Beyonce has given a whole lot of free advertising to Red Lobster, and the chain seems to be extremely grateful — even if the exposure is in the form of a decidedly off-color song. The seafood chain has experienced a huge sales bump over the past several days thanks to a raunchy lyric in Beyonce’s new song “Formation.” The line in the Beyonce song suggests going out for Red Lobster food as a reward after good sex. Because, you know, nothing goes better with post-coital bliss than crab linguini Alfredo.
According to CNN Money, a rep for Red Lobster revealed that the restaurant chain was mentioned more than 42,000 times on Twitter in just one hour after Beyonce’s Red Lobster lyric started trending, and sales at the chain were up a whopping 33 percent from this time last year the day after Beyonce’s song referencing Red Lobster dropped. Not only that, but Red Lobster was trending over the weekend for the first time ever. Not bad for a 50-year-old seafood chain.
Red Lobster CEO Kim Lopdrup said Beyonce definitely helped send some new customers to Red Lobster. Lopdrup even called the sales surge the “Beyonce Bounce.”
“We are absolutely delighted with what we saw over the weekend, particularly the consumer sentiment that we saw expressed. It’s clear that Beyonce has helped create some Red Lobster fans, and we are very grateful to her for that.”
And in honor of Beyonce’s Red Lobster shout-out, two menu items are now fondly being nicknamed after her. The Cheddar Bay Biscuits appetizer is now being dubbed Cheddar “Bey” Biscuits, while the chain’s Bay Breeze drinks are now spelled “Bey” Breezes. You see what they did there?
— Red Lobster (@redlobster) February 7, 2016
But while everyone seems to be happy now, the Red Lobster marketing department was criticized on social media for taking hours to respond to the Beyonce Red Lobster mention in “Formation.” Some Twitter users slammed the chain for dropping the ball when it came to capitalizing on the epic mention, because it took nearly eight hours for the Cheddar-Bey tweet to surface. Of course, the Darden marketers may have been gauging public reaction to the song, since the line that mentions Red Lobster is totally NSFW.
But no matter. Because while Red Lobster’s social media camp took their time coming up with a tweet, there were plenty of celebs who had a field day with the material from Beyonce’s song. Most notable was singer and Beyonce pal John Legend, who tweeted a hilarious photo of a confused looking President Obama and a caption about just now realizing that your dad took your mom to Red Lobster ever week when you were a kid.
When you realize your dad took your mom to red lobster every week pic.twitter.com/Re7PPLmbvI
— John Legend (@johnlegend) February 6, 2016
Of course, while the Red Lobster lyric is getting all the attention, Beyonce’s new song doesn’t stop at Red Lobster references. The politically-charged song addresses serious issues such as police brutality and black culture in the United States. In addition, Beyonce name drops several other brands besides Red Lobster. The “Formation” lyrics include shout-outs about a Givenchy dress, Cuervo tequila, and even Facebook.
“Formation” is Beyonce’s first new solo song in more than a year, so it likely would have received buzz if it had been about watching paint dry. Still, the timing of the song’s release didn’t hurt Beyonce or Red Lobster, either. Queen Bey’s song dropped the day before she performed at the Super Bowl 50 halftime show with Coldplay and Bruno Mars, giving it — and Red Lobster — plenty of pre-game exposure.
Take a look at Beyonce’s “Formation” video and that epic Red Lobster lyric. But be warned this is the uncensored version of the song.
[Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images]