Endless Shrimp at Red Lobster


What a total scam this thing is!

I told the teen we could go to Red Lobster for the Endless Shrimp special, as he LOVES shrimp and everyone has to splurge sometime and he's a GOOD kid. He deserves to eat endless shrimp. So he didn't eat all morning and we headed over there about 4pm, ready to experience something as wonderful as Disneyland-plates and plates of little shrimp, all curled up, still in their natural state, just without their skin...or their ability to breathe, swimming in a garlic butter sauce of some sort.

It started out really well. He selected two of the five choices, received his 20 shrimp and then we waited five minutes for the waitress to come back and ask what type he wanted for his next serving. This is where it started going downhill.

We were under the impression that we could get two new plates at a time. We talked about it with Lizzie the Waitress when we were getting ready to order. She told us that we can pick two to start and then the next two can be different choices. So then when Lizzie comes back, the kid orders two more. Lizzie leaves, he's happy, we're chit-chatting, life is grand.

Until Lizzie returns to say that she can only enter one order at a time, which would we prefer.

Hmm...are you sure Lizzie? Right, go check with someone.

Five more minutes goes by....the kid has now started eating my soup while he waits.
Lizzie returns to say, yeah, it has to be one plate at a time.

Really Lizzie? Can you order them back to back for us then? Okay great, thanks.
TEN minutes later (now it's been 15 minutes since he finished his first plate), the next plate of TEN shrimp arrive.
Ten shrimp will last a 14-yr old teenager who loves shrimp approximately 96 seconds.

And then.....we must wait ten more minutes for Lizzie.

sigh.
Really Lizzie....is this a joke??

My actual words to her were "I don't think this endless shrimp is going to work out for us." As if I was breaking up with her....it's not me, it's you, Lizzie.

After explaining to her that at the rate we are going it will take approximately 3.5 hrs for him to fill up with shrimp, I told her that yes, I would like her to go talk to her manager. She returned to explain that the endless shrimp is set up that way and that she can special order two dishes at a time for us if I'd like. I again explained the 96 second rule and that if we had two, it would still be approximately 5 minutes to eat 20 shrimp and THEN we have to wait until she has a chance to come back to us and THEN we have to wait for our order to go through the kitchen and THEN wait for it to be brought to our table. So now the deal on the table is 2 plates of shrimp every 15-20 minutes.

This Endless Shrimp thing would be great under the following circumstances:
A) You like to have a series of 15 minute breaks in the middle of your meal.
B) You don't like shrimp much and can only eat it in small quantities.
C) You have nothing at all to do all day and you're interested in grazing on your meal, not eating it.
D) You are not really hungry and have money to waste.

We are none of the above, and as such, asked to speak to her manager (to which the kid said I was the angry mother yelling at the principal).

Our ever-so-friendly manager John came to the table and said his name two times in 1 minute and then asked me what was wrong, as if Lizzie hadn't spoken to him five minutes earlier....

I repeated the whole thing and let him know that I am not interested in paying for the cost of Endless Shrimp if it means I have to wait 15 minutes between plates. John listened intently and sympathetically and offered me NOTHING to make me happy so I continued to talk and ended with, I will pay for what he's eaten and we will just go.
John's response was to say his name again and go get our bill and then say his name again and thank us for coming.

Where is the managerial response of "let me make it up to you" or "how can i fix this to make your visit a success" or "let me comp your meal for you, sorry about the misunderstanding."??? John said NOTHING like that.

He actually charged us for every single bite my son ingested..which came out to $2 off the price of Endless Shrimp. Wonderful. Great lesson in how to be an incompetent manager.

Just another lesson in how I have expectations of people that are not unrealistic, yet are not fulfilled.

I EXPECT that the manager will not let a customer leave a restaurant feeling as if they never want to come back to this place.
I EXPECT that if someone tells me something that turns out to be wrong and we all find out later-that she will try hard to make sure that person is happy. Right, Lizzie??? Why didn't you come back every 2 minutes and take another order of 10 shrimp??
I EXPECT that an advertisement that says something is endless will be made non-stop in the kitchen so that when an order is placed, it is ready nearly immediately....the Olive Garden does it with pasta-on the endless pasta days, you never have an empty pasta bowl. It's not a hard concept.


sigh....I hate Red Lobster. Add them to the list of places we are boycotting.

8 comments:

  1. Anonymous said...:

    seriously? it's red lobster...not ryans or some other all-you-can-eat buffet. i completely understand not wanting to wait 15 minutes between EVERY order, but that's the way it works. the kitchen must have time to cook your order...it's not like they keep a huge vat of shrimp scampi prepared in the back. the same applies for endless pasta at olive garden, or endless fajitas at chili's. if you plan on gorging, you have to allow a LOT of extra time. i know i just came across as being completely rude, and i apologize. i have a husband and several friends who worked at red lobster, and they always DESPISED endless shrimp because people would come in, run them ragged, camp their table for hours, then tip nothing. just food for thought. perhaps lizzie (that was her name, correct?) didn't do a great job of explaining the system to you beforehand, but it seems to me like she did everything in her power to fix it. she gets paid $2 an hour, and has no control over red lobster corporate's rules. kk...i'm done. hahaha. again, i don't say any of this to be rude, i just want you to try to see things from the perspective of the server, who's caught between corporate policy and an angry customer.

  1. Anonymous said...:

    First of all, great write-up! This is *exactly* how it went down for me and my family this last saturday, and my waitress sounds almost identical... My experience was completely different though based on my perception going in. See I know all about their whole corporate setup and process for this "so-called" endless shrimp operation.

    We arrived just after noon. Placed our order immediately. My wife had blackened tilapia, and I had shrimp pasta and cajun shrimp to start. (I didn't eat all morning to prepare, so I was just as hungry as your son!). I devoured my salad, then my plate, but purposely avoided the rolls they serve to try to fill you up. I told her I wanted two scampi's next and she said one at a time please, so I just said one scampi now, and one right after. luckily i only waited about 5-6 minutes between them, and after the second one came, and ordered a third, after the third I ordered pasta for desert, and finished with 60 shrimp, however when we left it was after two oclock! Time flies when your having fun, but my bill was only 25 bucks, (and I tipped good cause the staff only makes 2 bucks an hour!)

  1. Anonymous said...:

    Ok, so first off your whole blog just showed that you have never been a server, or probably even worked in a restaurant for that matter. Things take time to cook. You have to wait... it's free for christ's sake, what else do you want? And really, "comp the meal?" Bullshit. See, now you probably left Lizzie a crappy tip for something that wasn't even her fault. She sounded like she tried to make things better for you. You are not her only customer, most servers have any where between 3-6 tables which would make it virtually impossible for her to be at your beckon call every 2 minutes. The bottom line is this promotion has to SUCK for the servers. You think they want you sitting there for 3 hours??? No, they work off tips. The faster they can turn a table the more money they get.

    You should have walked in expecting to wait, any all-you-can-eat meal takes a long time unless it's a buffet and everything is left boiling under the heat lamps. Try talking to your kid, engaging in a nice conversation. Americans are in such a rush, eating should take time.
    Plus eating 100 shrimp cooked in scampi butter sounds like it could clog some major arteries, and I could only imagine how many calories are in all that...

  1. Anonymous said...:

    Lizzie, you lying bitch. Can you believe the nerve of these servers?! Lying about how many plates she can order. Oh wait. There's really not a reason to lie about something like that, huh? Guess what, it's the truth. You can only put one replacement order in at a time for endless shrimp. You think Lizzie goes back and cooks them for you? No, because she has two other tables to wait on. And if THEY both ordered endless shrimp too, then I'm sorry Lizzie. It's not her fault that it takes time to cook. I'm sure when you cook at home for precious teen, mommy just snaps her fingers and his endless shrimp appears on the table. The servers at red lobster do everything they can to take care of you, but they can't do magic.

  1. Anonymous said...:

    I also enjoy the endless shrimp promotion at Red Lobster. A friend and I anxiously wait for this each year, we starve ourselves the morning off and wear "stretchy" pants for comfort. The first time we took advantage of the endless shrimp our experience was very similar. Order the first two, wait, then order one plate at a time. After we had our fill it was nearly four hours later. Luckily we planned for this, but it seems the length between re-orders was allowing us to digest what we already ate (that is a myth). So my friend and I devised a plan for the next time, as soon as our waitress brought the first plate, we put in our order for the next, and then so on and so on. Using this method reduced waiting time and also knowing we would be waiting between orders, we paced ourselves. I lost count after the 6th plate, with the combination of the rolls, drinks, and shrimp we were definately grateful for our stretchy pants and left a very generous tip. Can't think of a better way to spend four hours on a thursday evening.

  1. Anonymous said...:

    Endless sucks gluttonous pig

  1. Anonymous said...:

    Your server has a hard job they get treated poorly like a slave day in and out they make next to nothing 2-3$ an hour depending on the state and they have to smile and put on a brave face when people get mad about how long service takes when its busier in a restaurant the kitchens get backed up and the server gets in trouble cause you complain that person is human and might be a single mom as most waitresses are and heck now you got her fired these are people's jibs who work very stressful jobs,hours holidays and weekend to get at least a 15% tip if the server is rude maybe say something but if its a big special like all you can get at a nice restaurant chances are you'll have to wait if your son mom or daughter had that job how would you want people to treat them? You don't know if Lizzie s mom just died or anything else be good to these people

  1. Anonymous said...:

    No, this must be the way it supposed to go down...the same exact blow-by-blow happened to us in Las Cruces, NM. We call it the "Endless Shrimp Scam". In our case, two of the four of us tried the "endless shrimp" but were also only allowed one new plate. So between us, we had to share ten shrimp. We then had to wait 15 minutes (timed!) for another order to be placed. After an hour, we still only had the one "endless shrimp" order. After receiving the second order, it was an hour and ten minutes. We debated ordering another one, but realized it would be over an hour and 30 minutes and our other family member would have been sitting watching us eat for over an hour. It's a scam, and it is scripted that way.

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