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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...
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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.
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Top Darden Restaurants, Inc. Articles

Displaying items 23-33
  • Red Lobster announces location of new headquarters

    Red Lobster announces location of new headquarters
    Red Lobster will establish its new headquarters and culinary center in downtown Orlando at CNL Tower 1 next to City Hall. Red Lobster will have three full floors in the building, plus the culinary center on the first floor, for 300 employees. The...
  • Activist investors: Hands off America's piles of free carbs!

    I joke around quite a bit in this space, but today I address the greatest threat America is facing: a reduction in the number of free breadsticks served at Olive Garden restaurants. A group of "activist investors" -- the worst kind of investors in my...
  • Shareholder group sues Darden over Red Lobster sale

     Shareholder group sues Darden over Red Lobster sale
    Darden Restaurants is facing a second lawsuit from a Teamsters shareholder group in Connecticut over the controversial sale of Red Lobster in July. The new suit, filed on behalf of Teamsters Local 443 Health Services and Insurance Plan in Connecticut,...
  • First Chicago Olive Garden opening next week

    First Chicago Olive Garden opening next week
    Olive Garden will open its first restaurant in Chicago later this month, featuring its new logo and remodel design — and, of course, free salad and breadsticks. The 7,780-square-foot restaurant at 3555 West Addison St., the first in the Chicago...
  • Firms squabble over control of Darden board

    Firms squabble over control of Darden board
    Glass Lewis Inc., a noted Wall Street proxy fight advisory firm, says Darden Restaurants shareholders should vote to replace the entire board of directors with picks from activist Starboard Value. But another advisory firm, Egan-Jones Proxy Services,...
  • Darden announces more debt repurchasing

    Darden announces more debt repurchasing
    Darden Restaurants (NYSE: DRI) announced Monday that it began a program to buy down $600 million of its debt. The debt repurchase is subject to Darden completing sale of its Red Lobster business to Golden Gate Capital, which the company announced in May...
  • Employee suit against Darden loses class-action status

     Employee suit against Darden loses class-action status
    A federal judge has turned down class-action status in a lawsuit against Darden Restaurants brought by servers and bartenders who say they were forced to work unpaid overtime and were underpaid during other hours. A spokeswoman for the plaintiffs'...
  • Darden offers more concessions to activist investors

    Darden offers more concessions to activist investors
    Embattled Darden Restaurants offered Tuesday to replace eight of its 12 board directors as the company also warned about another weak quarter for Olive Garden. Darden Restaurants Inc. chairman Charles Ledsinger and seven other members have offered to...
  • Darden's plan doesn't appease activist Starboard Value

     Darden's plan doesn't appease activist Starboard Value
    Activist investor Starboard Value won't accept Darden Restaurants' plan to replace eight of its 12 board directors, the hedge fund said Wednesday. Starboard said its own selection of 12 all new directors — 10 with no experience at Darden — is...
  • Activist fight will complicate search for new Darden chief

    An activist investor's efforts to wrest control of embattled Darden Restaurants will make the search for a new CEO even more difficult, industry analysts say. Analysts and consultants following Darden's recent struggles say the company's Sept. 30 annual...
  • Darden delays shareholder meeting amid proxy fight

     Darden delays shareholder meeting amid proxy fight
    Embattled Olive Garden parent Darden Restaurants Inc. pushed back its annual shareholder meeting 10 days, the company announced Thursday, amid a battle with activist investors. Darden Restaurants will now hold its annual shareholder meeting on Oct. 10,...