It's been an interesting ride for Red Lobster the past couple of weeks.
Starting off with Beyonce's new song "Formation" in which she name drops the seafood chain with the memorable line of “When he f**k me good, I take his ass to Red Lobster.”
You can watch the full music video below. The Red Lobster namedrop comes in around the 3-minute mark.
When Queen B speaks, her queendom listens. Sales at Red Lobster jumped 33% year-over-year on Super Bowl Sunday, according to US Today. The chain also saw it's name appear in more than 300,000 tweets over the "Formation"-release weekend. That's definitely good for business.
Of course, Red Lobster dropped the ball when it came to capitalizing on the free publicity with a relatively uninspiring tweet.
And, according to US Today, some employees have started referring to one of their drinks as "Bey Breeze."
Meh. Possibly the most white bread response you could muster up. Still, Red Lobster's tweets didn't diminish the power of Beyonce's endorsement.
Is there lobster in this lobster bisque?
So while it's good to know that Beyonce will take your behind to Red Lobster for a post-coitus meal, a new question arises: If you order the lobster, will you get lobster meat?
Spoiler: Maaaaaaybe not.
Inside Edition sampled "lobster meat" from 28 local and chain restaurants in New York for their little experiment. Instead of good-ol' fashion lobster, 35% of restaurants were using cheap substitutes such as "a frozen mixture," whiting and langostino, a crustacean more closely related to a hermit crab than lobster.
Restaurants using langostino instead of lobster is nothing new. Rubio’s Fresh Mexican Grill was slapped with a class-action lawsuit in 2005 for using only langostino in its Lobster Burrito and failing to mention it on their menu. The case was settled out of court.
Inside Edition made sure to point out that not all restaurants were using whiting and lobster-wannabes. The Soupman -- yep, the guy from Sienfeld -- was found using all lobster meat in his lobster bisque.
Good on you Soupman.
So, what are the take aways for other bars and restaurants? A few:
- Getting Beyonce to name drop you is good for business. We're not sure how to arrange this, so we guess pray to your deity of choice. Or be ready to drop a boatload of cash on an endorsement deal.
- Try to be witty or clever when newsjacking a social media trend. Like Oreo during the Super Bowl a few years back. This is your chance to shine; don't crash & burn.
- Make sure you're not misleading your customers on your menu. Nothing people hate more than feeling duped or taken advantage of. And, according to Seafood Source, replacing lobster with langostino and not mentioning it on your menu is against the law. You don't want to get hit with a lawsuit like Rubio's, so if you're cutting corners, be upfront about it. If you're lobster bisque contains langostino, call it langostino lobster bisque.
So what are your thoughts on all the Red Lobster news? Do you use lobster-wannabe meats in your dishes? If so, are you letting your customers know?
Leave your thoughts in the comment section below.
EDIT [ 2/16/16]: As a bonus, here's SNL's latest skit -- "The Day Beyonce Turned Black"