RSS feeds allow Web site content to be gathered via feed reader software. Click the subscribe link to obtain the feed URL for this page. The feed will update when new content appears on this page.

Darden Restaurants, Inc.

Darden Restaurants, Inc.
Orlando-based Darden Restaurants is considered the world's largest casual dining restaurant company in terms of market share and annual sales. Restaurant entrepreneur Bill Darden, who opened the first Red Lobster restaurant in Lakeland in 1968, founded the company. Darden is considered one of the pioneers in the development of full-service chain restaurants in the United States.

Since its founding, it has grown to operate more than 1,700 restaurants in North America with about 170,000 employees. Darden was a subsidiary of General Mills from 1970 until 1995, when it was spun off as a separately held publicly traded company. The company's headquarters was moved to Orlando when it beca...
Show more »
Orlando-based Darden Restaurants is considered the world's largest casual dining restaurant company in terms of market share and annual sales. Restaurant entrepreneur Bill Darden, who opened the first Red Lobster restaurant in Lakeland in 1968, founded the company. Darden is considered one of the pioneers in the development of full-service chain restaurants in the United States.

Since its founding, it has grown to operate more than 1,700 restaurants in North America with about 170,000 employees. Darden was a subsidiary of General Mills from 1970 until 1995, when it was spun off as a separately held publicly traded company. The company's headquarters was moved to Orlando when it became a division of General Mills.

Darden is most closely associated with its two largest restaurant brands: Red Lobster and Olive Garden. Both of those chains now have more than 600 locations. The company's attempt to diversify its restaurant holdings has had mixed results. In 1995, Darden shut down an internally developed Chinese restaurant chain called China Coast. Since its spin-off, Darden has also created a barbecue and sports bar-themed restaurant group called Smokey Bones, a Caribbean-themed chain called Bahama Breeze, and a higher-end group of restaurants called Seasons 52. The company announced its intention to sell its Smokey Bones restaurants in May 2007, admitting that the brand did not have the potential to become a national chain. In August, Darden agreed to purchase Rare Hospitality International, which operates the LongHorn Steakhouse and Capital Grille restaurant chains, for an estimated value of $1.4 billion.

Clarence Otis, who took over the company from long-time chief Joe Lee in 2005, serves as chairman and chief executive officer. Darden posted $5.6 billion in annual sales in fiscal year 2007. Its shares are traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol DRI.
« Show less

Top Darden Restaurants, Inc. Articles

Displaying items 12-22
  • Once a busboy, he's now in charge at Darden

     Once a busboy, he's now in charge at Darden
    Gene Lee bussed tables at York Steak House as a teenager, lugging dishes from tables to the kitchen for the chain of cafeterias in the Northeast. Over the next 37 years, he didn't earn an undergraduate degree and changed companies only once. Last week,...
  • Ruby Tuesday eyes Orlando for office, 45 jobs

    Ruby Tuesday eyes Orlando for office, 45 jobs
    Restaurant chain Ruby Tuesday could get $378,000 in state and local incentives to create a 45-employee corporate satellite office in Orlando. "What they are doing is looking at several locations across the nation where they might open some kind of...
  • Darden names Gene Lee as new CEO

    Darden names Gene Lee as new CEO
    Staying the course it set last fall, Darden Restaurants picked Gene Lee on Monday to lead a company trying to revive its ailing flagship Olive Garden. Lee has been running Darden as interim CEO since October, shortly after activist investor Starboard...
  • Red Lobster ready to move into new downtown HQ

     Red Lobster ready to move into new downtown HQ
    Red Lobster is ready to move into its new corporate headquarters in downtown Orlando. The newly independent company is will spend the next two weekends moving 300 employees from Darden headquarters on John Young Parkway to the CNL Tower 1 next to City...
  • Central Florida restaurant chains push beyond U.S. borders

    Tony Roma's next steakhouse isn't opening in an Orlando suburb, but in a mega-shopping tower in the Dominican Republic capital of Santo Domingo. As they fight for customers in America, Central Florida-based restaurant companies are putting more focus on...
  • EEOC says Seasons 52 won't hire employees age 40 or older

    A federal agency sued Seasons 52 restaurants Thursday, contending the chain owned by Orlando-based Darden Restaurants is discriminating against job applicants age 40 or older. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said the restaurant chain...
  • More restaurant choices on way for Orlando in 2015

    Construction crews are at work on downtown Orlando's CNL Center 1, making room for the future culinary home of Lobsterfest and cheddar bay biscuits. Red Lobster is prepping for a move to its new headquarters downtown sometime early this year, as the...
  • Changes coming slowly so far at Darden Restaurants

    Changes coming slowly so far at Darden Restaurants
    After 74 days of new leadership at Darden Restaurants, Olive Garden breadsticks are still unlimited, LongHorn Steakhouses don't pay rent and Seasons 52 is under the same ownership. Interim CEO Gene Lee says the new board will take its time on the biggest...
  • Here are 15 people to watch in 2015

    Here are 15 people to watch in 2015
    After 10 years of compiling a list of the "Most Powerful People in Central Florida," I decided it was time for a change. Partly because the list didn't change much from year to year. Partly because some of the people on the list had power but didn't...
  • Darden reports $32.8 million loss

    Darden reports $32.8 million loss
    Darden Restaurants reported a $32.8 million quarterly loss Tuesday, with the new management conceding that the makeover of the casual-dining giant is going to take more time. "These initiatives are not a quick fix," said interim CEO Gene Lee....
  • Five things for Wednesday, Dec. 17

    Five things for Wednesday, Dec. 17
    Here are your stories for Wednesday: SeaWorld lays off mimes; Darden posts 32.8 million loss; Former Fla Gov. Jeb Bush eyes presidential run; and more. 1. SeaWorld announced layoffs last week. Yesterday the ax fell on three mimes that performed with the...