Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Why Red Lobster Sucks aka Lobsterbots

Oh of course I could come up with a lot of specific reasons why Red Lobster sucks, but I would like to focus on the leadership of our company as the core reason why we suck.

It always rolls down hill, especially at Red Lobster. The past few years the company has been handcuffed by an endless barrage of corporate policies, taking away any authority and creativity from the local level of management. This has in turn filtered down to where the only people surviving at the local level of management are those who are willing to fall into a mindless goose step of the corporate BS. Darden has slowly turned Red Lobster into a soulless organization. As the Dilbert cartoon suggests, we are led by corporate zombies. If we could employ robots, I truly believe that our corporate leadership would the first to do so.

As if that wasn't bad enough, you then get young managers trying to make a name for themselves by throwing themselves fully into the machine with the hopes that they'll get noticed and put on the fast track to becoming the ever coveted General Manager. You can readily identify these Lobsterbots by their nearly incessant repeating of various corporate mantras. You might notice these (generally) young managers walking around with their noses as close to the pooper of any Area, Regional, or National directors as social mores will allow. These are the managers you suspect sleep in Red Lobster pajamas, and hug large stuffed lobsters for security. These are the managers who if Red Lobster announced all employees were to wear their underwear outside their pants, they'd be the ones happily enforcing it. They stop thinking for themselves, believing it will get them farther. If it comes from corporate, it makes them happy. What the Lobsterbots don't realize is that it precisely these kinds of actions that causes their staff to despise them. As their noses go further up the corporate butts, the further away from those who actually do the work they become. Many do not see or understanding this creeping void, as Red Lobster doesn't warn them this is happening. In the long run, it destroys staff moral, and generally causes everyone who is forced to work with them to do a crappier job. I also drives out some of the best servers from our company.

Related Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

18 comments:

Bonezzz said...

Amen to that! I feel very soulless working there already. I really wouldn't be offended if they fired me and hired a robot to take over my place they would be doing me a favor.

riva0060 said...

Amen, Amen, Amen to that! you have hit the nail on the head! I worked for this company for a long long time and many factors led to me just needing to get the hell out of there and this reason was huge, I even tried going to other managers about one manager specifically but not much could be done. You described this particular manager perfectly, funny because you probably have never even met him, he was literally a carictature of the bad managers that become the proverbial bane of our existence for the five to six hours we are stuck there making us miserable, making us constantly watch our backs (even though we're doing nothing wrong). The sad thing is it does not need to be like that, the majority of my years there were good. Thank you for posting this, I hope somebody somewhere that can change all of this sees it, but that's not too likely.
Furthermore, I find it kind of ironic that these managers would choose to act like this for a company that would let them go in a heartbeat for the smallest indiscretion, they care not about these people, like you said it's the bottom line. The least these managers could do is endear themselves to the ones they see on an almost daily basis they might be willing to go to bat for them at some point if need be, the company, not so much, I've seen it happen, the most "coporate-abiding drone" gone for nothing...
tr

lilokmermaid said...

I just discovered that the Bahama Breeze restaurant in Oklahoma City closed. They were open on Friday; on Saturday closed. Employees weren't even notified and found out when they arrived at work. It was my favorite restaurant and ALWAYS busy. Nothing else like it in the city. Darden is EVIL.

6th Floor blog said...

I have a red stuffed lobster around here somewhere. I wonder where it came from.

Steve said...

"You know what, Stan, if you want me to wear 37 pieces of flair, like your pretty boy over there, why don't you just make the minimum 37 pieces of flair?"

The Bahama Breeze back home ALWAYS has a 90+ minute wait for a table. In fact, if you don't call ahead by 7pm on the weekends, it's pretty much impossible to get one. I can't believe one closed down! They're always so popular...

Steve
Liquor Store Stories

Fiona said...

I'm not understanding something here. You work for an organisation you don't respect, for managers, you don't respect, for customers who often don't respect you ... and you're still there.

Why?

Not trying to be antagonistic, just trying to understand!

lilokmermaid said...

Yeah, Steve, apparently they closed 9 nationwide ... all on the same day, same time.

Some kind of corporate restructuring. I've read that they didn't feel the Bahama Breeze restaurants were pulling their weight. If you look at their website you will see how few now remain!

shady dem said...

Darden closed all 51 of their China Coast restaurants back in 1995 without any warning. Open on a Friday like normal, doors locked the next day without telling the employees. Nice way to run a business....

shady dem said...

Back to your post. I was fortunate to work for a regional director who didn't play the whole "ass kissing" game the company so promotes. It was refreshing to be able to be myself, focus on keeping both customers and crewmates happy, without having to be the drone that I would often see at corporate meetings. Of course, this ruined any chance of ever getting a promotion to the next level, but that was fine with me for at the time. I just don't get how people think they can be successful by not getting the employees on their side. It's hard to run a restaurant when cringe when they see you walk in the door.

Lobster Boy said...

Fiona,
I'm just there because it is a season of life. This will eventually pass, I have no doubt, but it is serving (marginally) the purpose for the moment. I originally wrote this post in early December (I always have a handful of posts in reserve or in the works) and while time has passed, little has changed. The worse things is that I've worked with multiple people, both men and women, who fit this post. There are some good people in management, but it seems more and more they are fewer and fewer. Years ago they seemed to hire better leaders, not mindless followers. I assume there has been some cultural shift at the top level of our corporation that slowly filtered down to us. I couldn't pinpoint what or when that happened, as our company has had a few significant transitions in the past handful of years.

Lobster Boy

Sharpie said...

Corporate sucks!

Really enjoy your blog-- I've linked you to mine: http://theaterfordummies.blogspot.com/

Keep up the good writin'!

Trish said...

hey, our managers have resorted to spying on the servers with other servers- they're supposed to listen to our bitching and come up with ways that will make the workforce "happier." Now ain't that some sneaky shit! they aren't supposed to take names on who's saying what, but it's still sneaky shit. they should have an open meeting with the servers instead of spying on us.

natman15478 said...

Red Lobster is literally the worst place in town to work. The general manager at ours is only concerned about her money. She runs around the restuarant acting like she is busy, when in fact she pawns off her job on other people. She treats us like we are in high school, and actually will take your cell phone if she sees it. I try to be creative with my job as alley coordinator but its all about the Red Lobster standard. Well, by making us all follow the same boring rules, we are doing an injustice to our guests. Plus the food is all premade, frozen, and overpriced. This is one company that does not know how to treat its employees.

The Brother Hammer said...

I refer you to my A.D.D. comment

fernando said...

AHA! I knew the food was premade and frozen wish I knew that before eating there. The bread was the worse it was cold and old. The server was bad too took too long. Only a matter of time.

Jim said...

I have been there 1 1/2 years and although strict it has been OK until this new VIP service. They treat us like dogs. Our managers hide trying to bust us missing some minor step and threaten our jobs EVERY DAY. I was called in the office and screamed at because I did not reach over a customer to get a straw wrapper.

Timothy said...

Yeah I have worked at Red Lobster for over a year now. I am not earning as much, and I have not been promoted. Eventhough I have done everything they asked me to do, and more. The manager asks me innapropriate questions like( Are you drunk)?. Which I dont drink at all eventhough I am 22. What a bitch, and an arrogant, nickompoop. He needs a kick in the ass. laterz Red lobster fucks.

Anonymous said...

They overcook everything. And they specialize in seafood!! Ha! One of the things you dont do with seafood or you get rubber! Numerous experiences in different areas of the country, prove all to be the same. Anyone who lives near the oceans and has access to fresh seafood, knows this. Midwesterners probably do not know any different. What a shame. They really dont know what they are missing! and if you have a cocktail in thier establishment...you have to order a virgin drink with a shot on the side....to add yourself. If you dont..you will def. get a virgin drink!