Red Lobster in Victoria will not close

Lovers of seafood need not worry.

Red Lobster in Victoria will not close its doors, despite news reports to the contrary.

"We're going to be around forever and ever," General Manager Scott Wylie said Friday.

Parent company, Darden, announced Dec. 19 it planned to "spin off" Red Lobster, but there's no guarantee the transaction will occur.

"For our guests and for our employees, really nothing will change. They (Red Lobster restaurants) will potentially be their own company, but that won't even happen until July 2014," said Hunter Robinson, Darden's communication manager.

Robinson noted that the restaurants will not become their own company in July 2014 but rather work out the logistics in order to do so.

The move will not require a shareholder vote, and this is something Darden executives have discussed for a while, Robinson said.

"They (Red Lobster) will have a new board of directors and a new management team," he said.

Red Lobster had annual sales of about $2.6 billion in fiscal year 2013.

There are 705 Red Lobster restaurants in the United States and Canada, according to a Darden news release.

In another news release, officials write Red Lobster's second quarter sales of $561 million were 4.9 percent lower than in 2012.

Officials write they've had more success with Darden's other brands, such as Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse, Bahama Breeze, Season 52, the Capital Grille, Eddie V's and Yardhouse, which operate differently than Red Lobster.

"They (Darden executives) have halted new restaurants for Olive Garden," but that does not mean its menu will be scaled back, Robinson said.

"They (Olive Garden) are always working on new recipes," he said.

Red Lobster opened in Victoria about 29 years ago, said Wylie, who transferred to the area about a year ago.

It employs about 70 people locally.