Fact Sheet


Our History
Red Lobster began as one seafood restaurant in Lakeland, Florida in 1968 and is now the world’s largest casual dining seafood restaurant company, with 47 percent market share in the seafood specialist segment, over 700 restaurants in the United States and Canada and more than 58,000 employees. In the course of our history, Red Lobster became known for introducing and popularizing some of today’s most beloved seafood dishes like snow crab, popcorn shrimp and tilapia. In July 2014, Red Lobster was acquired by Golden Gate Capital, a San Francisco-based private investment firm with extensive experience in the restaurant and retail industries. Prior to that time, Red Lobster was a unit of Darden Restaurants, Inc.

Our Values
The heart and soul of Red Lobster is our people. These are the values that define us:

  • RESPECT - Treat others with dignity; recognize everyone's contributions; embrace diversity.
  • INTEGRITY - Be open and honest with ourselves and others; always do the right thing.
  • GENUINE CARING - Listen and seek to understand; see to the well-being of others.
  • HOSPITALITY - Make every guest feel welcome and special; anticipate their needs.
  • TEAMWORK - Help each other learn, grow and accomplish more than we could on our own.
  • EXCELLENCE - Be accountable for delivering great seafood and results while developing great people.

Our Philosophy
For us at Red Lobster, we focus on three simple things:
Great Seafood.
Great People.
Great Results.

Red Lobster offers a wide selection of freshly prepared, delicious seafood, including live Maine lobster, jumbo shrimp and steamed crab legs. Each day, every Red Lobster features up to eight species of fresh fish, including regional favorites. Guests can choose from a variety of preparation styles, including Red Lobster’s Wood-Fire Grilling platform, and our wide variety of signature combinations of shellfish like our well-known Ultimate Feast®. Of course no Red Lobster meal is complete without a freshly baked basket of Cheddar Bay Biscuits®.


We source our seafood from more than 30 countries around the world and maintain strong long-term relationships with our suppliers to ensure consistent quality. Our Quality Assurance Team works with these suppliers to ensure the best and safest seafood is served to our guests. And we partner with both government and independent food safety organizations like the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Global Food Safety Initiative to ensure the safety of our seafood.

Our commitment to quality and safety goes hand-in-hand with our commitment to caring for the seas. We partner with organizations like the National Fisheries Institute and the Global Aquaculture Alliance (GAA), and we refuse to serve endangered or over-fished species, such as Chilean sea bass, on our menus. We also participate in conservation efforts like never selling live lobsters that are larger than four pounds. And we require our aquaculture suppliers to be certified by the Aquaculture Certification Council as having been produced according to the GAA’s Best Aquaculture Practices.


We have a team of more than 58,000 employees. Many of our managers, general managers and directors of operations began as bussers, servers or kitchen staff, and have built their careers in the restaurant industry at Red Lobster. All of us are committed to providing guests with a great experience and to contributing to the communities in which we serve.


1968: Bill Darden opens the first Red Lobster in Lakeland, Florida
1970: General Mills acquires Red Lobster and began its national expansion
1974: Red Lobster debuts Popcorn Shrimp nationally, quickly becoming a U.S. favorite
1979: Iconic “For the Seafood Lover in You®” ad campaign launches
1983: Red Lobster opens its first restaurant in Canada, in Windsor, Ontario
1984: Red Lobster introduces Lobsterfest®
1988: Red Lobster introduces Cheddar Bay Biscuits®
1995: General Mills spins off restaurant division as Darden Restaurants to become publicly traded company
1996: Red Lobster introduces “Walt’s Favorite Shrimp,” named after one of the company’s earliest employees
2004: Red Lobster introduces “Endless Shrimp®” promotion, which becomes an annual favorite
2008: Red Lobster introduces Wood-Fire Grills and Certified Grill Masters
2009: Red Lobster begins “Bar Harbor” restaurant remodeling program
2011: Red Lobster launches “Sea Food Differently®” campaign
2013: Red Lobster celebrates 45th Anniversary
2014: Private equity firm Golden Gate Capital acquires Red Lobster