Red Lobster is the nation’s largest full-service seafood restaurant chain and is owned and operated by Orlando-based Darden Restaurants.
Bill Darden, who opened the first Red Lobster in Lakeland, Fla, founded the chain in 1968. After becoming part of General Mills in 1970, Red Lobster was expanded throughout the Southeast and eventually nationwide.
Its locations became popular in land-locked states in the 1970s and 1980s when lobster tails and calamari were not commonly found on local menus. Darden introduced a new restaurant prototype in 2007 that featured a more refined, contemporary look.