Flavor Flav is doing everything he can to save Red Lobster

Last month, the Public Enemy rapper made a promise to "help save one of America's greatest dining dynasties"

By Joy Saha

Staff Writer

Published June 6, 2024 12:05PM (EDT)

Flavor Flav | Red Lobster sign (Photo illustration by Salon/Getty Images)
Flavor Flav | Red Lobster sign (Photo illustration by Salon/Getty Images)

Flavor Flav has made it clear that he won’t let Red Lobster perish under his watch.

On Monday, the Public Enemy rapper took to X (formerly Twitter) to share that he had visited a Red Lobster location and ordered everything on the menu in an attempt to save the failing restaurant chain. 

“Ya boy meant it when I said I was gonna do anything and everything to help @redlobster and save the cheddar bay biscuits,,, ordered the whole menu,!!!” Flavor Flav wrote alongside a photo of himself posing in front of a spread of Red Lobster menu items like shrimp scampi, popcorn shrimp and clam chowder — just to name a few.

The latest post comes after Flavor Flav made a promise last month saying he would do everything he could to “help save one of America's greatest dining dynasties.” In response, the official Red Lobster account told Flavor Flav to check his direct messages. “YOOOOOOO,!!! It’s all happening!!!!!” he said shortly after.

Flavor Flav isn't the only one concerned about Red Lobster's future. 

On May 19, the company filed for bankruptcy after closing nearly 50 restaurant locations across the U.S and liquidating restaurant equipment via auctions, which has led to a lot of speculation and misinformation about what's next, as well as what originally caused the chain's decline. A lot of fingers were initially pointed at Red Lobster's "Endless Shrimp" deal, saying the promotion — which analysts estimate factored directly into an $11 million operating loss in the third quarter of 2023 — crippled the restaurant. However, the truth is actually far more complicated. 

Per CNN, the company said it was more than $1 billion in debt and had less than $30 million available in cash. Red Lobster will sell its business to lenders as part of a Chapter 11 reorganization and receive financing to continue operations. The company said it will also continue to close more restaurants in the near future.

Red Lobster currently touts 578 restaurants across 44 states and Canada, and serves an astounding 64 million customers a year. One in five lobster tails purchased in North America is reportedly bought by Red Lobster.

In 2014, Red Lobster was sold to Golden Gate Capital, a private equity firm, for $2.1 billion. Since 2020, Thai Union Group — a Thailand-based seafood distributor — has owned 49% of the company, making them the chain's largest shareholder. And Red Lobster has struggled under their leadership. In recent years, the company has been hit hard by mismanagement, competition, inflation and other factors, analysts and former Red Lobster employees told CNN.

“This restructuring is the best path forward for Red Lobster. It allows us to address several financial and operational challenges and emerge stronger and re-focused on our growth,” the company's CEO Jonathan Tibus said in a press release. “The support we’ve received from our lenders and vendors will help ensure that we can complete the sale process quickly and efficiently while remaining focused on our employees and guests.”

Red Lobster assured customers that it's not going out of business (at least for the time being), clarifying that the filing is a “legal process that allows us to make changes to our business and our cost structure.”

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“The truth is, some of the world's most beloved brands like Delta and Hertz have used this same process to protect their futures and their customers stood with them and rooted them on,” the company said in a May 21 statement shared on X. “And because of that, they emerged stronger.”

Flavor Flav told fans and followers that he plans to make similar purchases at other Red Lobster locations soon. “Imma hit as many as I can,,, cuz I am EVERY WHERE MAN,” he said in another post. “[N]ow we going back tomorrow or the next day and doing it again,!!!!”

The rapper also took the opportunity to clap back at one X user who questioned how his exorbitant stunt would actually save the company: “Itz saving some of the staff with da money I gave em,,, whatchu doing to help anyone,???” 

To another skeptical user, Flavor Flav simply said, “Don't tell me what I can and can't do,,, just watch.”

By Joy Saha

Joy Saha is a staff writer at Salon. She writes about food news and trends and their intersection with culture. She holds a BA in journalism from the University of Maryland, College Park.


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Aggregate Bankruptcy Cheddar Bay Biscuits Flavor Flav Food News Red Lobster Restaurant Chains