Our Story

Everything we do is a celebration of seafood – from how we source our fish and shellfish to serving up new ways for you to enjoy it. Since 1968, we’ve been committed to bringing you a seafood experience you won’t find anywhere else.

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Our Heritage

Before there was Red Lobster, there was Bill Darden, a man passionate about making delicious, high-quality seafood available and affordable to everyone, including people who lived far from the coast. What was once a single, family-owned restaurant in Lakeland, Florida, now has over 700 locations.

1968

FRESH SEAFOOD FOR EVERYONE

Bill Darden opens the first Red Lobster in Lakeland, Florida.

1970

Business Booms

Red Lobster catches the attention of General Mills. Backed by their resources, Red Lobster restaurants rapidly multiply from coast to coast.

1974

Shrimp Becomes Snack-worth

Red Lobster debuts Popcorn Shrimp. People go crazy for it, and rightfully so.

1979

FOR THE SEAFOOD LOVER IN YOU®

We launch our first of many iconic advertising campaigns, including Life on Land is DryT™, Go Overboard™ and Sea Food Differently™.

1983

O Canada

We opened our first Canadian restaurant in Ontario

1984

Lobster Lovers, Rejoice

We had our first Lobsterfest - and a Valentine's Day tradition is born

1992

Behold Biscuit Manila

Cheesy garlic goodness comes together to create our legendary Cheddar Bay Biscuits®

1995

Red Lobster Charts a New Course

General Mills spins-off its restaurant division as Darden Restaurants, Inc.

1999

Taking Care of our Own

We established an Employee Emergency Assistance Fund, now called RL Cares, to help fellow employees facing financial hardship.

2003

Feeding the Hungry

We start donating unused food to local food banks and homeless shelters through a program we now call RL Shares. Since its launch, we've donated about 20 million meals.

2004

Love at First Shrimp

Our Endless Shrimp™ event launched and it was a huge success

2006

Bring on the Freshness

"Today's Fresh Fish" menu makes its debut, bringing fresh, regional seafood to Red Lobsters everywhere.

2008

Get Fired Up

We brought wood-fire grills into our kitchens and trained Certified Grill Masters to let the natural flavors of our seafood take center stage.

2010

A Maine Makeover

Our restaurants begin to transform inside and out to a new design and decor, inspired by the historic fishing village Bar Harbor, Maine.

2014

We Celebrate Our Independence

Golden Gate Capital acquires Red Lobster and we begin charting a new course as an independent company.

2015

A Taste of Innovation

As part of our commitment to keeping our menu fresh and our guests happy, we introduce sustainable, wild-caught selections like Sockeye salmon, as well as bigger and better shrimp options.

2016

Becoming the World Leader in Seafood

Red Lobster continues expanding globally, delighting guests in 11 countries and counting.

2018

First Red Lobster Branch in the Philippines

Red Lobster continues expanding globally, recently adding their newest branch in the Philippines.

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Our Sourcing Story

Our commitment to bringing you the best means that all of the seafood we serve is sourced in ways that are traceable, sustainable, and responsible.

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A Lifelong Commitment

Doing things the right way since 1968.

Red Lobster has been committed to seafood sustainability since we first opened our doors in 1968. As a founding member of the Global Aquaculture Alliance (GAA) in 1997, we helped establish guidelines for best practices and aquaculture certifications. We're also proud to have spent decades building personal relationships with suppliers who share our values.