There is a reason when people talk about Red Lobster they say "I had a craving for cheddar biscuits" or "Endless Shrimp is going on" and that is because nothing else is particularly remarkable. I've visited many of the Red Lobster locations in northern Georgia and Alabama and none really stick out from the others for good or bad reasons.
The staff is quite normal for a chain with about equal chances of getting a good waitress or one that hates her job/pay. This does mean though your food is just as likely to be prepared by a high school student as it is by someone that knows how to cook. The only thing notable is during their Endless Shrimp promotion it is even printed on the menu that you cannot pre-order more than one shrimp "refill" and you have to allow normal meal prep time to be served. Unless your waitress is great, in which case she deserves a nice tip, you are likely going to go through about an hour of eating 5 pieces of shrimp and waiting 10 minutes for 5 more pieces of shrimp.
The problem is their quality. Obviously being a chain most of their food comes in prepared and frozen. This wouldn't be too much of a problem except the quality of this frozen seafood is around the same as you can pick up from a bag in a Wal-mart freezer section. This old seafood coupled with the general lack of actual cooking means that sensitive lobster usually turn out rubbery, and anything fried is devoid of any moisture or texture. This is often overlooked by visitors because the seafood experience in this region is generally limited to Captain D's.
The pricing and portion sizes reflect this almost arrogance at being the defacto "fancy" seafood in the area. Meals range from between 13.50 and 28.50 at dinner. The only chains in this region that price higher are some steakhouses. Taste does not justify the charge as I discussed and neither does portion size. One example is the Admiral's Feast. This is typically priced at ~19 and comes with breaded shrimp, scallops, clam strips, and 2 fillet of haddock all fried. The fillets are the size typical of fast-food fish. The scallops are the size of popcorn chicken bites which pale in comparison in size and taste to the scallops served at most Chinese buffets.
The clam strips barely fill the palm of my hand and usually suffer the most from overcooking. You typically get between 4-5 pieces of shrimp which would be adequate if the other portions were better. The main issue when ordering that meal is it is still served on a feast-sized platter which at one time would have been full of seafood now just serves to show you half an empty plate and leaves you wondering where the other half of your almost 20 dollar dinner went.
I've tried all the "feasts" and all suffer from this downsizing. I was specifically irritated when an Ultimate Feast (at a 29 price tag) left me hungry because of the kid-size lobster tail and crab leg portions, and all of this after I was charged $3 for a substitution in what shrimp came with it even though I was substituting in a cheaper side of shrimp.
I cannot leave in a full complaint though. The locations have all been very clean and tables were spaced out nicely and gave good seating room. The non-seafood plates are actually of great quality. My wife specifically loves the Cajun Chicken Alfredo which in stark contrast to the seafood on the menu is not only one of their cheapest dinners but is served in very generous portions she can never finish. If their entire menu reflected this dish I probably wouldn't be writing this complaint.
SIVERVILLE, TENNESSEE -- Overpaid for the Red Lobster "ALL YOU CAN EAT SHRIMP". Poor service. Waited 45 minutes for a shrimp dinner that looked and tasted like a microwave dinner. Then waited 45 more minutes for a second helping. The servings were very small, poor quality shrimp and very long wait times. The restaurant was not even close to being full. I will never waste my time or money on Red Lobster again.
GOODYEAR, ARIZONA -- So, we went to Red Lobster tonight, at 15311 W. McDowell Road, in Goodyear, Arizona. We have gone to this place since they opened, and really have always had a great time, until this year. We usually go about every two months, and have been there twice before this with crappy service. Now, we had a terrible time. We will never return to that restaurant. This was the final time we get poor service in a Red Lobster. Well, where to begin.
Let's see. I guess the first hint of how our dining experience was to go would have been the Hostess. My wife, 8 year old son, and I walked in, with no one in the waiting area, and straight in to the Hostess stand. She says to us "Oh, 2 of you?" Really? The Hostess either can't count or chose to ignore our son.
So, on to the table. The person seating us was very pleasant. I am sorry I did not get his name. He was very cordial, and made us feel at ease immediately. He sat us, and said that our waitress will be with us shortly. Well, shortly turned into about 8 minutes just for our waitress to come and take our drink order. Then, a slight wait for the drinks, followed by the biscuits. OK, so maybe this will not turn out so bad.. oops, spoke too soon.
After taking our appetizer order, the waitress came back to take our entree order. We told her we prefer to wait until getting our appetizer, and she seemed puzzled. OK. So, we sit, and wait and wait and wait. I see 2 other tables around us get seated, get drinks, get appetizers, and still we wait. Oh, here comes the assistant manager, to re-fill our drinks. Great. Now, we wait. And wait. So, here comes our seafood nachos. Hooray! Except..... they were kind of sparse. The shrimp and cheese sauce was sparingly applied, to say the least. Oh, well, it is a busy Saturday night, so we can make some allowances. So, let's dig in. Um, what is this?
Some of the nachos are kind of soggy. Like the chips sat at the bottom soaking up grease. Definitely not a good thing. OK, let that sit, and we can eat the other chips. OK, not bad, considering. Well, let's see how the entrees are. Once we order. Hmmm, where is the waitress? No, not over there. Well, let's wait. For 10 more minutes. Really? Now she takes our order? Must be really busy tonight but I keep seeing people seated around us and getting faster service. Starting to get a little upset now.
OK, we order our food. And wait for over 20 minutes now. So, where are our salads? Hmmm.. no, that's not them. After 10 more minutes here they are. Now, one of the things that used to bother me at Red Lobster was that the Caesar salad was served so cold I had to warm my hands after eating it. Not this one! Oh, no, this salad was at room temperature, for sure. So how long does it take for a salad to get that warm? So, now we are 48 minutes into dinner, and we have been served some crunchy biscuits, and some crappy nachos, and warm salads.
OK, so where are the entrees? Well, about 10 minutes more, and here comes the entrees. Being brought by a different waitress. What? OK, so she starts by handing out my son's plate, and remarking how she wondered about his because she didn't see him behind my wife. Not exactly a good comment, but whatever. I do notice as his plate is handed over that the fries seem a little off. Kind of like they had sat for a while. So, she starts handing me my plate, which should have been a combo of steak, shrimp, and salmon. But, there are crab legs on the plate. I tell the waitress this is not my order, and she asks if I am sure. What the **. Yes, I am sure I didn't order crab.
So, she looks at my wife's plate, which also has crab on it, which she didn't order. So, the waitress takes the plates away, and to the next table to ask them if it is theirs. And back to the kitchen. And we wait. Now we have had enough. We waited for about 5 more minutes, and finally flagged down the assistant manager. We tell her that we need to have the entree orders canceled, and the check for the app, drinks, and my son's meal. She said she will take care of it. And starts to leave. But now, here comes a surprise!
Our waitress, along with the other waitress, with the same meals. They explain that the crab was added by the kitchen, and that we can keep it and not be charged for it. Why, we don't know. But we told all three of them that we didn't want it, and they asked several times if we wanted them. Finally, we said yes, but when they put the plates in front of us, I noticed that the butter was already congealing in the bowl. So I touched all the food, and it was all room temperature. My wife did the same for her food, with the same results. Actually, her crab was stone cold in the center. Like just nuked for too little time cold.
So, we sat again, until the manager, **, came over. He seemed to be wanting to help, but would not listen to anything we said. He kept interrupting us with his version of what we were trying to say. Not acceptable. But, he tried. Told us he would comp our meal. OK. Not what we wanted. We asked several times for the check, but they would not listen. OK, fine. Then, here comes **, with an envelope with what he said were gift cards, to see if he could get our business back. Well, thanks, we will consider it. But, seeing as this is the third time in a row we have had crappy service here, I don't think we will be back. Ever.
And, as further insult, when we get into the car, my wife opens up the envelope and finds a $25 gift card. Great. So someone can get, what, a smaller entree and a drink? Please. This place has gone downhill the entire year, and we are tired of giving them chances. Never again.
WESTLAND, MICHIGAN -- I noticed when I lived in an upper middle class area, the food, quantity, and portions seemed radically different from the local restaurant that is near me, in a middle class/lower middle class neighborhood. The only real difference is the price. It is the same at both. Those who can pay suffer no shortage of meat in their soups, etc whereas those locations near lower income neighborhoods where most of us have below 40 and 30 have crash landed upon now have to scrape the bottom for the few tiny pieces of food that may or more likely, are not left on our trays.
There is class discrimination, which translates into racial discrimination in the less wealthy areas where these stale seafood rip off scams known as "Red lobster" are located. I am white, with some Native American. I notice a RADICAL DIFFERENCE between the establishments where I grew up vs the more integrated RL restaurants where I am located now. All persons of color, myself included as a member of the Ojibway nation, boycott the swine at Red Lobster. I just went to the location off of Wayne road in Westland MI, against my better judgment but based on my wife's desire to have some seafood.
Based upon my previous observations that the price was always going up while the proportions of seafood were disappearing as you got bigger and bigger plates of foods with spinach, rice, and other "delicatessen's" into a never ending attempt to fool you into thinking you were getting a belly full of delectable seafood when in reality you were getting more biscuits, coleslaw, and other weeds more suited to a rabbit or a homeless person than a plate full of 20 bucks worth of seafood. Tonight, despite my better judgment based on the sleight of hand that pigs like "Red lobster' have been perpetrating, I decided to take my wife out for xmas.
The waiter was fine, I could tell they were running him like a dog, so I still gave him a good tip. We ordered our favorite, the Ultimate feast. Like other times through the years when I have been there, they bring me the wrong plate, the wrong drink, etc. Rather than get the poor waiter/waitress in trouble, I just took the errors and poor service and gave the waiter/waitress a generous tip. Tonight, I ordered the "ultimate feast". All was lukewarm except the crab legs, which I was told was coming. When they did arrive, they were ICE COLD. Like a Popsicle stick, I felt the stale crab legs crystals melt against my tongue.
My tongue felt like it was stuck to a block of frozen ice. When I complained at the Red Lobster off Wayne road in Westland, the manager told me that they "make mistakes" and acted like I was doing something wrong! I paid more than most make for a day's salary with a minimal expectation of semi warm seafood, and she cannot manage the place she is supposed to run, and accuses ME of being in the wrong for complaining. Imagine that and I have never complained before, despite them misplacing my order, having little food on the plate, or waiting for hours to get waited on. Never go to the Red Lobster on Wayne road in Westland Michigan.
I have been polite while the idiots there have given me a chunk of dog food for coming in late and asking for the 'surf and surf" because I come in at the last minute. Now the latest, they send me seafood that I practically chip my teeth on, after waiting forever, and this pig of a unit manager has the audacity to stick her ugly face in mine and try to explain that people make mistakes and that I have no right to complain, etc. So all of you know, the Red Lobster sucks and you will be paying more and more for less and less seafood, stale seafood at that.
Expect dimwitted managers like the pig I encountered to drive away long standing customers like myself with her crappy assed "you are not a customer here because you dare to expect a decent well cooked meal for close to a hundred bucks."
Seeing most of the world's seafood is basically unfit for present human consumption based on the contaminants and toxics and carcinogens that are present in our food, especially stale seafood like the poisons offered at for profit fast food poisoners like the soon to be defunct Red Lobster, as the world's marine life is expected to become extinct in some 50 years, the time is long long overdue to "just say no" to these ignorant, arrogant fast food places and the stale toxic products that they peddle.
INDEPENDENCE, MISSOURI -- 45 minutes, I understand on Mother's Day. It's busy to wait for a table. Ok. 1 hour and 30 minutes to get cold food, I don't understand. Saw three other tables served before us. Waited a half hour for manager to come to the table. Pathetic performance. No sympathy from manager. Nothing but excuses.
INDEPENDENCE, MISSOURI -- The worst service ever! The service was slow, the food served cold, missing items that were ordered and the wrong dish. No biscuits were served until the end of the meal, no butter for the crab and lobster, no salmon although the menu was 1/4 salmon features. The manager finally stopped by, but no change, even then with slow/no service. I've been eating at Red Lobster since 1975 in Omaha, NE. No more, not free, no gift cards ever again. I'm not mad, I'm just getting smart after poor service for 3-4 years at the Independence, MO restaurant.
TUCSON, ARIZONA -- I called to place an order to go, and was on hold for 15 minutes. I figured they forgot, and called back. No answer twice, so I drove there. The place was completely swamped, no parking places, tons of people in line, so I left. No big deal, it was only 150 in food I was going to order and take home. They didn't need the order or should I say, take the order.
BRANDON, FLORIDA -- Waited to cool down before posting... Was in Red Lobster in Brandon, Florida for my birthday 12/11... Waitress couldn't get the drink order correct. Completely forgot the appetizers. "Forgot" to order one of entrees... Which meant that because we waited, the other two entrees were almost cold. Even though it was mentioned several times, no birthday song. Maybe you should shut down, restaff, do some intense training, then reopen. P/S No Management apologies.