Red Lobster, an American seafood company, files for bankruptcy

Versatile and resilient, the lobster survives by molting, shedding its skin, and growing a new, larger shell. But eventually, energy runs low and change becomes more difficult.

Red Lobster, one of America’s best-known shellfish ambassadors, has reached this point in its life cycle: a once-ubiquitous restaurant chain. Filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy Sunday Preserve has been the nation’s premier seafood franchise for more than half a century.

In court filings, the company said it has more than 100,000 lenders and loans ranging from $1 billion to $10 billion. Red Lobster said it plans to reduce its locations as it prepares to sell most of its assets. Meanwhile, the remaining Red Lobster restaurants will remain open.

It was a painful, slow end for Red Lobster, whose demise was telegraphed earlier this year when the company was said to be trying to restructure its debt. After decades as a General Mills subsidiary, Red Lobster was bought by a private equity firm in 2014 and boosted by a 2020 investment from the Thai Seafood Consortium. But it has faced challenges in the years since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, with industry headwinds, rising costs and changes in eating habits forcing the company to close. Less active locations.

Thailand Seafood Company, Thai Union Committee, announced in January that it was divesting its Red Lobster investment. Last week, dozens of Red Lobster locations began selling assets through a liquidator, giving away the spoils of a crumbling restaurant dynasty like industrial freezers, lobster tanks and bar equipment (alcohol not included).

In its heyday, Red Lobster achieved coveted status among suburban dining options: affordable enough to be adventurous, fancy enough to be adventurous. Although founded in Orlando, Fla., the chain takes much of its inspiration from Bar Harbor, a tourist destination on Maine’s rocky Atlantic coast.

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During its 56-year lifespan, Red Lobster has seen many innovations. Initially billed as an oyster lounge and cocktail bar in the 1960s and 70s, Red Lobster later evolved into a family-friendly dining option that served as an introduction to seafood for many.

It may have peaked in cultural consciousness with Beyoncé’s reference to the restaurant’s name-dropping in her 2016 song “Formation.” He fell from it. Last year, the chain stumbled on a shrimp deal so popular with diners that it helped push the company into an $11 million quarterly loss.

“This restructuring is the best path forward for Red Lobster,” said Jonathan Dibus, the company’s chief executive. Report On Sunday. “This allows us to address many financial and operational challenges and remain strong and focused on our growth.”

Red Lobster did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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