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(Medium)   How Red Lobster discovered that offering Americans all-you-can-eat crab legs might not be as brilliant a business plan as you'd think   (medium.com) divider line
    More: Obvious, Buffet, Red Lobster, snow crab legs, Edna Morris, Golden Corral, High demand, Red Lobster president Edna Morris, CEO of Red Lobster  
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2992 clicks; posted to Business » and Food » on 23 May 2020 at 12:34 PM (7 days ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook



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2020-05-23 10:14:02 AM  
Chesapeake Bay Seafood House would make you wait 20 minutes for half a rack.  Here, have some more delicious hush puppies while you wait.

They were not cheap with their shrimp, as I can attest to personally.
 
2020-05-23 10:30:09 AM  
I took advantage of that, got really high first, we had probably 30 baskets of crab legs between the 3 of us, it takes a lot of crab to fill up a group of high 20 something dudes.
 
2020-05-23 10:31:34 AM  
I could really eat crab all day long.  For at least 1 day.  It does take a while to get the meat out, and if you don't have a significant other to tell you to stop, well I might just keep eating for quite a while.
 
2020-05-23 10:34:17 AM  
What, did the all-you-can-eat tilapia special not pan out? (Shiver...)
 
2020-05-23 11:30:54 AM  
The seafood at Red Lobster is so terrible in general I don't understand how they're still in business.

Unrelated,
I remember many years ago someone at work discovered the bar at the airport Hilton had a happy hour every Friday that featured a free buffet with all-you-can-eat boiled shrimp.
For several weeks over the summer every Friday after work a dozen or so of us would descend on the bar and indulge in $2 beers and pounds and pounds of shrimp.
It was great fun while it lasted but alas, we ruined it.
After a month or so we arrived one Friday and discovered the shrimp was gone, replaced by bad roast beef.
Anyway, csb.
 
2020-05-23 11:36:40 AM  

swaniefrmreddeer: I took advantage of that, got really high first, we had probably 30 baskets of crab legs between the 3 of us, it takes a lot of crab to fill up a group of high 20 something dudes.


Not to mention that the work it takes to actually get to the edible meat burns calories and you end up with negative calorie gain overall.
 
7 days ago  
That was pretty interesting.

You just know there was some non-tema player who thought of the downsides and pointed them out before the promotion ever launched. Likely that person had moved on before the CEO.
 
7 days ago  
And if you want to do crabs, go to a place that throws down newspaper on the table and the only utensil is a small mallet.  There was a place in Baltimore that was even outside (Mikes?).
 
7 days ago  

RolandTGunner: The seafood at Red Lobster is so terrible in general I don't understand how they're still in business.

Unrelated,
I remember many years ago someone at work discovered the bar at the airport Hilton had a happy hour every Friday that featured a free buffet with all-you-can-eat boiled shrimp.
For several weeks over the summer every Friday after work a dozen or so of us would descend on the bar and indulge in $2 beers and pounds and pounds of shrimp.
It was great fun while it lasted but alas, we ruined it.
After a month or so we arrived one Friday and discovered the shrimp was gone, replaced by bad roast beef.
Anyway, csb.


When I was in college a local hotel had a similar happy hour setup that my friends and I discovered.   Not necessarily boiled shrimp quality food but decent free bar appetizer type food and crazy cheap pitchers of beer.
 
7 days ago  
All you can eat crabs - is this another thread about Alabama strip clubs opening up again?
 
6 days ago  
Their holding company, Darden, was only able to absorb the shock because their other restaurant, Olive Garden, was pulling its weight.

Breadsticks are cheap to make.
 
6 days ago  
Nobody is eating ANY crab legs at Red Lobster right now.

RolandTGunner: The seafood at Red Lobster is so terrible in general I don't understand how they're still in business.


It could be a location thing. In general, I've been fine with the seafood at Red Lobster, but there is one location I haven't been to in 25 years... a terrible franchise location, and the owner has the exclusive for 30 miles around his location - refusing any others to open up; because of this, there was always a 2 hour wait to get in, and the food and service were absolutely awful. The last straw for me was being served a raw lobster tail, and waiting over an hour for  replacement  - after the manager demanded the raw tail be brought to him to prove it was raw, rather than coming to our table and apologizing. I imagined he was sitting on a throne in the back of the kitchen, demanding fealty of the overworked staff. I was there with 4 other people, and everybody had finished by the time I finally got a cooked tail.
 
6 days ago  
I worked there during this promotion. It was a pain in the ass. Customers would come in 15 minutes before closing and order it. The worst part was the amount of butter people would want. I would have customers that wanted a bowl of clarified butter to put the crab meat in and then they'd eat that like soup. The food waste was sad, too. Most customers wouldn't eat any of the meat in the knuckle.
 
6 days ago  
lycanth: Their holding company, Darden, was only able to absorb the shock because their other restaurant, Olive Garden, was pulling its weight.

Considering the clientele, that's no mean feat.
 
6 days ago  
I am glad the author took some time to get in some well deserved humblebragging.
 
6 days ago  

ski9600: I could really eat crab all day long.  For at least 1 day.  It does take a while to get the meat out, and if you don't have a significant other to tell you to stop, well I might just keep eating for quite a while.


Crack, the joint, slice the shell with a fork tine sliding in and pulling up, pull the meat out.  Very easy.
 
6 days ago  
Man, times have changed. 20 years ago I remember going to all-you-can-eat seafood buffets for around $20 (maybe ~$30 in today's dollars). Heaped with crab, shrimp, multiple types of fish, shellfish. Everyone gorged themselves, and the places stayed in business for years. My favorite was one in Waikiki, unlimited poke & sushi for about $25 (in 2006)--I damn near went blind trying to eat my weight in fresh tuna and abalone.

Those excesses weren't good for fish stocks, certainly. They were great at the time.

I'm surprised Red Lobster didn't price higher, build in speed bumps, and limit the promotion to a shorter period. I would think unlimited snow crab specials have a fair amount of industry benchmarking available. They should have known.
 
6 days ago  

RolandTGunner: The seafood at Red Lobster is so terrible in general I don't understand how they're still in business.

Unrelated,
I remember many years ago someone at work discovered the bar at the airport Hilton had a happy hour every Friday that featured a free buffet with all-you-can-eat boiled shrimp.
For several weeks over the summer every Friday after work a dozen or so of us would descend on the bar and indulge in $2 beers and pounds and pounds of shrimp.
It was great fun while it lasted but alas, we ruined it.
After a month or so we arrived one Friday and discovered the shrimp was gone, replaced by bad roast beef.
Anyway, csb.


It's a location thing. Generally speaking most if not all Red Lobster locations are well inland where they have little to no competition from other places that specialize in seafood so folks locally aren't as likely to have a good handle on what is or isn't top quality seafood.     Many of these areas other seafood options are limited to fried fish, breaded shrimp and maybe Lobster once a week or less frequently which a high price point.   Stuff like crab legs and Scallops are virtually absent from most menus.
 
6 days ago  
FTFA: On the way home, if we were lucky, we'd eat at Golden Corral. It's an all-you-can-eat buffet in many southern states.

IF you were lucky?

th.bing.comView Full Size
 
6 days ago  
There was a local seafood place around here (the Rusty Scrupper I think), that had all-you-can-eat crab leg specials.

They put innate limits on it by making them salty as hell.

And things need to be real real salty before I go 'enough'

/maybe they thought they could make it up by selling beer
 
6 days ago  
Fark user imageView Full Size
 
6 days ago  
Am I the only one who felt that the plastic "zipper" they gave out (if any at all) was a joke? What I did was take a fork, insert one prong into the leg under the shell, and using an old-timey can opener motion, was able to pull back the shell and get an intact stick..............of delicious...............spongey crab............meat..........

gifimage.netView Full Size
 
6 days ago  

lycanth: Their holding company, Darden, was only able to absorb the shock because their other restaurant, Olive Garden, was pulling its weight.

Breadsticks are cheap to make.


Darden sold off Red Lobster about 6 years ago.   I think the writer was just making stuff up to pad out the piece.
 
6 days ago  

mcreadyblue: lycanth: Their holding company, Darden, was only able to absorb the shock because their other restaurant, Olive Garden, was pulling its weight.

Breadsticks are cheap to make.

Darden sold off Red Lobster about 6 years ago.   I think the writer was just making stuff up to pad out the piece.


The article references then CEO Edna Morris who was CEO from 2002-2003 soo the timeline and facts check out but why they would write an article about something that occurred 6 years ago without anything referencing that this story was 6 years old I have no idea.

I suspect he writes these articles in advance and just burns through his backlog when he can't find anything current to write about.
 
6 days ago  
It's always strange when companies hire CEOs that apparently never passed entry level business courses. Like the person they hired had blackmail on someone important or something.

I feel like someone who took microeconomics would have foreseen the flaw in this plan of offering an unlimited access of a controlled resource.
 
6 days ago  

grimlock1972: RolandTGunner: The seafood at Red Lobster is so terrible in general I don't understand how they're still in business.

Unrelated,
I remember many years ago someone at work discovered the bar at the airport Hilton had a happy hour every Friday that featured a free buffet with all-you-can-eat boiled shrimp.
For several weeks over the summer every Friday after work a dozen or so of us would descend on the bar and indulge in $2 beers and pounds and pounds of shrimp.
It was great fun while it lasted but alas, we ruined it.
After a month or so we arrived one Friday and discovered the shrimp was gone, replaced by bad roast beef.
Anyway, csb.

It's a location thing. Generally speaking most if not all Red Lobster locations are well inland where they have little to no competition from other places that specialize in seafood so folks locally aren't as likely to have a good handle on what is or isn't top quality seafood.     Many of these areas other seafood options are limited to fried fish, breaded shrimp and maybe Lobster once a week or less frequently which a high price point.   Stuff like crab legs and Scallops are virtually absent from most menus.


I live in southish Florida and every city down here has at least one despite being on the coast and having lots of local options.  The one in my town does brisk business.  The only time I ate there was for the office Christmas party.  Frankly I dont get it either.
 
6 days ago  
I was at a Chinese buffet once and saw a really fat lady pull out the entire tray of crab legs off the buffet line and take it back to her table.
 
6 days ago  

ruetheday69: swaniefrmreddeer: I took advantage of that, got really high first, we had probably 30 baskets of crab legs between the 3 of us, it takes a lot of crab to fill up a group of high 20 something dudes.

Not to mention that the work it takes to actually get to the edible meat burns calories and you end up with negative calorie gain overall.


This is my usual problem. I give up. I should just bring my own ball peen hammer.
 
6 days ago  

Chief Superintendent Lookout: FTFA: On the way home, if we were lucky, we'd eat at Golden Corral. It's an all-you-can-eat buffet in many southern states.

IF you were lucky?

[th.bing.com image 300x225]


Usually it was just a Shoney's salad bar
 
6 days ago  

Igor Jakovsky: grimlock1972: RolandTGunner: The seafood at Red Lobster is so terrible in general I don't understand how they're still in business.

Unrelated,
I remember many years ago someone at work discovered the bar at the airport Hilton had a happy hour every Friday that featured a free buffet with all-you-can-eat boiled shrimp.
For several weeks over the summer every Friday after work a dozen or so of us would descend on the bar and indulge in $2 beers and pounds and pounds of shrimp.
It was great fun while it lasted but alas, we ruined it.
After a month or so we arrived one Friday and discovered the shrimp was gone, replaced by bad roast beef.
Anyway, csb.

It's a location thing. Generally speaking most if not all Red Lobster locations are well inland where they have little to no competition from other places that specialize in seafood so folks locally aren't as likely to have a good handle on what is or isn't top quality seafood.     Many of these areas other seafood options are limited to fried fish, breaded shrimp and maybe Lobster once a week or less frequently which a high price point.   Stuff like crab legs and Scallops are virtually absent from most menus.

I live in southish Florida and every city down here has at least one despite being on the coast and having lots of local options.  The one in my town does brisk business.  The only time I ate there was for the office Christmas party.  Frankly I dont get it either.


Probably old people, I'd assume.
 
6 days ago  
Fark user imageView Full Size

Fark user imageView Full Size
 
6 days ago  

born_yesterday: And if you want to do crabs, go to a place that throws down newspaper on the table and the only utensil is a small mallet.  There was a place in Baltimore that was even outside (Mikes?).


If you need a mallet you don't know how to eat it.
 
6 days ago  
Jameis Winston really likes the crab leg buffet.
 
6 days ago  
Crab are the cockroaches of the sea.
 
6 days ago  

TedCruz'sCrazyDad: Crab are the cockroaches of the sea.


I usually reserve that descriptor for crawfish, but...

Fark user imageView Full Size
 
6 days ago  

Igor Jakovsky: grimlock1972: RolandTGunner: The seafood at Red Lobster is so terrible in general I don't understand how they're still in business.

Unrelated,
I remember many years ago someone at work discovered the bar at the airport Hilton had a happy hour every Friday that featured a free buffet with all-you-can-eat boiled shrimp.
For several weeks over the summer every Friday after work a dozen or so of us would descend on the bar and indulge in $2 beers and pounds and pounds of shrimp.
It was great fun while it lasted but alas, we ruined it.
After a month or so we arrived one Friday and discovered the shrimp was gone, replaced by bad roast beef.
Anyway, csb.

It's a location thing. Generally speaking most if not all Red Lobster locations are well inland where they have little to no competition from other places that specialize in seafood so folks locally aren't as likely to have a good handle on what is or isn't top quality seafood.     Many of these areas other seafood options are limited to fried fish, breaded shrimp and maybe Lobster once a week or less frequently which a high price point.   Stuff like crab legs and Scallops are virtually absent from most menus.

I live in southish Florida and every city down here has at least one despite being on the coast and having lots of local options.  The one in my town does brisk business.  The only time I ate there was for the office Christmas party.  Frankly I dont get it either.


I have a theory about that, based on visits to family in Naple and JAX.  To cater to retired Northerners and snowbirds, national chains opened up in FL to provide those folks with familiar brands.  On my last trips down, I looked about and thought that, with the exception of the vegetation, there was little to indicate that you were in Florida, not suburban Boston, Bloomington, MN, or Shaumburg, IL.  You had to work to find the crab shacks (not Joe's!) or fish camps.  My last trip down was for meetings at the Kennedy Space Center and when we were after some good local seafood, we drove until we spotted guys in baseball caps, wearing wifebeaters, and drinking longnecks.  That turned out to be a handy metric.
 
6 days ago  

overzelus: TedCruz'sCrazyDad: Crab are the cockroaches of the sea.

I usually reserve that descriptor for crawfish, but...

[Fark user image image 800x450]


Crawfish don't live in the sea, lobsters are the cockroaches of the sea, crabs are more like ticks
 
6 days ago  

chitownmike: overzelus: TedCruz'sCrazyDad: Crab are the cockroaches of the sea.

I usually reserve that descriptor for crawfish, but...

[Fark user image image 800x450]

Crawfish don't live in the sea, lobsters are the cockroaches of the sea, crabs are more like ticks


Cthulhu's pubic lice.
 
6 days ago  

OkieDookie: Jameis Winston really likes the crab leg buffet.


joebucsfan.comView Full Size
 
6 days ago  

chitownmike: Crawfish don't live in the sea


Touche.
So cockroaches of... the estuaries?
 
6 days ago  
I know I'm taking my life in my own hands every time I do it, but so worth it.  Available every Monday, and generally within a five minute drive:

http://thrasherscornerpub.com/index.p​h​p/component/k2/item/50-every-monday-is​-crab-day
 
6 days ago  

chitownmike: overzelus: TedCruz'sCrazyDad: Crab are the cockroaches of the sea.

I usually reserve that descriptor for crawfish, but...

[Fark user image image 800x450]

Crawfish don't live in the sea, lobsters are the cockroaches of the sea, crabs are more like ticks


What the hell then did your mom have?
 
6 days ago  

mcreadyblue: lycanth: Their holding company, Darden, was only able to absorb the shock because their other restaurant, Olive Garden, was pulling its weight.

Breadsticks are cheap to make.

Darden sold off Red Lobster about 6 years ago.   I think the writer was just making stuff up to pad out the piece.



CSB: The events of this article took place in the mid 2000s. Edna Morris was a client of mine about a dozen years ago. She introduced herself to me as the person behind the "all you can eat" disaster but I really never knew all the details until this article. She and her husband are great folks and fun to be with. Thankfully, she has a great sense of humor. If I had met her before this bad decision I would have warned her about my wife who could single-handedly sink Red Lobster with an all-you-can-eat crab offering. Don't get between Mrs. Fla and her crabs. You'll draw back a nub.
 
6 days ago  

Chief Superintendent Lookout: FTFA: On the way home, if we were lucky, we'd eat at Golden Corral. It's an all-you-can-eat buffet in many southern states.

IF you were lucky?

[th.bing.com image 300x225]


Normally I'd agree with you. The ones I've been to in New England have been not good, but I believe it was in Baltimore, I was returning from a work trip and dropped off the rental car and there was a golden corral nextdoor. So rather than deal with overpriced airport food I decided to head over and Holy Crap, whoever they had working there was amazing. The food did not taste like a crappy buffet, but was really good. I assumed these places all ordered the same frozen / canned food and just reheated it.
 
6 days ago  
Wilst living in Vegas, and visiting the M resort I witnessed such an assault on the crab legs that I was in shock. There was a table of a few diners and they took so much crab it was falling on the floor.
 
6 days ago  

keldaria: mcreadyblue: lycanth: Their holding company, Darden, was only able to absorb the shock because their other restaurant, Olive Garden, was pulling its weight.

Breadsticks are cheap to make.

Darden sold off Red Lobster about 6 years ago.   I think the writer was just making stuff up to pad out the piece.

The article references then CEO Edna Morris who was CEO from 2002-2003 soo the timeline and facts check out but why they would write an article about something that occurred 6 years ago without anything referencing that this story was 6 years old I have no idea.

I suspect he writes these articles in advance and just burns through his backlog when he can't find anything current to write about.


This is not the first time I've seen this article.
 
6 days ago  
Every time I go to Red Lobster, by the time I'm done with those free hush puppies, I figure I might as well go home. They are far and away the best food served there. There is no close second.
 
6 days ago  

born_yesterday: Chesapeake Bay Seafood House would make you wait 20 minutes for half a rack.  Here, have some more delicious hush puppies while you wait.

They were not cheap with their shrimp, as I can attest to personally.


Parents often took us to the old Family Fishouse off the corner of Kempsville Road and Virginia Beach Boulevard back when I was little.
 
6 days ago  

Igor Jakovsky: I was at a Chinese buffet once and saw a really fat lady pull out the entire tray of crab legs off the buffet line and take it back to her table.


I've seen that episode.
frinkiac.comView Full Size
 
6 days ago  
Red Lobster has really gone downhill. I swear the frozen beer battered fish at the grocery store was better quality the last few times I've eaten there.

It's funny because in places like the  Louisana and Texas  coast, Red Lobster doesn't last long  ;-)
 
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