Business

Beyoncé song sends fans in droves to Red Lobster

In this photo from Sunday, Beyoncé performs during halftime of the NFL Super Bowl 50 football game in Santa Clara, California. Red Lobster said in a statement that its sales surged after Beyoncé mentioned the chain in a “Formation” lyric. The seafood chain known for its cheddar biscuits says sales surged 33 percent on Sunday from a year ago.
In this photo from Sunday, Beyoncé performs during halftime of the NFL Super Bowl 50 football game in Santa Clara, California. Red Lobster said in a statement that its sales surged after Beyoncé mentioned the chain in a “Formation” lyric. The seafood chain known for its cheddar biscuits says sales surged 33 percent on Sunday from a year ago. AP PHOTO

Red Lobster’s mention in a racy new song by Super Bowl pop singer Beyoncé was enough to send people in droves to the Orlando-based seafood chain.

Red Lobster spokeswoman Erica Ettori said it resulted in a 33 percent increase in Sunday night business compared to Super Bowl Sunday 2015.

In a surprise to officials at the company, Beyoncé’s new song Formation mentioned the casual dining chain in the third verse of the song that mixes racial imagery, luxury fashion and marital jealousy from the reigning queen of pop music. “When he whoops me good I take his [expletive] to Red Lobster, cause I slay,” Beyoncé repeats in the “radio-friendly” version of the song.

The song was released Saturday on the streaming music service run by Beyoncé’s husband Sean “Jay-Z” Carter.

The song mention, even in a controversial release, was enough to put Red Lobster into the top trending categories on Twitter, Ettori said.

It was Beyoncé’s first new single in two years. The song was performed at the Super Bowl Sunday night and is was part of an announcement of a new tour and album from the pop singer.

Red Lobster Chief Executive Officer Kim Lopdrup said sales also increased “well into the double digits” on Monday.

“This has been a remarkable week — we never expected to be such a hot topic of conversation,” he said. “We were delighted to learn that Beyoncé and her fans loved Red Lobster so much.”

Lopdrup said he wasn’t aware of the Beyoncé song until Red Lobster began trending on Twitter, something he doesn’t recall happening before. The restaurant chain, acquired by Golden Gate Capital in 2014, had just started its annual Lobsterfest promotion on Feb. 1.

Red Lobster has been working to boost growth since it was sold by Darden Restaurants Inc., the owner of Olive Garden, because of slow sales and an aging customer base.

“Super Bowl Sunday is typically not a good day for us, so we were really delighted to see such strong results,” Lopdrup said.

The announcement of the song and a Tweet from Red Lobster Sunday has dozens of people criticizing the restaurant chain for a lack of creativity. Regardless, the chain is already trying to make the most of its moment. It tweeted that “ ‘Cheddar Bey Biscuits’ has a nice ring to it, don’t you think?” The chain is also noting that lobster is considered a romantic food.

Material from The Orlando Sentinel, Bloomberg and The Associated Press was used in this report.

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