Red Lobster is an American casual dining restaurant chain that is owned and operated by Darden Restaurants, Inc., headquartered in Orlando, Florida. The company also has operations in Canada, the United Arab Emirates, and Japan. As of May 29, 2011, there are 698 Red Lobster locations worldwide. Red Lobster was founded in 1968 by entrepreneurs Bill Darden and Charley Woodsby. Originally billed as a 'Harbor for Seafood Lovers', the first restaurant in Lakeland, Florida, was followed by several others throughout the southeast. In 1970, General Mills acquired Red Lobster as a five-unit company. With new backing, the chain expanded rapidly in the 1980s. Red Lobster entered into Canada in the 1980s. The company still maintains a presence, but has since exited the Quebec market in September 1997 due to financial losses, and has never existed in British Columbia. In 1995, Red Lobster (along with Olive Garden and other sister chains), became part of Darden Restaurants, Inc..
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Golden Gate Capital firm bought Red Lobster.