Before any Red Lobster fans go into some kind of crustacean-related panic, the chain isn’t going away forever. But that being said, it sounds like its parent company Darden Restaurants is trying awfully hard to distance itself from the seafood chain.
Darden said it’ll be working on splitting its 705 U.S. and Canada Red Lobster locations off from the rest of the company either as a tax-free spin-off to shareholders or an outright sale. It’s also going to stopping expansion of Olive Garden and won’t take on any new ventures in the “foreseeable future,” reports the Los Angeles Times.
Despite this news, Darden stressed that “there can be no assurance that any transaction will ultimately occur.”
Things haven’t been that great for casual dining chains like Red Lobster and Darden’s other restaurants in the face of increasing competition from cheaper fast-casual destinations like Chipotle and Panera and the powers that be at the company know it.
“Our industry is in a period of significant change, with relatively low levels of consumer demand in each of the past several years for restaurants generally, and for casual dining in particular,” Darden Chief Executive Clarence Otis said in a statement.
As long as those unlimited Cheddar Bay Biscuits everyone apparently thinks taste like casual dining’s gift to man stay around, people will probably be just fine with whatever Red Lobster’s fate ends up to be.