KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 26 ― On Monday, the doors to the first Red Lobster restaurant in South-East Asia will open at the Intermark Mall.
The brand established in 1968 by Bill Darden is well-known as America's favourite seafood restaurant. The chain has more than 700 restaurants in North America, Canada, South America, the Middle East and Japan.
In Malaysia, the casual dining restaurant is a partnership between the Secret Recipe group and Dardens Restaurants Inc.
Seafood lovers can look forward to a menu filled with goodies from the ocean. What's highly sought after is their “live” Maine lobsters. It's prepared two ways: steamed or roasted with a crab and seafood stuffing.
There will also be various signature seafood combination platters starting from RM32.90 onwards. You can also enjoy their legendary buttery Cheddar Bay biscuits with your meal.
Prices are said to start from RM9.90 for their soups, salads and starters, while main entrees start from RM26.90 onwards at the family-styled restaurant.
Last September, Secret Recipe also signed to open the Italian restaurant chain Olive Garden and LongHorn Steakhouse in Malaysia.
The two restaurant brands are owned by Dardens Restaurants Inc. Plans are also underway to open two more Red Lobster outlets in brand-new shopping malls like Quill City Mall along Jalan Sultan Ismail and Gamuda Walk Mall in Setia Alam.
All eyes will be on the Red Lobster business in Malaysia as Dardens sold the entire Red Lobster business to San Francisco investor Golden Gate Capital Group for US$2.1 billion (RM6.8 billion) in July.
According to a report by the Orlando Sentinel, Dardens is facing a lawsuit from their shareholders, Teamster, for the controversial sale that only yielded a profit of US$100 million after transaction costs, which is a fraction of the Red Lobster's annual operating profit.
In addition, activist investor Starboard Value is also fighting for control over the Dardens' board in the upcoming annual shareholder meeting on October 10.
Questions also remain with regards to Red Lobster's rock lobster supply for their restaurants in Malaysia. Back in 2012, Dardens signed a deal for RM1.86 billion to develop the world's largest lobster aquaculture farm in Pulau Timbun Mata, Semporna, Sabah.
As reported in The Star, the initial investment by Dardens was RM1 billion. The farm was to provide live rock lobsters to Dardens' Red Lobster outlets within Asia.
According to the publicly available EIA report on the Sabah government's website, the project is run by Lobster Aqua Technologies, a company where Nanyang Nexus owns 70 per cent and the balance is held by Inno Fisheries controlled by Yayasan Sabah.
Nanyang Nexus is a joint venture between Darden Aquafarms and Ever Nexus, a Malaysian aquaculture specialist. The report states that the project will only commence later this year and it is projected to end in 2028.
According to a report by Undercurrent News, Dardens spokesman Rich Jeffers was quoted as indicating that despite their Red Lobster divestment, Dardens is still committed to proceeding with their farm's investment.
The earliest that the farm will be producing rock lobsters is estimated to be in 2017. There is also no indication whether Dardens will supply these rock lobsters to Red Lobster since they are no longer under the same owners.
Red Lobster, Lot G-17, Ground Level, Intermark Mall, 348, Jalan Tun Razak, KL. Tel:03-21814855 https://www.facebook.com/redlobstermalaysia