Watch out American restaurant chains, people are done with bad food. Or at least that's what the plummeting sales at restaurants like Red Lobster and Oliver Garden seem to indicate. No matter what changes these corporate restaurants make, people are taking their money, and taste buds, elsewhere.
Why? People are apparently opting for food that is of higher (or at least perceived to be higher) quality and still affordable. In other words, the Chipotles of the market. For example, despite adding "small plates" to the menu (they're smaller, they must be healthier!) and trying for a more modern atmosphere instead of that Old World, not-quite-Italian, thing the restaurant used to push, Olive Garden still experienced a 4 percent drop in sales last year.
Things don't look any better at Red Lobster. The chain has been trying to breakout of the seafood box - while the salad might seem a smart option, it's known to be tainted; cyclospora, yum! - but sales are down 5.2 percent. Which raises the question: is their melted butter even real?
Are people really opting for healthier food or just trying to avoid a night of nausea? Is it just the death knell of the all-you-can-eat salad bar?
Maybe, just maybe, more people are realizing that the processed food that chains like this serve simply isn't good, no matter how much of it the waitress stacks up on your platter.
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