What It's Like To Work At Red Lobster, According To Employees

Red Lobster is a popular name in the world of chain restaurants. From servers to managers to corporate employees, Red Lobster employs roughly 45,000 people, according to Forbes. The seafood chain even made the magazine's list of America's Best Large Employers list of 2021. But how do employees actually feel about working there?

The brand says it cares about its team members and that many stay with them longer than other companies. "We are proud that Red Lobster team members stay with the company more than twice as long as the industry average, and that stems from a people-first philosophy that we have never wavered on," reads a description on the Red Lobster career opportunities website.

Red Lobster has an average 3.7-star rating (out of five stars) on Indeed. "Work-life balance" and "culture" seem to be two things Red Lobster employees are happy about, if the Indeed reviews are any indication.

Red Lobster's Indeed reviews are fairly positive

One self-identified former server at Red Lobster wrote on Indeed that working at the seafood chain can be extremely "fast-paced," like other restaurant gigs, but that the job is also a lot of fun. Another person agreed with this sentiment but added that they'd like the management to improve. "They [managers] sit in the back and expect everything to be done their way even if there's a more simpler way to do it," they wrote. Still another staff member loved working for Red Lobster and said they were fond of their colleagues as well as their managers.

Meanwhile, another self-identified former Red Lobster server wrote on Glassdoor that opportunities to make money at the chain are plenty, as long as you're comfortable with the job and can multitask. 

And as with any food service job, teamwork plays a key role in ensuring that everything goes smoothly at Red Lobster. "Good experiences interlock between the guest experience with others in the work place as well as the server's own. If co-workers are lazy, irresponsible, or unresponsive to guest it can negatively impact the guest overall experience," one employee wrote in a Glassdoor review. This, of course, leads to less generous tips. 

Things can get out of hand on busy days at Red Lobster

A 2021 Reddit post on the "Malicious Compliance" subreddit included a detailed account from a person who said they worked at Red Lobster a few years ago as an "assembler" and had to organize the dishes before they were served to customers at the restaurant. On a particularly bad day at work, many customers had showed up for lunch which meant it was extra important to be as quick as possible. They wrote, "...[I] began putting empty plates up in the window with the 'shape' of each ticket that was to leave the kitchen, a technique I had learned to help survive bulls*** like this."

The manager wasn't too happy about this and told the employee that they're only supposed to "plate the food when the food is ready." This piece of advice basically led to disaster, as there was a huge delay in delivering orders because the assemblers had to wait for all the side dishes to be ready before plating them. One of the most popular comments in the post read, "As someone who both cooked and ran expo in a Red Lobster, I felt this post in my soul."

Celebrities' experiences working at Red Lobster haven't always been positive

Per the New York Post, many celebrities held gigs at Red Lobster before they became famous. And some of them didn't have good things to say about the restaurant. Comedian and actor Chris Rock worked as a dishwasher at Red Lobster in the late 1980s and admitted that he never even received a raise or a promotion. Speaking about his time at the eatery in his 2008 HBO special "Kill the Messenger," Rock said (via the New York Post), "They kept me in the back because I had really f***** up teeth and they didn't want people to think that shrimp f***** up your teeth."

And who can forget Nicki Minaj's stories about working at multiple Red Lobster locations in New York City? From chasing down a customer to get a pen back to giving a customer the middle finger, Minaj admitted to Jimmy Fallon on "The Tonight Show" in 2019 that she'd been fired from multiple Red Lobster jobs. "I have worked at a couple different Red Lobsters, and I've gotten fired from all three or four of them," Minaj said to Fallon.