Many Red Lobster restaurants close across Central Florida, nationwide amid financial woes

ORLANDO, Fla. – Florida-based seafood chain Red Lobster closed locations across Central Florida and the country Monday as the company continues to grapple with financial problems.

News 6 confirmed that several Central Florida locations had closed on Monday. According to the restaurant’s website, locations were closed in Altamonte Springs, Daytona Beach Shores, Leesburg, Sanford, the Vine Street location in Kissimmee, and three of the Orlando locations (on East Colonial Drive by Orlando Executive Airport, on West Colonial Drive near Hiawassee Road, and off Sand Lake Road near Florida Mall). All other Central Florida locations appear to still be open.

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Numerous media outlets around the country also reported closures of Red Lobsters in their communities.

Bill Darden opened the first Red Lobster in Lakeland, Florida in 1968. The restaurant was a major part of the Darden Restaurants empire until 2014, when Golden Gate Capital acquired the chain.

In 2016, Thai Union Group bought a minority stake in Red Lobster Hospitality LLC, and in 2020, it bought out Golden Gate Capital’s stake in the company.

But in recent months, several business media outlets reported Thai Union Group wants to sell the chain and is looking for a buyer.

According to Restaurant Business Online, Jonathan Tibus was hired in March to be Red Lobster’s new CEO, replacing Horace Dawson who had only been in the position for six months. The business magazine believes Tibus was hired because of his experience in guiding restaurant chains through bankruptcy.

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