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Red Lobster fires back about whether new menu is working

Red Lobster's attempt to win over customers with more seafood appears to be having the opposite effect, according to a survey by YouGov BrandIndex.

The company's revamped menu moves the chain closer to its seafood core, increasing the portion of seafood items to 85 percent from 75 percent. Although the company made the switch after customers indicated they wanted more seafood, it doesn't appear to be having the desired effect, according to YouGov's poll of 17,000 adults who say they are likely or very likely to dine out at least once in the next month. YouGov says the poll is a daily measure of brand perception.

Michael Nagle | Bloomberg | Getty Images

On Thursday, Red Lobster fired back at YouGov's findings, saying that the seafood chain's actual results and internal research show the opposite is true. Same-restaurant sales have been positive in the second quarter and since the new menu's launch, Red Lobster spokeswoman Erica Ettori told CNBC.

That would mark a big improvement from when same-restaurant sales slid 5.6 percent in its last full quarter under the Darden Restaurants umbrella.

"[O]ur guest satisfaction is the highest it has been in three years," Ettori said. "Additionally, sales of the new items are exceeding expectations, which demonstrates the menu is resonating with guests. We couldn't be more pleased with the response our new menu is receiving from our guests."

In YouGov's poll, fewer people said they would consider dining at Red Lobster the next time they are choosing a restaurant to visit. On Tuesday, just 26 percent of people said they'd think about going to Red Lobster—down from nearly 36 percent the day before the new campaign launched. (The chain peaked this year at 37.4 percent in late February.)

"What we're not seeing in the first month since that new menu launched is any positive impact on brand perception," said Ted Marzilli, CEO of YouGov BrandIndex.

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"Right now it doesn't look like it's resonating with consumers," he added.

Still, this portion is much higher than the casual dining average of 14 percent.

The new menu marks Red Lobster's first since going private in July.

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Red Lobster also hiked the price of its "Ultimate Feast" seafood platter, which includes lobster, crab and shrimp, by a dollar. Meanwhile, it increased the amount of shrimp in the dish by 50 percent.

Following the menu changes, people's value perception of the chain plunged to 4.3 as of Tuesday from 12.5 before it launched, according to YouGov data. (The sector average was 8.9 on Tuesday). Value scores range from 100 to minus 100, and a score of zero indicates an equal amount of positive and negative feedback.

This continues a trend the company has been fighting all year, as its score has slid from 18.7 at the beginning of January.