With an investment of $2 million and the creation of 170 jobs, the first Red Lobster restaurant in Puerto Rico will open for business today at the Plaza Las Américas mall in Hato Rey, company officials announced.
The 8,600 square-foot Red Lobster joins the Grupo Colón-Gerena of restaurant franchises, including Applebee’s, Famous Dave’s, LongHorn, Olive Garden, Sizzler and Wendy’s. The new eatery has a capacity for 230 diners, Grupo Colón-Gerena CEO Jorge Colón-Gerena said.
The restaurant’s menu will consist of more than 100 dishes, featuring a variety of seafood that includes yellowtail snapper, mahi mahi and red snapper, and products such as fried plantains, steaks and sauces created for the Puerto Rican palate. The recipes for many of the dishes are unique and offer traditional flavors from different regions.
In line with its customary support of local products, the company reached an agreement with Grupo Puerto Rico, a fishing group in Cataño, to buy a minimum of 200 pounds a month of their catch, as well as an agreement with Seaworld, a company dedicated to distributing local seafood.
Grupo Puerto Rico also received tools such as a refrigerator for handling fish, nets and other equipment for the participating fishermen, to assist them in strengthening their operations and daily work, affected by the impact of Hurricanes Irma and María.
“Today more than ever we want to reaffirm that we have faith in the island, and we believe in our employees in Puerto Rico and in our ability to grow in adversity,” said Colón-Gerena.
Red Lobster is already a familiar brand for Puerto Rico consumers, who travel stateside, where more than 700 locations are doing business. The Puerto Rico restaurant is the first in the Caribbean and features a new architectural design with a modern and cozy decoration designed by local architects and that could be replicated in other markets, company officials said.