POCATELLO, Idaho (KIFI)- Close to 50 Red Lobster employees in Pocatello were shocked to learn that they no longer have a job.
The seafood restaurant abruptly closed its doors forever Saturday morning.
The popular local eatery has been in business for more than 27 years in their location next to the Pine Ridge Mall.
Customers going to the restaurant Saturday found locked doors and a note on the door left by the restaurant's management.
It said that the COVID-19 pandemic has created "the most challenging time" in the 53-year history of the Florida-based restaurant chain. The pandemic and "consequent government actions" have "significantly impacted" Red Lobster restaurants nationwide including the one in Chubbuck.
The note continues by saying, “After more than 27 years of being part of the Pocatello community, we have made the incredibly difficult decision to close our restaurant at 4105 Yellowstone Highway. "We understand the impact this situation has on our guests as well as our employees' ability to work. These decisions have not been taken lightly, but they are necessary for our business in these unprecedented times."
Former restaurant employees told Local News 8 that they have stayed fairly busy throughout the last several months and recently the business has been packed with customers.
Employees were also told that the building's new owner was raising the rent and despite the national company being willing to negotiate, an agreement was not reached.
The Red Lobster chain has three other locations in the state in Boise, Coeur d’Alene and Lewiston, those locations will remain open.