Red Lobster, impacted by coronavirus, leaves Mother's Day customers empty-handed

Customers in New York, Illinois, Pennsylvania described long wait times, no-show orders

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A handful of Red Lobster restaurants in parts of the country descended into chaos on Mother’s Day as eager customers arrived to pick up their orders and realized their meals weren’t ready and likely weren’t coming.

A Red Lobster spokesperson on Wednesday attributed the series of service mishaps to circumstances caused by the novel coronavirus pandemic.

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“We understand that we may have disappointed some of our guests on Mother’s Day when due to COVID-19 and changes to our operations and staffing, we were not able to keep up with the demand at some of our locations,” the spokesperson said in an emailed statement. “We apologize that some of our guests experienced long wait times, crowds, and in some cases, did not receive their orders at all.”

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Disgruntled diners in New York, Illinois and Pennsylvania expressed their frustrations on social media Sunday, describing long wait times and incomplete or no-show orders, followed by issues getting in touch with any customer service representatives for refunds.

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Long lines grew at a Red Lobster in Ross Township, Pennsylvania, near Pittsburgh, and ultimately the restaurant closed its doors for the night – leaving diners without the meals they’d been waiting for and reportedly telling them to request refunds online.

It was not immediately clear if diners would be reimbursed for their lost meals.

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