All You Can Eat Shrimp Gave Red Lobster Indigestion

May 27, 2024
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One of the factors leading to Red Lobster declaring Chapter 11 was the expense of their “all you can eat shrimp” offers.

Aside from the increased cost of shrimp, the idea of allowing a pre-gastric bypass crowd the opportunity to fill up on expensive, often imported, shrimp may have also resulted in lower revenues for higher margin dishes and desserts.

The inability to anticipate revenues and control expenses are sins that have overcome many companies.  They are also faults that impact dental practices.

Overhead increases, unless compensated by increased revenue, results in diminished profitability contributing to owner frustration and overall decreased morale.  It’s a downward spiral that once entered is difficult to overcome.  Hence, prevention, something most dental practices preach to their patients, is the key.  

Time to Walk the Walk you Talk; FISCAL PREVENTION.

How can a dental practice protect itself from succumbing to Red Lobster, Cracker Barrel and Walmart Health’s fate?

There are 7 areas where change can result in increased profitability.  Here are some strategies to consider in each of these areas.


1. Optimize Operational Efficiency:
a. Streamline Processes: Implement efficient scheduling, reduce patient cancellations and no-shows, and optimize staff workflows.
b. Leverage Technology: Use dental practice management software and AI to automate billing, reminders, and patient records.
c. Inventory Management: Regularly review and optimize inventory to avoid overstocking and wastage.
2. Reduce Overhead:
a. Negotiate with Vendors: Seek better rates from suppliers and labs or switch to more cost-effective alternatives.
b. Energy and Utility Efficiency: Implement energy-saving measures to reduce utility costs and seek to reduce phone, internet and cable costs.
c. Outsource Non-Core Functions: Consider outsourcing tasks like payroll, marketing, and IT support to reduce in-house costs.
3. Enhance Revenue Streams:
a. Expand Services: Offer additional services such as cosmetic dentistry, orthodontics, TMJ, or wellness programs.
b. Fee-for-Service: Increase the percentage of fee-for-service patients and non-insurance-covered services by marketing directly to those willing to pay out-of-pocket.
c. Membership Plans: Offer in-house membership plans for patients without insurance, providing them with discounted services for an annual fee.
4. Insurance Strategy:
a. Review Participation: Regularly review and renegotiate contracts with insurance companies or consider dropping those that are less profitable.
b. Maximize Reimbursements: Train staff to accurately code procedures and submit claims to ensure maximum reimbursement.
c. Diversify Insurance Carriers: Avoid reliance on a singleemployer or insurance company by diversifying the insurance carriers and employers you work with.
5. Financial Management:
a. Budgeting: Create and stick to a detailed budget that accounts for both fixed and variable expenses.
b. Financial Planning: Work with a financial advisor to develop a long-term financial strategy, including savings and investment plans.
c. Debt Management: Manage and reduce debt to improve cash flow.
6. Marketing and Patient Retention:
a. Patient Experience: Enhance patient experience to increase retention and referrals. Happy patients are more likely to stay and refer others.
b. Digital Marketing: Use digital marketing strategies such as social media, email campaigns, and search engine optimization (SEO) to attract new patients.
c. Community Engagement: Participate in community events and partnerships
to raise the practice’s profile.
7. Continuing Education and Staff Development:
a. Staff Training: Invest in regular training for staff to improve efficiency and patient care.
b. Professional Development: Stay updated with the latest advancements in dental technology and practices to offer the best services.
c. Create a bonus-incentive plan that rewards the team for reaching profitability-based, rather than pure revenue-based goals.

While focusing on these areas, dental practices can better manage increasing overhead and reduced insurance reimbursements, ensuring financial stability and growth, the single best opportunity for a practice to make more from what they already have is to comprehensively diagnose and increase treatment acceptance.

The Liberated Practice Program is designed to help the entire team worksmarter and not harder.  The latest episodes of its monthly Coffee WithThe Coach webinars are geared towards improving treatment acceptance.  Others are aimed at helping avoid indigestion and the real risks involved with practicing in today’s economic environment.

Join The Liberated Practice Program for yourself, for your team and for your patients, who deserve the best possible care while avoiding having to find a new place to get it.

Secure your future, join The Liberated Practice Program Now.  Sign up for the next Coffee With The Coach Webinar.

Towards a brighter, secure future,


P.S.  If you’re interested in More, Better Patients, when you register for the June Coffee With The Coach webinar, you’ll receive a recording of the most powerful system ever devised to attract an endless stream of the best patients who will say ‘YES to your best care.

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Dr. Michael Goldberg is one of the leading educators on dental practice management in the United States.

Michael ran and sold a prestigious group practice in Manhattan and has been on Faculty at Columbia University and New York-Presbyterian Medical Center for 30 years including Director of the GPR program and Director of the course on Practice Management.

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