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Will Red Lobster's Spanish Pitch Pay Off?

Red Lobster signage is displayed outside of a restaurant location in New York
Red Lobster signage is displayed outside of a restaurant location in New YorkPhotograph by Victor J. Blue/Bloomberg

Can Red Lobster say “langosta roja?” On Jan. 14, the seafood chain best known for endless shrimp and affordable surf and turf, will launch a $3 million Spanish language TV ad campaign. It’s the restaurant’s first sustained effort to reach Hispanic customers, with ads running on Telemundo, Univision, ESPN Deportes, and other Spanish language channels through March.

Red Lobster, which has about 700 stores, estimates that roughly 10 percent of its consumers are Hispanic, in line with the average in the casual dining industry. The group represents about 16 percent of the U.S. population, however, and is expected to grow to 30 percent of the population by 2050. Darden hopes to increase its business from Hispanic consumers in tandem with this trend.