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Red Lobster Suddenly Shutters Dozens of Locations Without Warning Employees, Begins Auctioning Off Equipment It's estimated that nearly 99 locations have been closed across 27 states, and restaurant paraphernalia is up for auction online — including tanks with live lobsters, furniture, ovens, refrigerators, bars, and more.

By Emily Rella

Key Takeaways

  • Want to own a piece of a Red Lobster? The beloved seafood chain is shuttering locations across the country and auctioning off equipment.
  • Some employees have reportedly been blindsided by the closings.

Amid a looming declaration of Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, Red Lobster has begun to shutter locations across the country, leaving many employees displaced without warning — and a slew of restaurant equipment up for auction.

Liquidator TageX brands confirmed that restaurant paraphernalia — including a tank with live lobsters, furniture, ovens, refrigerators, bars, and more — for nearly 50 Red Lobster locations across 21 states is up for auction online.

Related: Red Lobster Is Reportedly Considering Filing for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy

Interested customers can bid through the liquidator up until designated times on Thursday. Those who win their respective lots must pick up their items by the end of the day on Friday or their order will be forfeited without a refund. The auctions are being run in a "winner takes all" style — customers cannot bid on specific items but rather entire lots at once.

Any perishable goods or bottles of alcohol that were left in the restaurant are not included.

According to ABC News, the chain has shuttered at least 99 locations across 27 states.

As locations have begun to shutter around the country, now-former employees have taken to social media to share desolate clips of their former restaurants, with some alleging that they came to work for their assigned shifts, only to find out that their restaurants had been shut down.

@alexushoydic So blind sided! #redlobster #bankrupsy #endlessshrimp ♬ what was I made for? - Instrumental - Wheeler

@crumbbucket_ Thank you to my love @heathermarieburkes for letting me use these videos of the aftermath <33 #fypシ #redlobster #relatable #foryou #silly #xyzbca #sillygoofy #nostalgia #nostalgic #closing #foryou #sad #bankrupt #viral #resturantindustry #resturant ♬ aquatic ambience (slowed + reverb) - Scizzie & sped up sounds & Slowed + Reverb Sounds & Aesthetic Instrumentals

@abandonedfl #redlobster ♬ Beautiful piano but scary atmosphere horror style - MoppySound

"I was never a super big fan of red lobster but I feel bad cause it's always been around," one viewer wrote sadly. "I hope they figure it out and come back."

"I was a store manager who was PROMISED we wouldn't close, they closed this morning with no warning," another lamented.

Last month, Bloomberg reported that the fast-casual chain was close to filing for Chapter 11 as the company looked to restructure its debt and relieve itself of unfavorable leases, citing anonymous sources close to the matter.

Though Red Lobster has gone through a series of acquisitions and owners, it is now owned by seafood supply company, Thai Union, which completed its purchase of the chain in 2020.

Related: Endless Shrimp Deal Is Too Popular, Red Lobster Loses $11M

Last November, Red Lobster rolled out an "Endless Shrimp" promotion that offered customers all the shrimp they could eat for just $20. However, the deal was so popular, it ended up costing the chain an estimated $11 million.

Red Lobster can be expected to file for Chapter 11 as early as next week, per the Wall Street Journal.

Emily Rella

Entrepreneur Staff

Senior News Writer

Emily Rella is a Senior News Writer at Entrepreneur.com. Previously, she was an editor at Verizon Media. Her coverage spans features, business, lifestyle, tech, entertainment, and lifestyle. She is a 2015 graduate of Boston College and a Ridgefield, CT native. Find her on Twitter at @EmilyKRella.

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