The restaurant business isn't for the faint of heart in 2024. Running a restaurant is challenging because of higher food costs, inflation pinching people's wallets, and staffing issues. It's even tricky for long-established brands, which is one reason it will be harder to find those cheddar bay biscuits at Red Lobster.

A new report from the Kansas City Star via Yahoo! Finance says Red Lobster closed their stores in Olathe on 119th Street and their Kansas City, Kansas location on Parallel Parkway.

However, according to CNN, Red Lobster is in debt for $1 billion and has less than $30 million on hand.

Now, the company is considering closing two more Kansas City area locations: one in Overland Park on Metcalf Avenue and another in Independence on South Noland Road.

So what's next for Red Lobster?

The company plans to sell its business to its lenders and then receive financing to stay afloat. As part of this plan, the restaurant will close some of its current 600 locations nationwide.

So what was Red Lobster's big problem? Many folks are making it about Red Lobster's endless shrimp deal. For $20, you could get endless shrimp, and it was permanently on the menu, which cost Red Lobster's parent company, Thai Union, $11 million.

If it sounds like a similar problem, you're right. According to CNN, in 2003, Red Lobster conducted an endless crab promotion that lost the company $3.3 million in seven weeks.

Yet, these missteps aren't really what's bringing down Red Lobster. Industry insiders told CNN an all-too-familiar story. First, the chain has been handed off numerous times to different investors and corporate parents. That never seems to go well for large restaurant chains. This is followed by the growth and popularity of fast-casual and quick-service restaurant chains, not to mention underinvestment in the restaurant's marketing, food quality, service, and upgrades. Finally, the chain's current parent company, Thai Union, made some cost reductions at the chain that hurt sales instead of saving money.

We're watching the slow decline of one of the original restaurant chains that became prominent in the late '60s and '70s. With over 600 stores, Red Lobster probably won't disappear overnight, yet I wonder how many more generations will enjoy those cheddar bay biscuits.

Red Lobster's two remaining restaurants in the Kansas City area are Lee's Summit on Blue Parkway and their location on Barry Road.

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