It started as a single, family-owned seafood shack in Lakeland, Florida, in 1968. Today, 50 years later, Red Lobster has over 700 locations worldwide, from Puerto Rico and Qatar to Ecuador and Japan.
It opens soon in the Philippines under The Bistro Group.
Its coming to Metro Manila was five years in the making, says Jean Paul Manuud, president and COO of The Bistro Group.
At one point he thought it wouldn’t push through. “The first time we talked, Red Lobster was still under Darden, a resto group which owned the LongHorn steakhouse and Olive Garden. Kim Lopdrup, the vice president, went to Manila. We talked and started finding out whether there was a fit in the market, the people and the culture. We got along very well and established a very good relationship. We became friends until Red Lobster was sold to another group, the Golden Gate Capital. Kim became the CEO of Red Lobster.
“And after three years, he got in touch with us again to explore opportunities.”
Last year, the Bistro team flew to Illinois to finalize the deal. What they saw reinforced their belief that it would be a great partnership.
“They brought us to the restaurant and we saw a very big improvement under the new management. They innovated a new way of cooking lobsters. Plus, the brand has authority. They are regarded as the No. 1 seafood restaurant in the US,” says Manuud.
They also learned that Red Lobster remains stable amid the slow decline of other casual dining restaurants because the millennial market has been dictating the food landscape in the US.
The popular seafood restaurant continues to grow its clientele, with a very high guest retention rate.
More important, it’s a brand The Bistro Group believes in. Red Lobster, one of the world’s largest seafood purchasers, has been practicing and advocating sustainability, and has been keeping high standards in food sourcing.
Unlike hotels and restaurants that offer lobsters only occasionally, Red Lobster in Manila will have good quality crustaceans all the time, be it fresh or frozen, cooked properly.
“It’s an expensive piece of meat and you have to cook it properly so it won’t be a waste,” says Manuud. —CONTRIBUTED
Red Lobster opens in Manila in November at S Maison at the Conrad.