Digital Transformation Improves Employee Satisfaction, Customer Service and Business Operations for Red Lobster

Red Lobster split from its former chain owner, Darden. This left their data vulnerable to disorganization. AAJ’s SharePoint and Integration teams worked closely together to customize an intranet portal that could be accessed by more than 65,000 Red Lobster employees. The portal included over 40 applications, enabling employees to track their payroll, update their information, and receive training on-demand. For the executives of the company, the portal was used to track all expenses, labor, sales and more.

Red Lobster is a casual dining restaurant chain with over 65,000 employees and more than 700 locations across the world. They’re best known for their savory, delicious and economical seafood.


  • SharePoint Online
  • Office 365 Video


  • Migration and deployment of all data
  • On-site support
  • Managed service contract
  • Mobile applications
  • Automated workflows


  • Improved customer service and overall operations through enhanced training of employees, from chefs and waiters to the executive team
  • Customized workflows saved time, increased efficiency
  • Optimized employee and manager engagement
  • Improved overall food quality

No Risk, No Reward
Even though it might be risky, a corporate split can be quite beneficial for all parties concerned. Separating from a parent company opens many doors of opportunity and allows the new entity to redefine itself and its offerings independent of prohibitive rules and structure.

In this data-driven world, however, maintaining business continuity through a corporate split can be challenging, if not impossible. Corporate data that was once freely accessible by employees, such as training materials, trade secrets and policy documents, is suddenly out of reach. The resulting knowledge gaps leave the new company scrambling to catch up.

When a company such as a chain restaurant has multiple dispersed locations, providing the necessary materials to all employees becomes a significant challenge, especially since the employees are not sitting at a desk with a computer in front of them. The lack of access to data could potentially doom the new entity before it even has a chance.

Starting from Zero
Red Lobster’s split from Darden Restaurants left their data isolated and restricted from general access. In particular, all of Red Lobster’s training data was located in Darden’s on-premise SharePoint intranet portal that could only be accessed by executives in the company through one device and location. The restaurant chain lacked an effective way to train their employees, causing a major inefficiency for this multi-billion-dollar company. They needed to accommodate over 65,000 employees with a video training portal, and a centralized location for training documents specific to each type of employee.

Building a Better Platform
AAJ’s leading SharePoint experts initiated Red Lobster’s digital transformation by migrating training documents and other vital information, including sales documents, payroll statements, etc. from SharePoint On-Premise to a customized SharePoint Online Office 365 portal. This new portal was accessible to all employees and customized to every type of employee: executive, chef, server, manager, director or sales rep.

Previously, Red Lobster had to rely on word-of-mouth and outdated training documents
to keep all of their employees on track and up-to-speed. With the new portal, restaurant
employees can now access training videos on demand, from any device, at any location, at any given time. Chefs have access to step-by-step recipe videos. Bartenders can find drink recipes while they work. Servers are able to look up menu items to give better descriptions to patrons. All of the training is accessible as either written documents or videos as desired with just a few clicks. Additionally, managers have the ability to review portal usage and other metrics to increase operational efficiency.

This digital solution is also ideal for employees in Red Lobster’s corporate office who deal with reporting, as it provides the ability to generate, store and retrieve reports from one centralized location. Corporate employees can also save backups of critical data to their own cloud drives for increased business continuity. And an automated workflow allows reports to be updated on demand and in real time.

AAJ’s SharePoint team also worked closely with internal resources to provide over 40 applications for the portal beyond training capabilities. General Managers at local stores have an app on their portal page where they can place orders to their designated vendors rather than contacting them over the phone. Restaurant employees and managers have access to an app that allows them to clock in and out; and keep track of their payroll without the hassle of phone calls and paper trails. The portal even has a private craigslist-type page for employees to buy and sell personal items that creates a local community.

Employee Empowerment Results in Satisfied Customers
Since Red Lobster used Office 365 as the basis of their portal, they avoided any potential
upfront server and licensing costs. Employees can access their payroll through the portal,
while executives can keep up with KPIs and ROIs.

The digital transformation improved overall employee performance across the organization because it provided them with everything they needed to do their jobs more efficiently and effectively. The training component singlehandedly saved Red Lobster hours upon hours of labor, from the simple fact that they no longer had to train employees live. Instead, they could just direct them to the portal. Since chefs were able to access their recipes from their mobile devices, the overall quality of food also improved.

Red Lobster’s digital transformation helped increase customer and employee satisfaction. Because the new portal contained automated components that allowed employees to track their performance, payroll and hours, the number of inquiries drastically decreased and the overall productivity across all locations, including corporate, increased.

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