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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 34-44
  • 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,...
  • 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'...
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • Yard House brings beer, rock 'n' roll to Darden Restaurants

    Yard House brings beer, rock 'n' roll to Darden Restaurants
    The casual-dining company known for never-ending pasta bowls and endless shrimp is now bringing us a restaurant built around beer, trendy food and rock 'n' roll. Yard House, the upscale bar and grill that Darden Restaurants bought in 2012, will make its...
  • Darden earnings slump amid continued Red Lobster, Olive Garden slide

    Darden Restaurants Inc., the largest full-service restaurant company in the world, suffered a 19.6% plunge in profit as its two largest brands – Red Lobster and Olive Garden – continued to struggle with depressed sales and foot traffic....
  • 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...