary manager.  Erwin, who previously was the culinary manager at the Bloomington Red Lobster, will help ensure that guests receive the freshest and most flavorful seafood.

As service manager of the new restaurant, Christopher Carlberg will be responsible for training crew members to provide guests with a friendly, welcoming service.  Carlberg, who has been with Red Lobster for five years, was previously a service manager at a location in West St. Paul. 

Charles Purrington and Krista Banaszak are the restaurant’s beverage and hospitality managers.  Purrington has been with Red Lobster for nearly five years and served as the beverage and hospitality manager at the Maplewood location, while Banaszak recently completed the company’s management-in-training program at a Red Lobster in Duluth.  Both managers will be responsible for ensuring that guests receive a simply great dining experience while at the restaurant.

The new Oakdale Red Lobster is located at 8350 3rd Street North in the Oakdale Village (off I-94) and will employ nearly 125 crewmembers.

Diners have recognized Red Lobster as the nation’s best seafood restaurant for 17 years in a row in nationwide polls by Restaurants & Institutions magazine.  Red Lobster has over 670 restaurants in North America and more than 63,000 employees.  The company served more than 141 million guests in fiscal 2005 (ending May 29, 2005) and enjoyed total sales of $2.4 billion.  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

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