Home News Red Lobster shutters dozens of restaurants, puts them up for auction

Red Lobster shutters dozens of restaurants, puts them up for auction

Red Lobster is shuttering dozens of restaurants across the country, including several locations in New York and New Jersey.

The restaurant chain, famous for bringing affordable seafood to middle-class costumers, has long been heralded as a pioneer in the casual dining industry. In recent months, however, it has been plagued by a large debt load, executive turnover and financial losses, triggering considerations of a Chapter 11 Bankruptcy filing.

Their struggles have seemingly culminated in restaurant closures spanning several states, marking one of the only times Red Lobster has been forced to simultaneously close dozens of stores since it first started serving customers more than 50 years ago.

On Monday, TAGeX Brands, an auction company that specializes in restaurant and food auctions, revealed it would be conducting an online sale of Red Lobster restaurant inventory, including kitchen equipment, furniture, tables and chairs.

According to the TAGeX notice, the sale is its “largest restaurant equipment auction ever.” It kicked off Monday and is set to end on Sunday.

“On our Restaurant Equipment marketplace, we are auctioning off 50+ locations across the country,” TAGeX said Monday. “These auctions are WINNER TAKES ALL — meaning, each winner will receive the ENTIRE contents of the Red Lobster location they bid on.”

The scope of impacted stores, however, may be significantly larger. On Tuesday, Restaurant Business Magazine reported 99 locations were closing, which represents about 15% of Red Lobster’s approximately 700 locations.

It still remains the largest seafood restaurant chain in the U.S.

The closures come after Thai Union, one of Red Lobster’s biggest investors, announced it was seeking to end its partnership with the popular eatery earlier this year. It cited the “COVID-19 pandemic, sustained industry headwinds, higher interest rates and rising material and labor costs” as reasons for its exit.

In response, Red Lobster said it was seeking a buyer in bid to avoid filing for bankruptcy, but no one has yet come forward with an offer.


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