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Oct 3, 2012 06:05 AM

Red Lobster Targets Customers Who Go to Red Lobster But Can't Stand Lobster

Finally, the voices of literally dozens of customers who demand "why can't I get chicken and pork at a place called Red Lobster" have been heard! If only more vegetarian restaurants would be so attentive and sell prime cuts of steak.

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  1. I can think of very few seafood restaurants I've been to that didn't also have steak, hamburgers, etc. on the menu. Conversely, most steak houses have a few fish selections.

    Having never been to a vegetarian restaurant I don't know if they typically would offer meat dishes but I assume it would be off putting to the more devout vegetarians.

    1. The part I found amusing in the reference was "At Olive Garden, the company says the "Taste of Tuscany" promotion earlier this year was a flop because it didn't underscore value enough."

      Hmm - Could have been that OG has nothing in common with Tuscany and that the public didn't buy the marketing?

      11 Replies
      1. re: Clams047

        Except that they have a real, actual cooking school in Tuscany, which is a huge part of their advertising. The value part, I can very much see.

        1. re: Boston_Otter

          No, as I understand it OG rents a cooking school/resort for a month or so and fly the chain's best producing managers and cooks in as a reward just to claim they have a school, even installing signage for the cameras. There is no painfully scenic permanent OG school in Tuscany as they would have you believe.

          1. re: Duppie

            Okeydoke then. Lovely.

            Even so, the point is that it's always been a featured part of their advertising and image, so I disagree that the public wouldn't think that Olive Garden had anything to do with Tuscany.

            1. re: Boston_Otter

              OK - Maybe the gullible did buy into the Tuscany marketing ploy, but are eventually realizing they were duped by that phony marketing.

            2. re: Duppie

              I wonder if it's Academia Barilla, that's supposed to be a very interesting place to visit and/or take classes. It's offered as a prize to foodservice salespeople, worth pushing Barilla for whatever the period is to win a trip. A big chain like Olive Garden should have a little pull if they used Barilla brand. Not easy to find here, but they produce some very upscale oils, vinegars, cheeses and cured meats that are to die for, and what they show you there is very interesting (not that I ever won a trip! The bosses always took it instead).

                1. re: coll

                  I sampled some of their line at the fancy food show in NYC years ago but haven't seen much since even in the specialty markets.The just might be branded differently now.

              1. re: Boston_Otter

                The ludicrous aspect of that "Tuscan cooking academy" is obviously lost on consumers. Even if they had a legitimate Tuscan cooking school, then what? The person attending returns to their Olive Garden and says "tear up the menu, I'm cooking things my way"?

                It's like sending McDonald's employees to the "McDonald's ranching/butchering institute" - it results in zero benefit to the menu or the customer.

                1. re: ferret

                  Succinctly put.... Yet we still fall for so many of these slick and manipulative adverts without once thinking "OK..... but why is it they still suck?

                  1. re: ferret

                    I suspect the real purpose of the Mcdonalds institute is to train potential managers as to Mcdonalds business/quality-control policies.

                    1. re: ferret

                      "McDonald's ranching/butchering institute" = clown college

                2. I don't see how this is an issue. They've always had steak on their menu. This is simply adding more of a variety.
                  Good on them. They should have done it sooner in order to expand their client base.

                  Frankly, I think this is more of a reflection on stupid/self-entitled consumers who GO to a seafood restaurant and get upset when they only see seafood.

                  7 Replies
                  1. re: Midknight

                    I think the problem here is classic "mission creep." Instead of focusing on your core compentencies, you branch out into areas you have no experience in, thereby diluting your brand. Same thing happened to Sizzler: they moved away from steaks into buffets and sandwiches, all the while lowering the quality of their offerings, and sales plummetted. Silver Diner moved from classic diner fare to all sorts of non-diner items and flavorless "heart smart" meals and they've been in and out of bankruptcy for years. If they can pull it off, more power to them. The reason I haven't set foot in Red Lobster for years has nothing to do with their lack of pork chops. It's because the quality of the seafood is sub part to begin with, and service to match.

                      1. re: Midknight

                        My nieces love Red Lobster and I hate seafood. Sometimes I am forced to go there, so it would be nice to have another option besides side dishes, which is what I usually end up ordering.

                        1. re: Jelly71

                          which is exactly why I've only been to RL perhaps three times from what I recall - I really like seafood.

                          While on the topic, does anyone really order lobster at RL? Checking their on-line menu, $28 for a 1-1/4 lb chicken lobster seems a bit pricey.

                          1. re: Clams047

                            Definitely, it's one of the more dependable items on the menu. And if you want the manager to come over and cut it up for you, it will be done with a smile. We once had someone preorder a 10 pounder, and we took care of that, we got as much a kick out of it as the customer.

                            1. re: Clams047

                              I will order two things that are still on the menu. One is Wood grilled lobster, shrimp and scallops with rice pilaf and broccoli although the portion size just keeps getting smaller. The other is the lobster which is usually very well executed. Typically the 1 1/4 lb is not 28 where I live but 21-24. I would recommend it. I don't like getting full lobster out because it is messy and not conducive to fine dining. I think the fact that it is a RL makes it better because it is less formal. If we had decent seafood or even a chain like Legal serving shellfish I would not go. I am in central PA and while we have a couple fish places, none are doing lobster or at least not so reasonably priced.

                          2. re: Midknight

                            I suspect it's really just a repeat usage of an old marketing ploy - "New Improved" - Give us another try - This time it'll be better ......

                          3. I grew up in Florida not to far from where RL started. I went a couple of times when I was a kid and I remember the seafood actually being quite good and comparable to the mom & pop seafood places around us. When I finally went as an adult no longer in Florida, its was clearly not the small local chain that I had been to. It really was good back then though I expect plenty will say otherwise. Its too bad what happened to them as they continued to grow.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Bkeats

                              Come to think of it, My friends and I had quite an enjoyable RL dinner in South Beach on our way to our first visit to the Keys. But that was in the 90's and after 20 hours drive from NYC I venture just about any sit down dinner would have been memorable on that road trip.