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'Happened out of nowhere': Red Lobster closures leave employees in the dark

Dozens of Red Lobster stores were set to have their assets auctioned off. Some workers were given little notice their stores were closing.
Red Lobster restaurant
Posted at 7:01 PM, May 13, 2024

Many Red Lobster locations nationwide were abruptly closed on Monday, with no official notice given to some workers.

Some locations were listed as "temporarily closed" on Google Maps — and other proceedings suggest many will not reopen.

According to reporting by CNN on Monday, at least 48 locations across the U.S. were shut down and are having their assets — including kitchen equipment — auctioned off.

On Monday, Scripps News Buffalo found three Red Lobster locations in Western New York all had the same sign taped to their doors, reading "this location is closed."

Ramon Garcia told Scripps News Buffalo he found out he lost his job at the Red Lobster location in Hamburg not from corporate headquarters, but from the cook.

"I'm getting calls after calls this morning and my boy Don called me and he's like, 'You should come in right now.' I'm like, 'Why, I'm off today,' and he's like, 'Man, you just need to come in because there's a lot of stuff going on,'" Garcia said.

Garcia said corporate did tell them they have three days to clean out the restaurant.

"I didn't know we were going bankrupt, but I kind of knew, if you know what I'm saying," Garcia said. "They were cutting back on a lot of stuff."

An Express store at Easton Town Center in Columbus, Ohio.

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Scripps News Buffalo has reached out to Red Lobster's corporate team but has yet to hear back.

Red Lobster has some 650 locations nationwide.

The Red Lobster brand sold in 2014for $2.1 billion when Darden Restaurants — which owns Olive Garden — sold the chain to private equity firm Golden Gate Capital. In 2020, Thai Union, a seafood supplier, bought the brand from Golden Gate Capital.

In April of 2024, Bloomberg reported the company was considering a Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing.

@scrippsnews Is the Red Lobster near you still open? Employees of the seafood chain were caught off guard this week as dozens of locations abruptly closed. Here’s what we know so far. #RedLobster #closure #news #foodtok ♬ original sound - Scripps News