Red Lobster's New Menu Isn't Working, Report Says

Red Lobster unveiled a new menu last month to stem declining traffic and sales.

But so far the menu, which now offers more seafood items, has failed to impress customers, according to a new survey.

Since the menu’s November launch, Red Lobster’s value perception with diners has declined to its lowest level in two years, the survey by YouGov found.

The survey also showed a decline in the number of consumers who would consider eating Red Lobster the next time they dine out, from 36% of respondents a month ago to 27% today.

YouGov interviewed 17,000 people over the age of 18 for the survey.

Red Lobster disputes the survey’s findings.

“YouGov’s study findings are inconsistent with Red Lobster’s guest research,” a spokesperson for Red Lobster said in an e-mailed statement.

“Since the launch of our new menu, guest satisfaction scores have shown meaningful improvement and have been steadily rising since the start of this year. Guests have also told us they like the new seafood-focused menu and our new lobster-based entrees are among the most popular in restaurant right now. These new entrees are highly craveable, offered at a broad range of price points and are well-suited for a variety of different meal occasions.”

The new menu was implemented by Red Lobster’s new owners, the private equity firm Golden Gate Capital.

Golden Gate acquired the troubled chain earlier this year from Olive Garden parent company Darden Restaurants.

Red Lobster’s sales over the last fiscal year declined 6% at locations open at least a year. During the same time period, the seafood chain suffered a 9.3% decline in traffic.

The menu changes added more lobster and seafood dishes, such as a lobster scampi linguine, and got rid of dishes like Wood-Grilled Pork Chop.

Overall, the percentage of seafood items on the menu was increased from 75% to 85%.

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