Last Friday, Red Lobster opened its downtown headquarters in the CNL Building at 450 S. Orange Avenue [Gmap]. Over 300 local employees celebrated the opening of their new offices with a ribbon-cutting by Mayors Buddy Dyer and Theresa Jacobs.
Red Lobster is the largest seafood restaurant in the world, and the first restaurant or hospitality company to move its headquarters downtown. With their global reach, Red Lobster expects to bring 1,600 visitors from around the world to their downtown offices.
The offices on levels 8, 11 and 12 reflect the newly independent company’s homecoming and vision. Internally, the company calls their headquarters their “Restaurant Support Center” and centered around three main ideas for the design of their offices, “celebrate our people and our values, honor our past, create a visual and cultural identity.”
Employees played a large part in the design of the new offices. Conference rooms, like the “Maine Room” were named by current employees, and Joe Lee, Red Lobster’s first General Manager and later the CEO and Chairman for Darden, is honored with one of the largest conference rooms that overlooks Downtown Orlando.
The lobby of each floor uses maritime signal flags to convey different business messages about the company. On the 11th floor the message is “Come alongside to replenish,” and speaks to their commitment to high-quality seafood. Other orienting features include wood panels on the ceiling that reflect the bottom of the boat.
Technology played a large part in the design of the space. Each employee has access to a convertible standing desk, conference rooms are enabled with touch screen TVs, and a dedicated innovation space is appropriately called the “Think ‘Tank'”.
Red Lobster worked to keep work on their new headquarters in their Central Florida backyard. By hiring local contractors and sourcing equipment and furniture from North America, 50 new jobs (a combination of part- and full-time) .