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Red Lobster sold in $2.1 billion deal

By Candice Choi / Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 01:32 a.m. HST, May 17, 2014

Darden Restaurants Inc. is setting Red Lobster adrift but betting that it can still turn around Olive Garden's fortunes.

The company, based in Orlando, Fla., said Friday that it would sell its seafood chain, which has a restaurant in Wai­kiki, to investment firm Golden Gate Capital in a $2.1 billion cash deal. The announcement came despite objections from some shareholders to the plan to separate Red Lobster, which was announced late last year.

Both Olive Garden and Red Lobster have been losing customers in recent years, even as they changed their menus and marketing campaigns to win back business. Part of the problem is the growing popularity of places like Chi­potle and Panera, where customers feel they can get the same quality of food without paying as much or waiting for table service.

But Darden CEO Clarence Otis has drawn a distinction between Red Lobster and Olive Garden. He says Red Lobster in particular is increasingly unable to attract the higher-income customers Darden caters to with its more successful chains.

Red Lobster, which opened in 1968, helped popularize seafood among Americans and today has about 700 locations in the U.S. and Canada.

Darden sees more potential in fixing Olive Garden, which has about 830 locations.

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mellishi wrote:
...either way, we loose and suck wind bruddah! Yes, expensive to buy one lobster dinner at Red Lobster, when you can go Tamashiro Market and take home cook yourself (big pot of hot water and salt)! Too bad no more Olive Garden with its "Soup & Salad" all you can choke down for $7.95 !!!
on May 17,2014 | 10:35AM
8082062424 wrote:
yes we need a olive garden here it my favorite place to eat when im in Vegas
on May 17,2014 | 06:52PM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
A lot of clams to buy a Red Lobster.
on May 17,2014 | 12:38PM
KaneoheSJ wrote:
Good one.
on May 17,2014 | 01:17PM
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