"At the end of the day, we believe that seafood is really why people come to Red Lobster," said Salli Setta, Red Lobster's president, in a phone interview.
The revamped menu is 85 percent seafood, up from 75 percent. Red Lobster says the menu will be easier to navigate and features more photos of the food. Four of the five new dishes include lobster, and it's increasing the amount of shrimp in the popular "Ultimate Feast" platter by 50 percent. The price of the dish, which also includes lobster and crab, will go up by a dollar to $26.99.
The reversal comes after Red Lobster was sold off to investment firm Golden Gate Capital by Darden this summer. Darden, which is based in Orlando, Florida, and owns Olive Garden, had failed to turn around the chain's declining sales and blamed a variety of factors such as the growing availability of shrimp at other restaurants and price-sensitive customers.
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For its last fiscal year, Darden had said Red Lobster's sales declined 6 percent at established locations, following a 2.2 percent decline the previous year. Red Lobster, which is still operating out of Darden's offices until it moves into its new home, no longer has to disclose its sales figures because it is privately held.