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November 22, 2015

United States

Florida—Red Lobster Switches to Larger Shrimp

 

   

 

As Red Lobster, which has over 700 restaurants, proceeds with its turnaround plan, the seafood chain has made a clear determination about its shrimp: They’re puny and utterly unfit for the modern, sophisticated shrimp eater.  So the Florida-based company has begun the process of upgrading to larger shrimp—47% to 86% larger, depending on the dish.  “It’s a really big deal for us,” said Salli Setta, president of Red Lobster.

 

   

 

Red Lobster has christened them “Bigger, Better Shrimp,” and will complete the transformation by mid-December 2015.  The upgrade affects about 70% of the shrimp entrees on its menu.

 

Red Lobster prepares 80 million servings of shrimp each year, accounting for about 45% of its sales—so it’s important that they make the right impression.  Yet many diners, Red Lobster found, were disappointed by small shrimp, or as one particularly distressed person lamented on Twitter, about the company’s “tiny-ass shrimp”.  “People were clear in what they wanted from us,” said Danielle Connor, Red Lobster’s senior vice president of menu strategy and development.

 

If you’re wondering how Red Lobster arrived at the remarkably specific size increase of 47%, it’s a figure derived from how commodity shrimp are sold.  There is a standard range of shrimp sizes, Connor explained.  For its Shrimp Skewers served during lunch, Red Lobster previously carried “Small” shrimp, a size that indicates about 51 to 60 shrimp per pound, and has now moved to “Medium Large” shrimp, which have about 36 to 40 shrimp per pound—a 47% increase.  Other dishes got even more dramatic upgrades.  The shrimp in the Shrimp Scampi grew by 58%, jumping from “Medium” to “Large.”  The shrimp in the Shrimp Skewers served during dinner jumped three sizes from “Medium” to “Extra Large,” 86% bigger.  Red Lobster said it settled on these new sizes based on consumer tests, including a trial in 38 restaurants that began in March 2015.

 

Of course, there are even bigger shrimp, like Extra Jumbo (16 to 20 shrimp per pound, which Red Lobster uses in its shrimp cocktail), Colossal (fewer than 15 shrimp per pound), and Extra Colossal (fewer than 10 shrimp per pound).  

 

Source: BussFeedNews.  Red Lobster Is Replacing Small Shrimp With Bigger Shrimp.  Venessa Wong (email venessa.wong@buzzfeed.com).  November 20, 2015.

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