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Red Lobster is abruptly closing dozens of restaurants

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Posted at 9:50 PM, May 13, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-13 21:50:31-04

Struggling Red Lobster is abruptly closing at least 48 of its restaurants around the country, according to a leading restaurant liquidator.

TAGeX Brands is conducting an online auction of Red Lobster kitchen equipment, furniture and other contents at restaurants closing. The auction begins Monday and continues through Thursday, according to company founderNeal Sherman.

Red Lobster locations in multiple cities were listed as “temporarily closed” on Red Lobster’s website, according to local news reports.

In Indianapolis, a closed sign is taped to the door of the Shadeland avenue Red Lobster.

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Red Lobster did not respond to requests for comment. The company has around 650 locations.

Red Lobster is reportedly considering filing for bankruptcy protection. The chain has tapped a restructuring expert as its chief executive, a possible indicator of an impending bankruptcy.

Red Lobster was a restaurant industry pioneer, but has declined in recent years due to a range of factors, including corporate mismanagement, say former leaders at the chain and restaurant analysts.

In 2020, Thai Union, a longtime supplier to Red Lobster, took an undisclosed financial stake in the chain, becoming a key shareholder. Since then, Red Lobster has cycled through four CEOs and an all-you-can-eat shrimp deal last year that slowed down table service and cut into Thai Union’s profitability.

Thai Union said earlier this year it would divest from Red Lobster and take a $530 million loss on its investment.