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Red Lobster Closing? Restaurant Chain Shoots Down Closing Rumors

Travelers Today       By    Katie McFadden

Updated: Dec 28, 2013 11:47 PM EST

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Red Lobster is closing? That's what some rumors going around the Internet said, but officials say it simply isn't true. The chain restaurant shot down rumors that they will be closing restaurants.

According to ABC, Rich Jeffers of Darden Restaurants Inc., which owns the Red Lobster chain said that the rumors are false. The rumor also said that Darden would slow the expansion of Oliver Garden restaurants and would slow down the opening of Long Horn restaurants. He said that the rumor probably started by the website LA Weekly which published a story saying that the chain faced an "uncertain future." This sparked customers to take to Twitter to questions the article and spread the rumor and other sources started to follow it.

"We are not closing any restaurants," Jeffers told ABCNews.com officially.
The rumors may also have sparked by an announcement Darden made itself last week. They said that the company plans to sell of spin off the Red Lobster chain into a separate company.

According to Jeffers, there are 705 Red Lobster restaurants around the U.S. and Canada. The company had $2.6 billion in the company's 2013 fiscal year.

The Darden company is one of the world's largest full-service restaurant companies. In addition to Red Lobster, Olive Garden and LongHorn Steakhouse, the company also owns The Capital Grille and other restaurants. The company owns and operates more than 2,100 restaurants that generate over $8.5 billion in annual sales, its website says.

Even though Jeffers says Red Lobster isn't closing, it hasn't been doing great lately. Same-store sales fell 4.5 percent at Red Lobster in the company's latest quarter because it has severe competition from more casual restaurant chains like Panera and Chiptole.

 

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