Red Lobster Unveils Most Comprehensive Menu Transformation in Brand History

logo-red-lobster-original

Menu provides greater value and broadens appeal through more choice and variety

Today, Red Lobster introduces their most comprehensive core menu transformation in the brand’s history. The menu will offer significantly more items with price points below $15. It will also substantially increase the number of non-seafood selections. Additionally, the menu will offer more choice and variety, including lighter-style options and more fish and shrimp entrées.

The new Red Lobster menu is the latest in a series of changes contributing to the brand’s broader refresh, which includes their new “Sea Food Differently” advertising campaign featuring the real people of Red Lobster, their Bar Harbor restaurant remodel program, the introduction of wood-fire grills in the restaurants and the expansion of the Today’s Fresh Fish menu.

‘’We know guests are looking for value and greater choice and variety, and that’s exactly what this new menu will deliver,’’ said Salli Setta, executive vice president of marketing, Red Lobster. ‘’We’re excited to give more guests more reasons to visit Red Lobster more often.’’

Everyday Affordability
Nearly 60 percent of the dishes on Red Lobster’s new menu are under $15. That’s an increase from 40 percent on the previous menu. The 15 new dishes under $15 are called ‘’Maine Stays’’ and are available every day.

New “Maine Stays” include entrées like:

  • Tilapia with Roasted Vegetables: Seasoned and roasted in a parchment bag with white wine, asparagus, artichokes and wild rice pilaf.
  • Bacon-Wrapped Shrimp: With a peach-bourbon BBQ glaze and pico de gallo, served over mashed potatoes and choice of accompaniment.
  • Wood-Grilled Chicken with Portobello Wine Sauce: Served with mashed potatoes and choice of accompaniment.

Also, in response to its popularity, Red Lobster’s 4-Course Feast has been added to the menu permanently. The 4-Course Feast allows guests to choose a soup, a salad, one of nine entrées and a dessert, with unlimited Cheddar Bay Biscuits, all for only $15.99 (may vary by location).

More Than Just Seafood
Nearly 25 percent of Red Lobster’s new menu offers non-seafood options. That’s an increase from 8 percent non-seafood options on the previous menu.

Examples of these dishes include:

  • Parmesan-Crusted Chicken Alfredo: Served over corkscrew pasta and fresh broccoli.
  • Wood-Grilled Pork Chops: Topped with apple compote and peach-bourbon BBQ sauce, served over mashed potatoes and choice of accompaniment.
  • Roasted Vegetable Skewer: Topped with a lemon-garlic beurre blanc and served with wild rice pilaf.
  • Blue Cheese Sirloin: A 7 ounce peppercorn-crusted sirloin, wood-grilled and topped with a creamy blue cheese sauce. Served over mashed potatoes and choice of accompaniment.

Choice and Variety
Red Lobster’s new menu offers more choice and variety, including lighter-style options and more fish and shrimp entrées. Some examples include:

Lighter-style options like:

  • Bar Harbor Salad with Shrimp: With dried berries and honey-roasted pecans with a blueberry-balsamic vinaigrette and crumbled blue cheese served upon request (260 calories, 9 fat (g) with no dressing or blue cheese).
  • Tropical BBQ Glazed Chicken: Wood-grilled and brushed with papaya-BBQ sauce and topped with fresh pineapple salsa. Served with wild rice and choice of an accompaniment (390 calories, 6 fat (g)).

New seafood options like:

  • Island Grilled Mahi Mahi and Shrimp: Wood-grilled, wild-caught mahi-mahi and a shrimp skewer brushed with a papaya-BBQ sauce and topped with fresh pineapple salsa. Served with broccoli and choice of accompaniment.
  • Chesapeake Shrimp with Crab: A Chesapeake-grilled shrimp skewer topped with crab butter and five crab-and-seafood-stuffed shrimp with lobster beurre blanc, served with wild rice pilaf and choice of accompaniment.

New appetizers like:

  • Sweet Chili Shrimp: Hand-battered shrimp tossed in a spicy chili sauce.
  • Southwest Chicken Pizza: A crisp thin-crust pizza topped with BBQ chicken, roasted corn and poblano peppers. Drizzled with jalapeno ranch.

Several guest favorites remain on the menu including:

  • Today’s Fresh Fish Menu: Features four to eight fresh fish selections daily.
  • Wood-Grilled Lobster, Shrimp and Scallops: A split Maine lobster tail, skewered shrimp and wild caught sea scallops with a buttery garlic finish, over wild rice pilaf.
  • Ultimate Feast: A tender split Maine lobster tail, steamed North American snow crab legs, garlic shrimp scampi and Walt’s Favorite Shrimp.

New Advertisements
The brand will be supporting the new menu with a robust communications program, which includes new national advertisements and a significant presence in the digital and social media spaces. The advertisements feature real people and their unscripted reactions when invited to taste various dishes from Red Lobster’s new menu. These advertisements launch today and are part of the brand’s current ‘’Sea Food Differently’’ campaign that features the real people of Red Lobster.

Plateware Donations and Bar Harbor Remodels
With the introduction of the new menu, Red Lobster is also introducing new plateware into all restaurants. As part of Red Lobster’s commitment to the communities they serve, the company has donated an estimated 330,000 pieces of plateware – including bowls, plates and platters – to local hunger relief agencies and Habitat for Humanity ReStore resale outlets across North America. This supports the company’s goal of sending zero waste to landfills and making a positive difference in local communities.

This is in addition to the donations being made to Habitat for Humanity ReStore resale outlets as part of Red Lobster’s large-scale restaurant remodel program. Red Lobster donates its furnishings from remodeled restaurants to Habitat for Humanity ReStore resale outlets, which sell quality, donated household and construction materials to the public to help Habitat provide decent and affordable housing in communities. This is part of a larger partnership between Red Lobster’s parent company, Darden Restaurants, and Habitat for Humanity International. To date, more than 50 percent of Red Lobster restaurants have been remodeled, and all Red Lobster restaurants across North America will undergo the redesign by the end of 2014.

To learn more about Red Lobster and to find a local restaurant, visit RedLobster.com  and connect on Facebook and Twitter at Facebook.com/RedLobster and @RedLobster.

ABOUT RED LOBSTER
Red Lobster is the world’s largest casual dining seafood restaurant with more than 700 locations and 60,000 employees delivering delicious, high-quality seafood to guests across North America. Red Lobster is a division of Darden Restaurants, Inc. (NYSE: DRI), the world’s largest full-service restaurant operating company. In 2012, Darden was named to the FORTUNE “100 Best Companies to Work For” list for the second year in a row and is the only full-service restaurant company to ever appear on the list. Red Lobster is committed to making a difference in the lives of others in the local community. As part of this commitment, all Red Lobster restaurants participate in the Darden Harvest program, which has donated more than 50 million pounds of food to local community food banks across the country. For more information on Red Lobster please visit www.RedLobster.com.

Content Delivery Network Trends August 2012

Top Content Delivern Network Technology Usage Trends 2012

AJAX Libraries API 20.55%
CloudFront 8.74%
Akamai 7.69%
Twitter CDN 3.09%
GStatic Google Static Content 1.89%
Limelight Networks 1.28%
Amazon S3 1.26%
Facebook CDN 1.15%
Yahoo Image CDN 1.03%
jQuery CDN 0.84%
Yahoo CDN 0.77%
CloudFlare 0.76%
WordPress Grid 0.69%
NetDNA 0.32%
Turner CDN 0.23%
DT00-DT09 0.16%
CDN JS 0.1%
CacheFly CDN 0.09%
Clear Channel Communications CDN 0.05%
Stackoverflow CDN 0.05%
Akamai Global Host 0.04%
Level3 0.02%
GoDaddy CDN 0.02%
Mosso 0.01%
Gawker 0.01%
CloudLayer 0.01%
Google Storage 0.01%
Limelight Networks FasterWeb 0.01%

Google Olympic Doodle 2012

It’s Pacman Day all over again …… I’m anxious to see just how many hours will be wasted today playing with Google’s Olympic 2012 Animation Doodle!

If you are one of the few who hasn’t played it yet check it out here.

Google Animation Doodle 2012 Olympic Hurdles

To view past Google Doodles visit their Google Doodle Archive.

What was your score? Post it in the comments below! Happy Hurdling !

Yes, Twitter is Down, No, Your Internet Isn’t Broken LOL

Don’t Panic Twitter is Down!

After receiving at least 20 phone calls from clients, and trying to send a few tweets myself, I am able to confirm Twitter was indeed down.  Much to everyone’s relief, Twitter is up and running again!  The very popular social networking site Twitter suffered an outage midday Thursday.  The main site, twitter.com, was completely down for more than 45 minutes.  Tweetdeck and other similar Twitter related platforms were down as well.

I did miss seeing the famous fail whale that graced the site often in it’s growing stages when it would hit capacity.  During today’s outage, the company said in a post to it’s status blog, at status.twitter.com, “Users may be experiencing issues accessing Twitter” at status.twitter.com. “Our engineers are currently working to resolve the issue.”

Twitter is Down June 2012 Screenshot

No further reason has been given at this time for the disruption.  We’ll keep you posted.

 

UPDATE on Twitter Outage:

CNN has just reported that the June 21st Twitter outage was the longest disruption in service since an hour-long episode on October 7, which came during a month filled with hundreds of very brief outages, according to Pingdom’s data.  Downtime is a common problem for websites, though Twitter has been far better lately than it was a few years ago, when the site became notorious for its extensive outages.

“Engineers are currently working to resolve the issue,” a Twitter spokeswoman told CNNMoney on Thursday. She declined to comment on a reason for the outage.

Read More from CNN regarding the Twitter Outage.

 

 

Product: Twitter
Website: twitter.com
Company Twitter

Twitter allows users to post text updates via SMS, instant messaging, email, Twitter’s website and third party applications. Users have their own profile page that displays their latest updates. In addition, users can become “friends” with one another, or simply be a “follower.” Other than reading another person’s profile page, a user can also receive others’ updates through text messages, RSS or third party applications. Twitter itself is a free service.

Facebook App Center Launches Today in US

Today Facebook is launching the Facebook App Center to make it easier to find apps you can enjoy with your Facebook friends.

The new Facebook App Center features mobile and web apps, such as Draw Something, Pinterest, and Nike+ GPS, and new apps including Jetpack Joyride, Ghosts of Mistwood, and Ghost Recon Commander.

Discover the Best Apps For You

The Facebook App Center gives you personalized recommendations, and lets you browse the apps your Facebook friends use. It only lists high-quality apps, based on feedback from people who actually use the app.
Facebook App Center Launches Today

Install Mobile Apps

To make it easier to find social apps for mobile, the Facebook App Center is available in the Facebook iOS and Android apps, as well as Facebook.com.

You can send apps you find on your computer to your mobile device using the new “Send to Mobile” feature. If a mobile app requires a download, you’ll be sent to install it from the Apple App Store or Google Play.

Install Mobile Apps Facebook App Center

Easily preview Facebook Social Apps

Every app in the Facebook App Center has screenshots and a detailed description, so you can learn more about it before installing it. It helps you control your privacy by showing the information an app needs and letting you choose who can see your activity on Facebook. If you decide you want to use an app, you can get started directly from the Facebook App Center.

Facebook App Center Pinterest App

Get started

The Facebook App Center will begin rolling out to people in the U.S. today, with more than 600 apps. The Facebook App Center will be available to everyone worldwide in the coming weeks.

Watch a screencast of the Facebook App Center.

Consumers Using Pinterest to Engage With Retailers More Than Facebook, Twitter

One-Third of Smartphone Owners Who Shop Online Share Their Location With Retailers

Never before has social media been so attractive to consumers, literally. According to the 2012 Social and Mobile Commerce Study, a joint research project by Shop.org, comScore and The Partnering Group, the visually-appealing social media site Pinterest has become a big player in an even bigger arena, with online U.S. consumers reporting that they already follow an average of 9.3 retail companies on the site, compared to the average 6.9 retailers they follow on Facebook and the 8.5 retailers they track via Twitter. Overall, almost two out of five (38%) online consumers follow retailers through one or more social networking sites.

For retailers engaged in the social media sphere, customizing their approach with social and mobile strategies is leading to social commerce success. The report outlines that as social media continues to grow, retailers are actively evaluating where their customers want them to be. The survey found company blogs, YouTube and Facebook command the majority of consumers’ social activity. In particular, seven in 10 (70%) of those who follow a retailer’s blog click through to the website, and though sometimes overlooked in the overall social media mix, more than two-thirds (68%) of consumers use YouTube to browse and research a retail company.

“Retailers have done a commendable job embracing social media – engaging their customers where it makes sense while keeping their brand relevant, interesting, appealing and exciting on each platform,” said Shop.org Executive Director Vicki Cantrell. “Specifically, Pinterest has given retailers another channel to ‘listen’ to and interact with both existing and new customers, telling an ongoing visual story through images of their products and their brand ‘spirit’ – a story that customers can then tell again to their friends and family members.”

When it comes to what spurs consumers to follow retailers on social media platforms, the study found that finding good deals is still the leading reason, but that deals and promotions have lost a little bit of their luster. This year, 51 percent say they follow a retailer to get information on deals and coupons, down from 58 percent who said so last year. Four in 10 (43%) say they are looking for product information and 36 percent want to post/read comments about merchandise or services. Additionally, three in 10 consumers who follow retailers via social media say they are actively looking for information about events (34%), current trends and ideas (31%), or photos and videos (30%), such as “how-to’s” and styling ideas, as well as expert opinions (27%).

“There are significant new opportunities for retailers to entice smartphone owners who may be within a few feet of their store — or already in the store — thanks to technology that lets shoppers who want to hear from retailers instantly interact with them,” said Jennifer Vlahavas, Senior Director, comScore, Inc. “And while check-in and store location functionality are already gaining popularity, retailers have just begun to scratch the surface of using location data to better serve their customers. In-store shopping maps and customized shopping lists are a few of the emerging mobile technologies that promise to shape consumers’ future behavior.”

Smartphones Allow “Social Shopping” Experience for Consumers

Smartphone-toting Americans seem to have no qualms about sharing their location with friends and family members through social media channels, and the study finds they are also interested in sharing their location with retailers. One-third (33%) of those who own smartphones say they have shared their location with retailers. Location-based services, such as Groupon Now!, FourSquare and Facebook have effectively helped retailers instantly reach new and existing customers by targeting special offers, discounts and coupons to their mobile devices once they’ve “checked-in.”

“For retailers, the possibilities are endless when it comes to enticing smartphone owners who may be within a few feet of their store or even already in the store, thanks to technology that lets shoppers who want to hear from retailers instantly interact with them,” said Jennifer Vlahavas, senior director, comScore, Inc. “And while check in and store location functionality are already gaining popularity, retailers have only just scratched the surface of using location data to better serve their customers. In-store shopping maps and customized shopping lists are a few of the possibilities that will cater to the consumer.”

The study found that men are more likely than women to share their location with a retailer (40% vs. 25% respectively), and nearly half (46%) of those aged 18-34 say they have shared their location, compared to just two in 10 (22%) of those aged 35-54.

In very different ways, tablets and smartphones are still an integral part of the average person’s shopping experience these days. The survey found those with smartphones are most likely to use their device for social reasons, such as contacting friends and family about products they see and searching for items nearby, while tablets are more likely to be used to make purchases and comparison shop. Specifically, nearly four in 10 (37%) smartphone owners who shop online say they use their smartphone to take pictures of products and more than one-third (34%) said they send the pictures of the products they see to friends. U.S. online consumers surveyed also say they text/call friends/family about specific products while shopping (33%).

About the survey

The 2012 “Social Commerce Study” provides a unique look into the behaviors and attitudes of consumers regarding social media. The study covers consumer shopping activity and engagement via Facebook, Twitter, customer reviews on websites, group-buying sites and location-based social platforms. 1,507 online U.S. consumers participated in the survey which was conducted in March 2012 by comScore, Inc. The survey participants were selected to ensure that results were representative of the demographics of the U.S. online adult consumer. Results were weighted to accurately reflect U.S. demographics.

comScore, Inc. (NASDAQ: SCOR) is a global leader in measuring the digital world and preferred source of digital business analytics. For more information, please visit www.comscore.com/companyinfo.

The Partnering Group (TPG) is a global strategy and management consulting firm. Our mission is to build sustainable incremental value for leading retailers worldwide. For more than two decades, TPG has helped retail clients address their strategy, marketing, merchandising and supply chain challenges in order to maximize shareholder value. TPG’s ecommerce, omni-channel and digital marketing practice area is led by consultants with hands-on executive experience at retail. Learn more at www.thepartneringgroup.com.

Shop.org, a division of the National Retail Federation, is the world’s leading membership community for digital retail. Founded in 1996, Shop.org’s 600 members include the 10 largest retailers in the U.S. and more than 60 percent of the Internet Retailer Top 100 E-Retailers. It’s where the best retail minds come together to gain the insight, knowledge and intelligence to make smarter, more informed decisions in the evolving world of the Internet and multichannel retailing. Shop.org programs and activities include benchmarking research, events and networking communities.

It’s a Social World (Infographic)

Social Shopping 2012 Survey and Infographic


According to a recent Social Shopping Survery done by SteelHouse, Pinterest users are far more likely to purchase items they see posted on Pinterest compared to the purchasing behavior of Facebook users viewing items they’ve seen on the news feed or a friend’s wall.

Check out our their latest infographic to see their social shopping findings!

Social Mobile Infographic

 

Facebook Camera Launches

Today, Facebbook is launching Camera, a new mobile app that makes using Facebook photos faster and easier.

See Your friends’ Facebook photos all in one place

When you launch the camera app, you’ll see a feed of just great photos from the people you care about. You can swipe to see more of any album or tap to enlarge an individual photo.

Facebook Camera Launches

Share multiple photos fast

Now you can quickly share multiple photos all at once instead of having to post one at a time to Facebook. Just select the shots you want to share by tapping the check-mark on each photo and then hit post. You’ll have a chance to add a caption, say where you were and tag your Facebook friends before you share on Facebook.

Facebook Camera Launches Share Multiple Photos Fast

It’s also easy to edit photos with new tools like the ability to crop, rotate and add filters to any picture in your camera roll.

How to get Facebook Camera App

Camera will be available for iPhone starting later today. Get a link to the app  sent via sms to your phone or just search for ‘Facebook Camera’ in the App Store.

The 4 Question Business Meeting: You Can’t Be Brilliant Alone

Conference Room 4 Question MeetingThere is a cartoon I recall seeing “if you are lonely, call a meeting.” Given the meeting madness of many organizations, there appears to be a lot of lonely people in companies. People estimate they spend approximately 2-3 days of their work week in meetings. Doing some back-of-the-envelope math, and using salary data from Glassdoor.com (www.glassdoor.com), the weekly cost of meetings for a 10-person team is approximately $23,760. If you have 100 people in your company, this comes to almost a quarter of a million dollars per week spent on meetings. This price tag does not factor in the opportunity cost of not accomplishing other tasks, missed sales calls or lost customer face time.

Meetings are here to stay. This we must joyfully embrace. Well-organized meetings have real value.  They stimulate dialogue, create fresh thinking and move the business forward. The discipline to conduct them effectively must be developed as a core competency of your team. The question is… given the resource impact and cost, how can you quickly improve the probability of having a successful, productive meeting?

A successful meeting ensures the right people are invited and the material is presented as effectively and judiciously as possible. It is respectful of your time and enables you to contribute in a meaningful way or makes you smarter. Too often this is the exception than the norm, which put me on a quest to identify a quick process to improve the odds.

business team at a meeting

The answer lies in asking four questions.

  1. What is the purpose — decision, information sharing or brainstorming?
  2. What is the issue…in five words or less?
  3. Who has already weighed in and what did they have to say about it?
  4. What will surprise me in this meeting?

1.       What is the purpose of the meeting?

Defining the type of meeting is a critical but often missed first step.  It guides the organizer—regarding the format, information needed, and who should be invited — and sets expectations for the participants. Typically, meetings can be classified into one of three types:

  •  Decision-making meeting: The goal is to produce a final decision. It is not the time for new information or to request additional analysis. In this meeting, you will finalize the path forward—i.e., yes or no, and if yes, how. Prepare: Brief deck or memo for pre-reading (e.g. less than 10 slides).
  • Information sharing meeting: Here the meeting host means to share new, interesting, relevant facts and figures. There is no call to action and no preparation on the part of attendees required. Initially everyone but the presenter is in listening mode; once the presentation is complete, the presenter asks for questions of clarification. Prepare: Short deck or memo (11- 25 pages).
  • Brainstorming meeting: Perhaps the most anticipated but difficult meeting where you expect to generate ideas via a working session. At this phase, data synthesis is incomplete and report content is a work in progress. Ideally, everyone should be involved in the back-and-forth.  Prepare: Varies depending on lifecycle of the project.

2.       What is the issue…in five words or less?

To quote William Shakespeare, “Put your discourse into some frame.” One of the biggest skill gaps is the ability to conceptualize the problem or frame the issue.  Start your next meeting with a quick exercise, have each person articulate in five words or less what you are trying to solve. If you get inconsistent answers or long replies there is lack of clarity on why you are meeting.  By clearly articulating the issue, you will get a good idea of the information you need, the people you should talk to and will ensure everyone is working towards the same goal.

3.       Who has already weighed in and what did they have to say about it?

This gives your meeting request credibility. Assuming you talked to the right people and perhaps secured stakeholder feedback and support in the process, it makes it easier for those attending the meeting to engage in the dialogue. It also exposes if you missed inviting a key person or if there are interim steps you need to take before meeting.   It reduces revisiting existing conversation and moves the dialogue forward.

4.       What will surprise me in this meeting?

Surprises are wake-up calls to your brain. Surprises are bias killers. People want meaningful dialogue and want to hear new information. Asking “‘what is surprising” in a meeting will spur new discussion and uncover fresh learning. The secret to uncovering these answers is to apply a prism to the discussion in a meeting. Just as a prism separates a light into parts, the question “What surprised you?”’ serves as a prism to separate meaningless information to expose new learning from relevant numbers. The reason is simple: The question exposes outliers in the data, draws connections between seemingly unrelated conclusions and opens new avenues of discussion with your colleagues.

Finally, a word about meeting duration. Today’s e-mail and calendar applications usually set meetings to a :60 min default. Think about what that means.  One hour is roughly 10% percent of the average businessperson’s workday. So, the question becomes: Is the meeting truly important enough for you to ask everyone to give up such a large chunk of their workday? Furthermore, one-hour meetings are harder to schedule. So, think it over carefully, to determine if an entire hour really needed, or could if you achieve the objective in :30 minutes or via e-mail.

The ideal meeting begins before anyone sits down at the table.  The next time you receive a meeting request ask the four questions, it will save you time and help you manage the fire hose of requests.

Christopher J Frank is Vice President in Global Marketplace Insights at American Express. He is co-author of Drinking From the Fire Hose: Making Smarter Decisions in a Data Overloaded World  (www.firehosethebook.com).