Shop Talk

Retailers, consumers and prices

Less fried frozen fish, more endless shrimp

September 17, 2008

shrimp.jpgFrozen seafood is never as tasty as fresh, a problem Red Lobster, whose menu hosts various fried frozen fish dishes, is trying to overcome.

Following a quarter of disappointing sales at its Red Lobster restaurant chain, Darden is trying to change the ”perception that the menu at Red Lobster is primarily comprised of frozen seafood prepared in a fried manner and not having a lot of interesting innovation, flavor profiles, culinary expertise,” said Darden’s CEO Clarence Otis on a call with analysts.

In other words, fried frozen fish lacks the flavor of fresh produce.

To change that, “the menu that’s coming out late in the second quarter is really designed to maintain or increase appeal of current users, which is important, but also address those concerns about, this is frozen, fried seafood without any interesting flavor profiles,” Otis said.

Darden also offers fresh lobsters, which customers can pluck from a tank in some of its restaurants,  but people ate less lobster over the summer as high per-pound prices turned off consumers already pressured by skyrocketing gas and grocery prices. 

Now that per-pound lobster prices have eased, Red Lobster plans to lower prices on some of its lobster dishes. To entice customers who might enjoy Olive Garden’s “endless pasta bowl,” Red Lobster also began three weeks ago to offer ”endless shrimp,” which hopefully has an interesting flavor profile. Darden didn’t mention whether the endless shrimp will be fresh or frozen.



Um…they do endless shrimp ever year around this time. It’s not as if this is some new and novel concept you’ve stumbled across.

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