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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 67-77
  • United Arts fundraising beats goal

    United Arts fundraising beats goal
    United Arts of Central Florida's annual public-fundraising campaign had its strongest result in five years, officials said, beating its 2013 goal by almost $390,000. Individuals donated $1.96 million to the three-month fund drive that supports more than...
  • White Castle VP talks part-time workers in response to healthcare law

    White Castle VP talks part-time workers in response to healthcare law
    As President Obama's healthcare law rolls out in the coming years, business owners are figuring out how they will comply with coverage mandates.  One popular restaurant chain, White Castle, may in the future hire only part-time workers once the law is...
  • Darden restaurants in Florida, Georgia featuring Plant City berries through Feb.

    Darden restaurants in Florida, Georgia featuring Plant City berries through Feb.
    Between now and the end of February, all Darden Restaurants in Florida and Georgia will feature locally-sourced Plant City strawberries. At Red Lobster, the fruit will be used in the restaurant’s Strawberry Shortcake in a Jar ($4.99).  At LongHorn...
  • 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...
  • 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 will spin off or sell Red Lobster, stop expanding Olive Garden

    Darden will spin off or sell Red Lobster, stop expanding Olive Garden
    Darden Restaurants Inc. said it would separate itself from its Red Lobster business while halting expansion at Olive Garden and stopping acquisitions “for the foreseeable future.” Orlando, Fla.-based Darden has struggled recently along...
  • 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...
  • 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...