With its homequarters in my hometown of Orlando, Red Lobster has become a popular household name when friends and family want a quite bite to eat.
I’m not a huge seafood fan myself, but if you’re wondering if there’s a Red Lobster in the UK or a Red Lobster in London, chances are that you are!
Hey, sidenote! If you’re traveling to the UK, whether for a short period of time or as an expat, why don’t you join my Facebook group where you can ask questions, get advice or just look at pretty pictures of this part of the world! Just click here to request to join and I’ll add you!
I can practically hear the sounds of Red Lobster commercials in the background now (everyone always looks SO excited to be chowing down on shrimp!), and as your friendly neighborhood guide to all of the American chains in (or not in) the UK, I think it’s my job to help you answer the question…
“Is there a Red Lobster in the UK or England or London?”
Sadly, that would be a negative. There is no Red Lobster in London, England, or the entire UK. The UK does have some seafood places (fish and chips, anyone?), and we’ll discuss alternatives to Red Lobster below as well.
Before we launch into the history of Red Lobster in the UK and figuring out why there’s not a Red Lobster in the UK, I wanted to let you know that I’ve put together some amazing resources for anyone either visiting the UK or moving there long term.
It takes everything you think you know about the UK and either explains it or shows you what you’re really getting yourself into (major small talk and frequent tea breaks, woo!)
If you’re coming here just for a visit, you’ll want to check out the article below on how to use the London Underground without looking like an idiot, as well as understanding the UK money system and the difference between coins.
For those of you who are expats in the UK, you’ll enjoy the article on culture shock or the one about my experiences learning how to drive in the UK as an American (spoiler alert: lots of yelling involved).
- Culture Shock: The Things We Don’t Talk About
- An American Girl’s Guide to Surviving the London Underground
- Understanding UK Money: Pence, Not Cents!
- Driving in England as an American: An Apology to UK Drivers
Anyway, here we go with more information on Red Lobster in the UK.
History of Red Lobster
Red Lobster first opened its doors in Lakeland, Florida in 1968.
The expansion took place within the southeastern United States first, and today Red Lobster has over 700 locations.
These locations aren’t just confined to the US, as they’ve also expanded into Canada and other international locations like the United Arab Emirates.
In order to appeal to more customers and revamp their image, Red Lobster underwent a major design change around 2013 that made its restaurants reflect a more New England style of architecture.
Today, Red Lobster definitely isn’t known for being a high class or fancy restaurant – it’s a casual American dining chain that serves up seafood – it’s not going to be freshly caught or the best of the best, but you know what you’re getting when you go into it.
Despite American’s love for Red Lobster and other chains like Olive Garden, Red Lobster has never come to the UK. There are a few Trip Advisor reviews made by Brits who have enjoyed Red Lobster while in America begging the franchise to make the trip across the pond, but so far no luck.
We’ll discuss more in the next section the alternatives to Red Lobster in the UK, but one of the main reasons I can see for the failure of the brand to move over to the UK is simply because the UK is an island where getting seafood is going to be much easier and fresher.
The UK isn’t huge on chain restaurants in the same way America is, either, so the seafood restaurants you are going to find are going to be individual restaurants with their own specialties.
Alternatives to Red Lobster in the UK
There are a lot of restaurants that I understand Americans craving when they’re in the UK. I get wanting Outback Steakhouse to come to the UK because you want a Bloomin Onion, I understand Chick Fil A lovers wanting Chick fil A in the UK for the amazing waffle fries, and I am totally on board with trying to convince Olive Garden to come to the UK for the breadsticks.
But in a country that’s famous for its fish and chips, there’s no real reason in my mind for Red Lobster to come over just yet!
Fish and Chips shops
If you’re craving seafood in the UK, you’re totally in luck. There’s going to be a fish and chips shop SOMEWHERE nearby, whether you’re in London or in Brighton or in the Midlands.
Fish and chips aren’t even just a national dish, they’re part of UK culture like drinking tea and complaining about things. The fish in “fish and chips” is typically cod or haddock, though there are sometimes other choices.
Trust me, you’ll forget all about Red Lobster as soon as you dig into a giant plant of amazing chunky french fries (chips) and some battered cod.
Loch Fyne Seafood & Grill
If you’re like, “yes, I hear you, but I still really want seafood in a chain restaurant in the UK,” then check out Loch Fyne Seafood & Grill.
They’ve got about 24 restaurants across the UK and specialize in fresh seafood served up in a more classy atmosphere than a Red Lobster.
If you’re looking to save money, they’ve got lots of set deals and various saver menus that can help you get your seafood fix for less.