Not-So-Endless Shrimp: Red Lobster Is Closing Dozens Of Locations Across The Country

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A liquidation company is selling off the contents of locations in 21 states.

Not even a Beyoncé shoutout can save this struggling seafood chain.

On May 13, Neal Sherman, founder and CEO of liquidation firm TAGeX Brands, announced on LinkedIn that his company was auctioning off the contents of several Red Lobster locations around the country.

The open auctions plan to dissolve the contents of multiple restaurant locations that span several states, including furniture, fixtures and equipment.

“People have heard about the closure of select Red Lobsters. TAGeX Brands is proud to launch the largest restaurant liquidation EVER through its online auction marketplace,” Sherman wrote. 

Sherman added that the company is handling these closures differently than it has in the past by awarding one winner of each auction the entirety of the location’s listed items. “WINNER TAKES ALL,” he wrote.

A dedicated auction site on the TAGeX website has been live since May 13, noting that it was “auctioning off 50+ locations” and that the sales would close on Thursday, May 16.

The company also notes that the winners of these auctions must pick up their winnings — meaning everything contained within the restaurants — the following day, lest their order be “forfeited without a refund.”

At this time, the website lists approximately four dozen open auctions across 21 states, including New York, California, Texas, Florida, Illinois, Virginia and more. The auctions include “high-performance ovens, upright refrigerators and freezers, cooking and warming solutions, and comprehensive bar and dining setups,” per the auction verbiage.

Representatives for Red Lobster did not immediately respond to TODAY.com’s request for comment on whether or not these closed locations plan on reopening.

Red Lobster has been open since 1968 and is currently America’s largest seafood chain. While the restaurant contents on the auction block represent a fraction of Red Lobster’s over 700 locations around the world, according to its website, it has faced more than a few financial setbacks in recent times.

In November 2023, Red Lobster increased the price of its “Ultimate Endless Shrimp” deal to $25, noting that unprecedented demand for the low-cost unlimited deal actually ended up hurting the company’s profits.

Then in January, Red Lobster investor Thai Union announced it was seeking to exit its investment in the company, reporting a loss of $19 million in the first nine months of 2023 from Red Lobster that it attributed to the “Covid-19 pandemic, sustained industry headwinds, higher interest rates and rising material and labor costs.”

“After detailed analysis, we have determined that Red Lobster’s ongoing financial requirements no longer align with our capital allocation priorities and therefore are pursuing an exit of our minority investment,” said Thiraphong Chansiri, Thai Union Group’s CEO, in a press release.

In April, CNBC reported that Red Lobster considered filing for bankruptcy to help it restructure its debt and get out of a number of expensive and long-term leases. According to sources who spoke with CNBC, the company then sought a buyer to avoid filing altogether.

Fans on social media are already reacting to the news of Red Lobster closing locations, particularly on X, by sharing pictures of printed notes informing patrons that spots are closing, making endless shrimp-related jokescrying over Cheddar Bay Biscuits and other lamentations.

“This red lobster situation got me in my feelings,” wrote one saddened fan, adding a couple of weary-face emoji for emphasis.

By Joseph Lamour