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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 56-66
  • Hooters goes for new Orlando look

    Hooters goes for new Orlando look
    The pioneer of "breastaurants" wants to reinvent itself for the 21st century, and that includes a new look. Hooters recently moved from Pointe Orlando to 8801 International Drive, and the new location showcases a new style for the restaurants. The...
  • On plate: Tech, revamped menus

    On plate: Tech, revamped menus
    Restaurants will look to interesting new foods and high-tech devices to attract customers this year. Snacks, late-night menus and iPad-type tablets that allow customers to pay the bill at their tables are among the innovations being introduced into...
  • Chamber cheers bill to block local sick pay efforts, while churches, police union object

     
    A bill to block paid sick time referendums such as the one pending in Orange County continued to glide through the state Senate this week while a companion measure now sits on the House calendar, a legislative push the Florida Chamber of Commerce strongly...
  • Steakhouse coming to Easton area

     
    The Lehigh Valley has added several new steakhouses in recent years. Now, activity shifts to Lower Nazareth Township where a LongHorn Steakhouse is being constructed at Lower Nazareth Commons shopping center off Route 248, according to the restaurant's...
  • Central Florida's Top Employers 2011: Darden Restaurants Inc.

    Darden Restaurants is the world's largest casual dining company. The publicly held company (ticker symbol DRI) owns Olive Garden, Red Lobster, LongHorn Steakhouse, Bahama Breeze, Seasons 52, Capital Grille, Eddie V's Prime Seafood and Wildfish Seafood...
  • Hurricane Irene brings earnings dip, Darden says

    Hurricane Irene brings earnings dip, Darden says
    Orlando-based Darden Restaurants said Tuesday that Hurricane Irene will hurt its first-quarter earnings slightly. The owner of Olive Garden, Red Lobster and other chains said the storm, which forced some restaurants across the Eastern U.S. to close, will...
  • Analysts weigh in on Darden earnings

    Analysts weigh in on Darden earnings
    Analysts found Orlando-based Darden Restaurants' expected first-quarter earnings surprisingly low, but they still had generally positive views of the company's performance. Darden said last week it expects earnings per share of 78 cents. Several analysts...
  • First lady announces restaurant chain's plan to cut calories, sodium

    — First Lady Michelle Obama applauded the parent company of Olive Garden and Red Lobster Thursday for pledging to cut calories and sodium at its restaurants over the next 10 years. Speaking at the Olive Garden, a restaurant known for its all-you-...
  • Healthy fork in the road

    Healthy fork in the road
    As consumers increasingly ask for healthier fare, the company that operates Olive Garden and Red Lobster restaurants said Thursday that it will cut salt and calories across its menus by 10 percent over the next five years and 20 percent over the next...
  • Lawmaker delays hearing on Darden tax-break bill

    Lawmaker delays hearing on Darden tax-break bill
    TALLAHASSEE — A hearing on a bill that would give Darden Restaurants a tax break of as much as $5 million a year was postponed Wednesday after the sponsor asked for more time to address recent questions about the legislation. Rep. Chris Dorworth,...
  • Olive Garden chief apologizes to mom of toddler served sangria

    Olive Garden chief apologizes to mom of toddler served sangria
    Olive Garden president Dave Pickens told Facebook fans that he personally apologized to the mother of a toddler accidentally served sangria at a restaurant in Lakeland. Pickens called Jill VanHeest on Wednesday, after she began speaking with the news...