The truth about Red Lobster's Endless Shrimp

Just like the great Bubba Gump said in Forrest Gump (via YouTube), "Shrimp is the fruit of the sea. You can barbecue it, boil it, broil it, bake it, saute it." Red Lobster may not offer up every kind of shrimp dish there is, but what they might lack in variety they make up for in quantity with their annual Endless Shrimp celebration. The shrimp fest has become incredibly popular with seafood fans and offers up two varieties at a time of as much shrimp as you can eat for less than 20 bucks (via Delish). 

With such specialties as Crispy Sriracha Honey Shrimp in addition to the standard grilled, boiled, and popcorn variety, it's pretty hard not to be tempted by this shrimp bonanza. Toss in an unlimited supply of Cheddar Bay Biscuits, ordering endless shrimp from the Red Lobster menu seems like a no-brainer. So is there a catch?

Endless Shrimp was born out of a colossal failure

Red Lobster's Endless Shrimp is actually a spinoff of a much less profitable promotion the company tried in the early 2000s — Endless Crab. Testing the public's ability to eat endless crab cost Red Lobster millions and resulted in its then-president getting the boot after a $405.9 million loss in stock value (via New York Post). Shrimp are a lot cheaper than crab though, hence the switch. Endless Shrimp made its debut a year after the crab experiment ended and proved to be much more profitable for the seafood giant (via Business Insider). 

Here's the thing with getting your money's worth when it comes to Endless Shrimp, though — it's going to take some serious willpower. Remember those Cheddar Bay Biscuits? You would be wise to avoid touching those. They're free, you can make them at home, and they'll just fill you up (via The Takeout). The quicker a person fills up on carbs or the array of sugary drinks and sides that Red Lobster offers, the less shrimp they'll eat from Red Lobster's shrimp profits. 

Is the shrimp smorgasbord really endless?

Now for the question on everyone's minds — is this festival of bottomless shrimp really endless, or will management eventually step in? Well, according to one longtime employee on Reddit, yes, you can pretty much eat until you have to be wheelbarrowed out of the restaurant if that's your goal. When asked if it really was endless, the Red Lobster employee said: "If you mean that if you were to come in at open and eat til close, yes." 

Two employees at Business Insider put their own shrimp eating capabilities to the test and devoured 350 shrimp before tossing in the towel. Two get your Endless Shrimp money's worth, the Red Lobster employee said a person would have to eat "2-4 (times) beyond the initial meal." So whether it's wiser to spend your money on the endless shrimp special or a regular meal really boils down to one's own stamina with this seafood marathon.