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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
  • 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,...
  • Darden attacks Starboard: Erroneous, misleading, careless

    Darden attacks Starboard: Erroneous, misleading, careless
    Darden Restaurants attacked hedge fund Starboard Value in a lengthy letter to shareholders on Monday. The letter defends the sale of Red Lobster restaurants and labels Starboard’s criticism of the sale as erroneous, misleading and careless. Darden...
  • Starboard raises Darden stake to 8.8 percent

    Starboard raises Darden stake to 8.8 percent
    Starboard Value announced Tuesday that it now owns 8.8 percent of Darden Restaurants (NYSE: DRI), up from 6.2 in May. Starboard is a hedge fund with a hostile plan to replace Darden’s entire board. Starboard and Darden have been feuding since...
  • 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...
  • Revenge of the breadsticks? Darden strikes back

    Revenge of the breadsticks? Darden strikes back
    Darden Restaurants made a formal response Monday to investor criticisms of its Olive Garden chain. The investor, Starboard Value hedge fund, on Friday released a 294-page plan that criticized waste, overspending and Darden employment policies. The...
  • Olive Garden defends unlimited breadsticks policy as 'Italian generosity'

    Olive Garden defends unlimited breadsticks policy as 'Italian generosity'
    Olive Garden thinks you can never have enough warm breadsticks. The restaurant chain's parent company, Darden Restaurants, prepared a presentation in which it defends its unlimited breadsticks policy and other practices criticized in a report by...
  • Darden reports earnings as investor pushes for changes

    Darden reports earnings as investor pushes for changes
    Darden Restaurants reported earnings that beat analysts' estimates Friday as an activist investment firm trying to overthrow Darden's board unveiled a plan for turning the restaurant company around. Orlando-based Darden reported a loss for its first...
  • Olive Garden breadsticks targeted by activist investor

    Unlimited garlic breadsticks have been a staple at Olive Garden, but an activist investor is calling on the Italian food chain to give one or maybe two servings of the carbs to patrons. Doing so would reduce "massive unnecessary waste" and save more...
  • Darden Restaurants faces $13M lawsuit from Xerox

    Darden Restaurants faces $13M lawsuit from Xerox
    Xerox Corp. and Orlando-based Darden Restaurants are engaged in a $13 million disagreement over a canceled, six-year human resources services contract. Darden is trying to work out the disagreement, according to a statement from Rich Jeffers, Darden...
  • 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...
  • Darden Restaurants to sell Red Lobster chain for $2.1 billion

    Darden Restaurants to sell Red Lobster chain for $2.1 billion
    Darden Restaurants Inc. has agreed to sell its Red Lobster seafood chain to San Francisco private equity firm Golden Gate Capital for $2.1 billion, flouting the warnings of some of its shareholders. The all-cash deal will allow Darden to focus more on...