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'Endless Crab' could have bankrupted Red Lobster

In 2003, Red Lobster learned a hard lesson: When you offer "Endless Crab" for dinner, you'd better be ready to serve endless crab. In a story on the ups and downs of the seafood chain, BuzzFeed documents one of Red Lobster's biggest mistakes: a 2003 "Endless Crab" special that was taken too literally by diners.

Red Lobster's tactical error was underestimating just how many times customers would request another crab plate during a single visit. "It wasn't the second helping [of crab], it was the third that hurt,” said Joe Lee, CEO of parent company Darden Restaurants, on a call with investors. "And the fourth," said Red Lobster president Dick Rivera.

Eventually, then-president Edna Morris stepped down, Red Lobster discontinued the offer, and now-CEO Kim Lopdrup managed to pull the company out of its financial tailspin. And hungry Red Lobster customers can still eat way, way too much crab — they'll just need to buy a bunch of platters.