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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
  • 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 missteps, 'Obamacare' flap dent Olive Garden owner's profit

    Darden missteps, 'Obamacare' flap dent Olive Garden owner's profit
    Darden Restaurants Inc.’s second quarter was far from appetizing, as the owner of Olive Garden and Red Lobster watched its net income plunge 37%. The Orlando, Fla., restaurant company saw the sour numbers coming. Earlier in December, citing a...
  • 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...
  • Olive Garden owner Darden to buy Yard House for $585 million

    Darden Restaurants Inc., the owner of Olive Garden and Red Lobster, will buy Irvine-based restaurant chain Yard House USA Inc. for $585 million in cash. The deal with Yard House owner TSG Consumer Partners will place the chain -- known for its vast...
  • Darden won't slash full-timers' hours to cut 'Obamacare' costs [Google+ Hangout]

    Darden won't slash full-timers' hours to cut 'Obamacare' costs [Google+ Hangout]
    Darden Restaurants Inc., the parent of eateries such as Olive Garden and Red Lobster, said it will not bump any of its full-time employees down to part-time status to save on healthcare costs once President Obama’s reforms go into effect. Come...
  • Petition calls out restaurant execs on 'Obamacare' [Google+ Hangout]

    The same day that Olive Garden parent Darden Restaurants Inc. said it will not bump down existing full-time workers to part-time status to skirt healthcare costs, a petition calling on the company’s chief executive to clarify his position is gaining...
  • Olive Garden comeback: Darden Restaurants' 3rd-quarter profit up

    Olive Garden comeback: Darden Restaurants' 3rd-quarter profit up
    Maybe it's Marilyn Hagerty working her magic: Olive Garden is reversing out of a long slump with more visitors and better sales. A few weeks after the elderly North Dakota reviewer’s piece on a new Olive Garden restaurant in Grand Forks went...
  • Blood donations needed: Blood centers offering $20 gift card to donors

     
    Here's some incentive to give blood before Jan. 9 — a $20 gift card to Darden Restaurants. Because blood is historically in short supply in January, Florida’s Blood Centers is  asking donors to go to the center's branch loc...
  • With lawmakers poised to make big budget cuts, tax-break for Darden Restaurants quietly advances

     
    By Jason Garcia, Orlando Sentinel TALLAHASSEE — Darden Restaurants is lobbying the Florida Legislature for a tax break that would save the company as much as $5 million a year in sales taxes even as lawmakers weigh deep spending cuts to public...