Red Lobster Ditching Low-Priced Specials, Introducing Fancier Plating Because It Wants To Be Classy

Red Lobster's new vertical plating.

Red Lobster’s new vertical plating.

Love a good deal on 30 shrimp for $11.99, or lobster dishes on the cheap? You won’t be able to get those kinds of steep discount dishes at Red Lobster anymore, now that the former Darden restaurant is with a new company and trying to class its act up. Instead, you’ll get fish plated in a fancier way than before and some higher priced offerings.

Red Lobster’s new CEO Kim Lopdrup says the company is axing the promotional discounts — though Crabfest and Endless Shrimp will live on — in an attempt to recapture its spot in the casual dining category, reports the Associated Press.

In this effort to look more like a fancy restaurant and less like fast food restaurants, Lopdrup says Red Lobster can win back customers who see it as “fine-dining for the middle class.”

“At the end of the day, people are not going to go a Chipotle for their anniversary or their birthday,” he said.

But when they get there, those familiar specials won’t be there to greet them.

“You’re not going to see any of these low-priced specials that we’re not proud of,” he said.

And food will look different, too — instead of serving fish dishes on rectangular plates with fish, rice and veggies occupying separate sections of the plate, the fish will now be stacked vertically atop other items on a circular plate, like it is in fancier eateries.

“The food arranged in a way that’s more like you’d see at a fine-dining restaurant,” Lopdrup said. “The seafood is the star.”

Essentially, it’s just about presentation — the plates will be different, but the actual food on the dish will stay the same for now.

In the future, Lopdrup says the company is using a “barbell strategy,” which means it’ll still offer more affordable menu items as well as dishes that cost more than $30. Which means Lopdrup is right — there’s nothing for $30 at Chipotle — but will anyone pay that much at Red Lobster?

Red Lobster tries acting like a fancier restaurant [Associated press]