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Red Lobster preparing to file for bankruptcy

Seafood chain Red Lobster is reportedly preparing to file for bankruptcy.

According to Restaurant Business Online, citing a report from Bloomberg, the company is considering filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection to restructure its debt.

Per Restaurant Business, Jonathan Tibus, a managing director with restructuring firm Alvarez & Marsal, was installed last month as the company’s new CEO. The move led to speculation that Thai Union Group is preparing the brand for sale, according to the outlet, which reported that Tibus was the company’s third CEO in the past two years.

According to the outlet, citing the Bloomberg report, Orlando-based Red Lobster is seeking advice from law firm King & Spalding to divest from long-term contracts and renegotiate leases

Per Restaurant Business Online, the seafood chain, which has around 650 locations across the United States, has struggled in recent years due to leadership troubles and strategic missteps. The company’s financial struggles were magnified by economic hardships that have impacted a majority of American businesses since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Thai Union Group made the decision to cut ties with Red Lobster and look for a buyer in January, according to the outlet, which reported that Red Lobster suffered a $33 million loss in 2022.

The outlet attributed those losses to less Americans choosing to eat out at restaurants and an increase in food and labor costs. Red Lobster closed 16 locations, per the outlet.

Last summer, Red Lobster launched a $20 all-you-can-eat shrimp deal which, although popular with customers, ended up costing the company over $11 million in one quarter.

Per the outlet, citing the Bloomberg report, the restructuring talks are ongoing. No official decision has been made.