Case | HBS Case Collection | September 2010 (Revised February 2011)

Red Lobster

by David E. Bell and Jason Riis

Abstract

Red Lobster, a 40-year-old chain of seafood restaurants, has just completed some market research revealing an opportunity to shift its target customer segment. The chain is in the final stages of a 10-year plan of rejuvenation under CEO Kim Lopdrup. When he took over as CEO in 2004 the chain was closing restaurants and suffering declining same-store sales and declining customer satisfaction. But in 2010, even in a recession, the fortunes of the chain are improving. A recently commissioned market research study has revealed, unexpectedly, that 25% of Red Lobster's customers are "experientials," people coming for a "good evening out" rather than Red Lobster's traditional core customer who came because of a craving for seafood. Should this news cause Lopdrup to do anything differently?

Keywords: Advertising; Customer Satisfaction; Marketing Strategy; Consumer Behavior; Research; Segmentation; Food and Beverage Industry;

Citation:

Bell, David E., and Jason Riis. "Red Lobster." Harvard Business School Case 511-052, September 2010. (Revised February 2011.)