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What's up with the prices at Red Lobster?

DH and I ate at Red Lobster recently, for the first time in probably three years. With no appetizer or dessert, our bill with tip was $70, and I didn't have alcohol! How does RL get away with charging $27 for average fish? The food was what we expected, having been to RL before, and it's no way worth $70 when there are far better fish places that charge the same. What gives?

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  1. They're under the mistaken impression that they sell good food.

    1 Reply
    1. re: AzDumpling

      Not sure what city you're in. But for $20, I always choose build your own feast which gives me 3 options from a list of many. I usually choose blackened salmon, stuffed sole and crab pasta alfredo. Along with the cheddar biscuits and the salad, that's a lot of food and I have enough to doggy bag for lunch.

    2. It's an example of charge whatever the market will bear. People just keep on flocking to RL even though it is a poor excuse for a restaurant. It was the most horrible seafood experience in recent memory (like the last 20 years) for my wife and me. We only ate there because someone gave us a gift card and were amazed at how many people crowded in there to pay so much for so little in terms of taste.

      1. Unfourtunately, in lots of the midwest, this is the best option for (almost) fresh seafood. I've actually had fresher at RL than most places locally, mostly due to the turn around, I would assume. My seven year old loves seafood, and this is one of the only places close to me that doesn't serve complete crap. The local Joe's Crab Shack used to be good when it first opened in the late 90's, but it got bad quickly, and closed last year. The prices at RL are too high, though. I agree.

        3 Replies
        1. re: madgreek

          Wow...the mere thought of RL having the best seafood in ANY town just makes me that much happier to live near the coast.

          1. re: Suzy Q

            Such is my pain in this God-forsaken place (Ohio). It's not that good seafood can't be had, it's more that there's really no decent place with reasonable prices anywhere close to me, and it's a pain to cart kids around the Cleveland or Akron area just to find something good. I don't want to eat alone, and the wife won't touch seafood, so I'm stuck with RL. It sucks.

            1. re: Suzy Q

              Every once in a while, a RL will get good management in place that will maintain quality standards far beyond the Darden minimums, and it ends up being a surprisingly pleasant place to eat.

              The Ft. Walton Beach RL in the late 90s had the reputation of being a good place to eat, even though it was, in fact, a Red Lobster. And this was in an area with a lot of good local competition. Could be the good local competition helped, I guess.

          2. The original comment has been removed
            1. Just do what I do when I visit about once every 3-4 years. Go in, sit at the bar, starving, hungover as can be, and order something like the popcorn shrimp. That way you can feast on unlimited cheese biscuits (delicious partially-hydrogenated grease clumps!). Order a frozen drink or two (tip WELL - the bartenders HATE those damn things). Popcorn shrimp you can't screw up - it's cheap, bits of battered-grease, you can throw it in a box when you're done killing your hangover.

              They don't generally screw up the basic "classic" items on the menu - from back when they were for "the seafood lover in youuuu". Those are the items that they can do a decent job at - fried seafood platters, shrimp scampi, blackened fish, etc. The lobster - not good, but the tank up front is part of their image.... The bartender said nearly everybody ordered the "captain's platter" and such - they've been on the menu for decades, they're cheap and most of the customers don't know what that there fancy "mahi mahi" stuff is. (She also said they left "excellent" tips - about 5-10%, and they only put 1 basketful of cheese biscuits in their purses typically! lol).

              I can't believe your bill was that much. I've heard they were trying to focus on actual fresh seafood specials, which is a stupid mistake IMHO! Red Lobster is to seafood what Olive Garden is to Italian food and Wal-Mart is to discount shopping.... Lots of people hate them/make fun of them/etc., so they want to try to change their image. But it's not gonna happen! The one we have in my city always has a full parking lot, and most of the people want the basic classic menu items, wanna see the lobster tank up front, want cheese biscuits and don't have a clue what "mango chutney" is. Those are their core customers and they should focus on them - not anybody else....