Thursday, June 6, 2024

[UPDATE] Red Lobster Looks to Shutter Several More Suburban Atlanta Units

Struggling casual restaurant Red Lobster, which last month filed for bankruptcy and abruptly closed about 50 restaurants, is now looking to close several dozen more.  The initial closures included three restaurants in Georgia: Roswell (1050 Holcomb Bridge Road), Athens (1956 W. Broad Street), and Dublin (2105 Veterans Boulevard).   

In its recent court filing, Red Lobster said that it had more than $1 billion in debt and less than $30 million in cash on hand.  The new list of locations in danger of closing was revealed in court filings last week, and all could be shuttered if they can’t renegotiate their leases.  The new list, which includes its iconic Times Square location, contains four more Georgia locations:

2679 Adams Farm Dr., Columbus

6550 Tara Blvd., Jonesboro

700 Shorter Ave., Rome

2579 Cobb Parkway, Smyrna

The Cobb Parkway location, situated on a more than 1.5 acre parcel about a half mile from Truist Park, will likely be the most in demand site should it and the other Georgia locations close.  Cobb County property records indicate that the roughly 8,500 square foot building was constructed in 1983 and that it last sold at the end of 2017 (also the first year the Braves played at Truist Park) for about $5.5 million.  

The first Red Lobster opened in Lakeland, Florida in 1968.  The restaurant's founder, William "Bill" Darden, was born in Waycross, Georgia in 1918, and the seafood eatery was the encore of sorts to Darden's first restaurant, The Green Frog, which he opened in Waycross.  After growing the concept to a handful of locations, Darden sold the business to General Mills in 1970.  The cereal company ran the business - which in the 80s also grew to include Olive Garden - until 1995, when it spun off Darden Restaurants, Inc. into its own standalone company.    

Darden announced in May 2014 it would be selling what was then a just over 700 unit Red Lobster chain to Golden Gate Capital for $2.1 billion.   Seafood supplier Thai Union acquired a 25 percent stake in the company in 2016 for a reported $575 million, and in 2020 led an investment group that purchased the remaining portion from Golden Gate Capital.  This past January, however, Thai Union announced its intention to fully divest the struggling chain.    

Red Lobster continues to operate several Atlanta area restaurants including those on LaVista Road in Tucker, Camp Creek Marketplace in East Point, and on Pleasant Hill Road in Duluth, among others.  Following the closures, the company will operate about 600 restaurants globally.    

Are you surprised to see Red Lobster shutter so many restaurants?  What is your favorite casual dining restaurant chain?  What would you like to see open in place of the closed and likely to close Red Lobster restaurants around Georgia?   

Please share your thoughts below.


LarryG said...

I'm not surprised at all. I haven't eaten at a Red Lobster in years because I don't see them as a good value.

Anonymous said...

Who the heck can afford to eat out. Me and my wife went to eat at Ruth Chris for our Anniversary and dinner for two $302.00, five years ago it was half that price.

Anonymous said...

Red Lobster is not $302 for dinner for two.

Anonymous said...

I'd be kinda sad to see the one on Cobb Pkwy close, but they have poor management up there. The food isn't always the best, you really don't know if you are getting a good or bad experience, especially with take-out.

$302 @ Ruth Chris?! What did you order?!

Anonymous said...


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