Where Does Red Lobster Source Its Seafood From?

Whether it's items like Atlantic salmon, snow crab legs, fried flounder, or, of course, lobster, the bounty of seafood available at Red Lobster seems as endless as its shrimp. But just where in the world is it all caught or harvested? The answer hasn't always been transparent. When a MIC reporter investigated the source in 2016, phoning the Red Lobster in Times Square, they were told by a restaurant manager that the seafood sources are "kind of confidential" but that the food comes from "all over the world."

As of late 2021, the last time Red Lobster's "Seafood With Standards" page was updated, the answer seems to be a bit clearer. The restaurant's seafood is indeed gathered from "all over the world." For example, its shrimp come from areas in South America and Asia including waters off Ecuador, India, and China. But in general, the source of your meal depends on the type of seafood it contains.

See where your seafood comes from

Let's say someone decides to dine at Red Lobster simply because of the restaurant's name and will indeed be ordering a lobster. Where that crustacean is sourced is determined by the type of lobster it is. Maine lobster can be found, of course, in the waters of Maine, while Norway lobster comes from parts of the North Atlantic and North Sea. Rock lobster – served as part of the Caribbean rock lobster and shrimp dish – comes from the waters near Brazil and in the Caribbean Sea, while langostino – an ingredient in the creamy lobster baked potato – can be found in the Pacific near Chile.

Red Lobster serves snow crabs from the Bering Sea near Alaska – Today claims you can see some of such snow crabs being caught on the Discovery Channel's show "Deadliest Catch" – and the North Atlantic Gulf off Canada. Finally, the salmon farmed from Chile, rainbow trout from Columbia, and cod and flounder from the Bering Sea.

But does your seafood arrive at Red Lobster locations fresh? The answer: sometimes, and it depends. Red Lobster's FAQ page says that when the restaurant is able to, it sources fresh seafood. But in other cases, to ensure quality, it is frozen right on the fishing boats or as soon as it reaches the dock before being shipped to restaurants.