Red Lobster is closing down across the country, according to rampant Internet rumors about its demise, although its parent company says otherwise.
Owner Darden Restaurants has been trying to quash false reports since Christmas that Red Lobster is shuttering its locations across the nation.
Darden hopes to sell or spin off the Red Lobster chain into another company, but is not "closing any restaurants," spokesman Rich Jeffers clarified.
Still, this afternoon, "Red Lobster closing" was the No. 1 item trending on Yahoo, and the rumor was the subject of Tweets and Facebook posts.
"To clarify, reports that @RedLobster is closing are false," the company tweeted out Friday afternoon. "We're looking forward to your next visit!"
Jeffers said the rumors stemmed from a piece in LA Weekly that "was clearly being facetious" about the shutdown, and blamed today's media culture.
"You had a couple outlets where clearly folks weren't practicing good journalism, and no one called to verify if what they read in LA Weekly was accurate."
The LA Weekly piece had been updated as of Friday to say no restaurants were closing, but the rumors can't be chalked up entirely to a miscommunication.
At the end of the day, these two facts remain undeniably true:
- The company is trying to unload or spin off Red Lobster, which is widely believed to be in financial decline, to focus on its growing brands.
- Red Lobster is overpriced and not that good.