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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
  • 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...
  • Darden rents from itself and saves on taxes

    Darden rents from itself and saves on taxes
    Orlando-based Darden Restaurants has cut its corporate taxes in some states by renting restaurants from itself, using a strategy that has led to challenges and millions of dollars in back taxes for some other big companies. The owner of chains...
  • Darden Restaurants donates $750,000 to Second Harvest

    Darden Restaurants donates $750,000 to Second Harvest
    At a time when Second Harvest is working to feed record numbers of Central Floridians --including thousands of children who face going to bed hungry -- Darden Restaurants' charitable foundation announced a $750,000 contribution to the food bank. That...
  • Darden steers LongHorn toward major growth with eye on overtaking Outback

    Darden steers LongHorn toward major growth with eye on overtaking Outback
    Orlando-based Darden Restaurants has found its next big thing inLongHorn Steakhouse. After a couple of years of slow growth during the economic downturn and adjustment to a new corporate owner, the Western-themed chain is taking off, with annual sales...
  • Darden Restaurants to build solar panels

    Darden Restaurants to build solar panels
    Darden Restaurants will soon begin installing solar panel roofing at its Orlando headquarters, the company announced today. The project will generate enough power to subsidize 15 to 20 percent of the building's annual usage – equal to the average...
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • Darden's Olive Garden, Red Lobster sales disappoint

    Darden Restaurants Inc.’s efforts to spruce up Olive Garden’s lagging sales, including national promotions and cost cuts, were “less effective than anticipated,” the company said while announcing its fiscal fourth-quarter...