Red Lobster tests no-waiter, no-tip service
It's an attempt to lure diners back from rivals like Chipotle, where food comes faster and gratuities aren't expected.
Darden Restaurants' (DRI) Red Lobster seems to be testing the adage "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em."
The chain is trying two versions of what's called fast-casual dining, which is counter service that appeals to diners by cutting out the need for tips while delivering food faster than traditional sit-down restaurants.
Red Lobster calls the new service "Seaside Express" and is testing it in two locations near Orlando, Fla., from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily.
At one trial restaurant, customers order at a new counter installed in the restaurant's lobby, then pour their own drinks at a Coca-Cola (KO) machine, the Orlando Sentinel reports. At the second restaurant, customers order at the bar and are served drinks in plastic cups.
The menus differ from that of Red Lobster's main restaurant, with entrees ranging in price from $6.99 to $8.99 and including dishes such as a shrimp salad sandwich and a lobster grilled-cheese sandwich. One way the chain is cutting costs, though, is that diners get only one Cheddar Bay biscuit each instead of a basket of them, the newspaper says.
The menus say customers shouldn't tip, although servers bring food and clear off the tables, and the credit card slips still have places for gratuities, the story notes.
Will the bid to compete with Chipotle work? One business school professor, H.G. Parsa of the University of Denver, expressed pessimism. He told the Sentinel that Red Lobster could "dilute the brand" by getting away from its image as a sit-down restaurant.
Will Darden expand the idea to its other restaurant chains, such as Olive Garden and LongHorn? The newspaper notes the chain wouldn't say.
Dumbest idea ever! Fast food seafood sounds disgusting!!
Whichever brilliant employee at Red Lobster who thought this might work should be terminated...
what a joke
Why is it that consumers have to subsidize the owners employee salary. Like any other business, shouldn't owners pay there employees a decent amount . I never understood that. In college we were paid a minimum amount of 1.15 to 2.00 but we were also expected to clean up the restaurant and kitchen on that amount.Red lobster needs to go back to what it was known for..good food...the last 2 or 3 times, poor quality and a minimal amount of food...
Copyright © 2014 Microsoft. All rights reserved.
Fundamental company data and historical chart data provided by Morningstar Inc. Real-time index quotes and delayed quotes supplied by Morningstar Inc. Quotes delayed by up to 15 minutes, except where indicated otherwise. Fund summary, fund performance and dividend data provided by Morningstar Inc. Analyst recommendations provided by Zacks Investment Research. StockScouter data provided by Verus Analytics. IPO data provided by Hoover's Inc. Index membership data provided by Morningstar Inc.
[BRIEFING.COM] The stock market finished the Wednesday session on an upbeat note with the Nasdaq (+1.3%) ending in the lead. The S&P 500 settled higher by 1.1% with all ten sectors posting gains.
The benchmark index spent the entire trading day in the green, rallying to new highs during the last hour of action. The tech-heavy Nasdaq, meanwhile, briefly dipped into the red during morning action, but was able to recover swiftly.
Stocks began the trading day with modest gains ... More
More Market News
The company is scrambling to protect its equities arm, which could face declining volume and revenue as competitors close the gap.
MUST-SEE ON MSN
- Video: Easy DIY smoked meats at home
A charcuterie master shares his process for cold-smoking meat at home.
- Jetpacks about to go mainstream
- Weird things covered by home insurance
- Bing: 70 percent of adults report 'digital eye strain'