Red Lobster Restaurants To Close

By Jay Casteel  |  12/23/2013

Red Lobster

R.I.P. Red Lobster. The seafood restaurant chain is reportedly closing up shop.

According to New York Times, its parent company Darden Restaurants announced Thursday (Dec. 19) that Red Lobster is planning to execute "a tax-free spin-off" or sell of the franchise completely.

Apparently, investors and analysts have pressured Darden about its future and how it planned to bring back consumers after the recession. Though it's one of the biggest companies in the casual dining industry, with a market value of $6.7 billion, its core chains -- Red Lobster being its first -- have had stagnant growth.

Red Lobster has 705 restaurants in the U.S. and Canada, and had annual sales of about $2.6 billion in the company's 2013 fiscal year.

It's unclear when the locations would begin closing or changing at press time.

In addition to Red Lobster's closure, Darden also plans to halt expansion at its core Olive Garden chain, and slowing down opening new locations for LongHorn Steakhouse.