Red Lobster plans fall through
February 19, 2013

CRANBERRY TWP — Plans for a new Red Lobster restaurant in the location of the Kings Restaurant in the Cranberry Mall on Route 19 have been sacked, according to township officials.

“We found out shortly after they received their final approval. The reason we were told by their project manager was that Red Lobster put on hold all of their expansion plans, as the Darden Group was responding to a significant drop in sales,” said Cranberry manager Jerry Andree.

The lease was already terminated for Kings Restaurant before Red Lobster proceeded to final approval, and has been closed for a couple weeks.

Cranberry officials believe the mall owners are currently entertaining new inquires for the property.

Andree explained Red Lobster’s pull out is not that usual of an occurrence. “We have had final plans approved and nothing ever happened with the project,” he said.

Andree said there is still a lot of interest by restaurants to come to the township.

Plans are moving through our process for an expansion of Cranberry Crossroads, called Cranberry Crossroads West, which includes space for a new restaurant.

A liquor license transfer has been submitted to the township for Anthony’s Coal Fire Pizza, which is currently under review.

Darden, in December, had gotten approval for a liquor license transfer and approval for land development plans earlier this year.

Mark Kozar, attorney representing GMR Restaurants of Pennsylvania, a subsidiary of Darden Restaurants, had told supervisors the proposed 5,880-square-foot restaurant would have seated 220 people and employed 104 part-time employees. The former plan was for King’s restaurant to be torn down and a Red Lobster to be built.

In December, Darden Restaurants Inc. had cut its profit forecast for the 2012, with the owner of Olive Garden and Red Lobster blaming failed promotions and negative publicity generated by its tests to limit health care costs for workers.

The company’s stock tumbled in the wake of the announcement.

The Associated Press contributed to this story