This past March, I tracked down Edna Morris, former president of Darden Restaurants, the parent company of Red Lobster. She was gracious enough to agree to an interview, discussing her time in the restaurant. What follows is the story of the time Red Lobster’s Endless Crab promotion went awry.
Edna Morris is a managing partner in a private equity firm with former NFL star Muhsin Muhammad. Edna Morris has flown in a helicopter over Ecuador while she was investigating shrimp farms. Edna Morris has served as president of the largest seafood restaurant chain in America. Edna Morris owns a pair of upscale casual steakhouses in South Carolina. She talks a mile a minute, with a southern accent, and when she really wants to make a point, she will address you by name: “I will tell you Jordan, I think Darden is just about the best company out there.”
All these things about Edna Morris are true. But if you have heard of her at all, it is likely for a different reason. In 2003, Edna Morris left her position as President of Red Lobster shortly after the company ran an Endless Crab promotion that resulted in major losses for the company. The media narrative was clear: Red Lobster’s President Edna Morris oversaw the disastrous crabfest, and was promptly fired for it. But it wasn’t quite accurate.