Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Red Lobster Heads Downmarket

From The Blaze:

RED LOBSTER WAITRESS REPORTEDLY ATTACKED FOR REFILLING WATER GLASSES TOO OFTEN

The witness said that as the waitress walked away, one of the customers threw a water glass at her, striking her in the back of the head. When the victim turned around, the witness said the customer picked up a menu and hit her in the face with it.

I can't upload the article image to Blogger from my iPad, but . . . yeah, your suspicions are correct.

When I was a kid, and even as late as the late '90s, I thought Red Lobster was fairly upmarket as chain restaurants go. I didn't eat there very often, but my impression was that it strove to be just a cut above, say, Applebees and other family bar-and-grill chains. But I took the family there a few months ago, and was disappointed. The service struck me mediocre, and the restaurant seemed to be attracting a demographic not dissimilar to the one appearing in the article, and this is a nice part of town.

This article on Darden Restaurants, Inc., which owns Red Lobster, confirmed this observation about the company's targeted customer base, but does anyone know when and why this changed, or was it always thus and I have only become more sensitive.

2 comments:

Professor Hale said...

I have always thought RL was overpriced and poor quality. I haven't been in one in 15 years.

Elusive Wapiti said...

Like PH, I don't visit RLs very often, but mostly because I'm not a seafood eater.

Didn't know that the chain is pursuing the down-market demo, although I should have guessed RL was already pegged as down-market by popular sentiment when they were mocked-by-association in Happy Gilmore.

So their marketing strategy may be a function of conforming to public perception, rather than trying to shape it. This and the mid- to up-scale seafood house market is already filled with intense competitors that charge big money.

Problem for RL is that rowdy / obnoxious customers from the parasite class chase away the relatively well-behaved yet poor working class. Frankly I don't know how they'll be able to pull it off without becoming a race-hustler punchline like Denny's.

One thing is for certain: this incident shouldn't have surprised them. After all, they went down-market, and down-market is where they'll find unaccountable, uncouth, unsocialized members of the parasite class. Not just honorable working stiffs looking for a reasonably priced tasty meal for their families.