Red Lobster reviewers say Endless Shrimp isn’t the only reason for bankruptcy

Was Endless Shrimp the cause of Red Lobster's downfall? - Mika Baumeister on UnSplash

But business analysts say the promotion didn’t help the company’s bottom line

After closing 50 restaurants last week, restaurant chain Red Lobster this week filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. 

While the chain’s “Endless Shrimp” promotion may have played a role in the company’s financial struggles, consumers posting recent reviews at ConsumerAffairs have noticed a long slide in quality.

Donna, of Grand Island, Fla., told us she and her family had been going to the Leesburg, Fla., location for years and always enjoyed it.

Last night we went to celebrate our grandson's birthday and it was the worst ever,” Donna wrote in a ConsumerAffairs review. “The server, Joyce, was awesome. She was the only thing positive about this place. The food was mediocre and way overpriced. They now charge extra for certain items, which used to come with the meal, and whatever happened to the salads that you got with your meal?”

Maryann, of Kearny, N.J., recently visited the Paramus location and was disappointed in the quality of the food.

“The shrimp tasted bad,” she told us. “I don’t understand why. Why would they serve food like this? The restaurant was also dirty.”

Too expensive?

Some business experts have said the chain’s endless shrimp promotion was part of its downfall since patrons who ordered the item always got their moneysworth and more. But Howard, of Mesa, Ariz., thinks the shrimp is overpriced.

“When we first started, the Endless Shrimp was $14.99,” Howard wrote. “I think then it went up to $16.99 and stayed there for a while. Then in one year approximately it jumped to $21.99 or $22.99, NOW $27. IN ONE YEAR. OUTRAGEOUS!!! RIDICULOUS!!!”

Slate interviewed some former Red Lobster servers, who described the Endless Shrimp promotion as a nightmare – not just for the company’s bottom line but also for the people working there.

One server said a party of five came in one Friday night and ordered the shrimp. One patron, he said ordered 16 servings of shrimp scampi.

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