Red Lobster's McCain Boulevard location in North Little Rock. Rhett Brinkley

Four Arkansas Red Lobster locations could be facing closures following the company’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing last month.

The company said in May that it intends to use the bankruptcy proceeding to “drive operational improvements, simplify the business through a reduction in locations, and pursue a sale of substantially all of its assets as a going concern.” CNN reported last month that Red Lobster is more than $1 billion in debt with less than $30 million in cash on hand.

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Dozens of U.S. locations closed in May, but none of the company’s eight Arkansas stores made the initial list of those expected to close. But a report from CNN last week, citing court filings, listed several more branches in danger of shuttering if they don’t renegotiate their leases. Four Arkansas restaurants were on the new list, including the West Little Rock branch at 8407 W. Markham St. and Hot Springs’ Central Avenue location. Stores in Fayetteville and Fort Smith also made the list.

Other spots appear to be safe, for the time being. Fans of the North Little Rock store at 3707 McCain Blvd. — which at one time was the highest grossing restaurant in North Little Rock and Little Rock — will be relieved to know it was not on the list. The other three Arkansas locations not on the list are in Pine Bluff, Rogers and Jonesboro.

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Many factors are reported to have contributed to the chain’s downfall, including ownership changes, declining sales and the pandemic. But the headline grabber has been the company’s ill-advised 2023 decision to give its customers the opportunity to go buck wild on endless shrimp every day. Previously, Red Lobster offered all-you-can-eat shrimp just once a week.

The daily promotion ended up contributing to $11 million losses in the third quarter of 2023. “Going overboard” on endless shrimp prompted the company to raise the price of the promotion from $20 to $25 late last year, Restaurant Business reported. Now endless shrimp is available on Mondays only, according to Red Lobster’s website.

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Bill Darden opened the original Red Lobster in Lakeland, Florida, in 1968. It began expanding all over the country in 1970 and currently has more than 700 locations worldwide. Its Cheddar Bay Biscuits debuted in 1992.

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