Red Lobster throws anchor in Plaza Las Américas
SAN JUAN – With a $2 million investment and the creation of 170 jobs, Colón Gerena Group will open Tuesday its first of three Red Lobster seafood restaurants in Puerto Rico on the first floor of Plaza Las Américas shopping center.
“There are plans to open three other restaurants, but we are still not at liberty to say where,” Jorge Colón Gerena, the group’s chief executive officer, told Caribbean Business, noting that the company hopes to solidify the concept before establishing more locations.
“After the hurricane, there have been many population changes, so we have to be careful about where the new population poles are,” he said at a press conference at which some menu details were revealed.
Colón Gerena highlighted that the Red Lobster chain is distinguished by the freshness of its dishes. The company reached an agreement with Cataño-based fishermen, Grupo Puerto Rico, to receive a minimum of 200 pounds a month from local fishing. Red Lobster will also use local distributer Seaworld. Among local seafood that will be available at Red Lobster are dorado, yellowtail and red snapper and Caribbean lobster.
Colón Gerena Group also provided fishermen such tools as refrigerators, nets and other necessary equipment, which had been lost after the hurricane.
“Today, more than ever, we want to reaffirm that we have faith in the country, in our workers and our ability to grow in the face of adversity,” Colón Gerena said.
The entrepreneur, whose business manages Puerto Rico’s Applebee’s, Famous Dave’s, LongHorn Steakhouse, Olive Garden, Sizzler and Wendy’s franchises, indicated that after the hurricane the company hired 1,154 new employees, and the group’s investment over the past five years has exceeded $20 million.
The new restaurant is the Red Lobster chain’s first in the Caribbean and features a new architectural design in which Puerto Rican professionals collaborated, and could be replicated in other markets. Also available will be the Capitán Room, a more intimate space for about 12 people.
The event was attended by several of the chain’s executives, including the CEO of Red Lobster Seafood Co., Kim Lopdrup, and its president, Salli Setta. Colón Gerena emphasized that the presence of the executives “is [a] strong demonstration of solidarity and confidence in the work we are doing in Puerto Rico. It shows that this prestigious franchise trusts in the professionalism of our employees, in our service and the quality of a first-order menu.”
You must be logged in to post a comment Login