Red Lobster’s turnaround just got a major boost from Beyoncé.
The restaurant chain was in decline when it was taken private nearly two years ago.
Same-stores sales had dropped 5.6% in the fourth quarter of 2014, the last quarter for which the company reported financial results before it was taken private by Golden Gate Capital.
In the prior quarter, same-stores sales had dropped by nearly 9%.
Red Lobster is now making a comeback: the company says it has had positive comparable sales for the last five straight quarters.
And it’s getting some unexpected assistance from Beyoncé, who is helping to make Red Lobster cool again.
Red Lobster’s sales soared 33% on February 7, one day after Beyoncé released a new song that included a reference to the seafood chain.
“We had no idea Beyoncé was going to give us that amazing shoutout,” Red Lobster CEO Kim Lopdrup told Business Insider in a phone interview. “We were completely surprised and delighted. It has been an incredible weekend following the release of Beyoncé’s new song.”
In the song, called Formation, Beyoncé refers to Red Lobster as a reward for sex.
She released the track on Saturday and performed it during the the Super Bowl halftime show Sunday.
Since then, social media mentions of Red Lobster haves soared more than 1,500%, according to Amobee Brand Intelligence, a marketing technology company.
Red Lobster is calling the effect the “Beyoncé bounce.”
But even before Beyoncé’s shoutout, Red Lobster was turning business around by making big changes to its food.
The chain increased the size of its shrimp by at least 47% in most of its dishes and changed how it prepares and cooks the shellfish to make it taste better.
For example, Red Lobster started preparing the shrimp scampi in-house and added more sauce to the dish, after customers said they wanted additional sauce for dipping their cheddar bay biscuits.
“Our guest satisfaction scores are at best-ever levels after making those changes,” Lopdrup said.
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