Friday, May 24, 2024

Forte, Red Lobster close

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OBSERVER Photo by John Whittaker
A sign notifying the public that Forte has closed its doors is pictured.

JAMESTOWN — Two area restaurants have closed their doors.

Forte announced on its Facebook page Friday night that the downtown restaurant is closed. The restaurant reopened under new management late last year after closing during the COVID-19 pandemic. New management renovated the Third Street restaurant space and reopened in December.

In a detailed statement posted Monday, Greg Albert, the restaurant’s general manager, thanked his staff for the work they’ve put into the restaurant over the past several months.

“With that being said, we have run out of money to continue viably operating the space,” Albert said. “… But truthfully, a lot of stars just didn’t quite line up, and moving forward just was no longer a productive option.”

On Monday, employees of the Red Lobster location in Lakewood began posting on social media that they had been told the restaurant was closed. The Red Lobster website lists the Fairmount Avenue, Lakewood, location as closed along with the restaurant’s locations in Erie and Buffalo.

The Red Lobster news isn’t surprising. In February, minority investor Thai Union Group announced its plans to exit Red Lobster’s ownership group after a $19 million loss for the first nine months of the 2023 fiscal year. Then, during a Feb. 14 conference call with investor analysts, Thai Union Group officials updated said Red Lobster generated $22 million in losses in 2023, with CNN reporting that Thiraphong Chansiri, CEO of Thai Union Group, said his conglomerate wasn’t expecting to net much from the sale of its Red Lobster ownership stake.

Bloomberg News reported in mid April that Red Lobster officials were considering a Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing. The company’s finances took a hit in 2023 with its Ultimate Endless Shrimp deal that ended up costing restaurants money rather than making money.



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