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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

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  • Olive Garden: At least 1 more breadstick creation on the way

    Olive Garden isn't finished dreaming up new ways to use its breadsticks. The Italian restaurant chain said earlier this month it would introduce "breadstick sandwiches" as part of a broader menu revamp intended to play up its most popular offerings....
  • Darden keeps tax incentives even after Red Lobster sale

    Darden keeps tax incentives even after Red Lobster sale
    Darden Restaurants will get up to $7.5 million in employee-related state tax incentives for 2014 even though about 200 jobs left the company with the sale of Red Lobster. Darden risked losing its Florida Capital Investment Tax Credit because of...
  • Darden lays off employees at Orlando headquarters

    Orlando-based Darden Restaurants will lay off 30 workers at its headquarters. The Orlando Sentinel (http://bit.ly/1IvC6V7 ) reports notices went out to employees on Monday. Darden is the parent company of Olive Garden and LongHorn Steakhouse. Company...
  • Olive Garden's latest plan: Breadstick sandwiches

    Olive Garden's plan to win back customers? Take the breadsticks it's known for and make sandwiches out of them. The restaurant chain owned by Darden Restaurants Inc. says it plans to use its breadsticks for chicken parmigiana and meatball sandwiches...
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  • Breadstick sandwiches coming to Olive Garden

    Breadstick sandwiches coming to Olive Garden
    Can't get enough of Olive Garden's breadsticks? Soon they will become a part of two sandwiches. The Darden Restaurants chain said Monday that on June 1 it will start serving meatball and chicken Parmesan sandwiches made with its famous breadsticks....
  • 5 Things to Know in Florida for May 12

    Your daily look at news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today. LATEST ZIMMERMAN DUST-UP LINKED TO PRIOR ROAD RAGE INCIDENT The man who called 911 to report he was involved in a shooting with George Zimmerman appears to be...
  • Darden lays off 30 workers at Orlando HQ

    Darden lays off 30 workers at Orlando HQ
    Darden Restaurants will lay off 30 workers at its Orlando headquarters, the parent company of Olive Garden and LongHorn Steakhouse said Monday. The cuts came in several departments and levels, said company spokesman Rich Jeffers. He said it made a...
  • Starboard Value says it bought 4M shares of Brink's

    Activist investment firm Starboard Value says it bought an 8.2 percent stake in armored car company Brink's, and it called the stock undervalued. Starboard Value disclosed ownership of almost 4 million shares in a form filed with the Securities and...
  • Darden fights EEOC age discrimination suit

    Darden fights EEOC age discrimination suit
    Darden Restaurants is continuing to battle the EEOC in a federal lawsuit filed in February where the government alleges age discrimination in hiring at Seasons 52 restaurants. In a March filing in the case, Darden asked a judge to throw out the lawsuit,...
  • Darden lists I-Drive Olive Garden for sale at hefty price

    Darden lists I-Drive Olive Garden for sale at hefty price
    Darden Restaurants has listed one of its flagship restaurants, a large Olive Garden on International Drive, for sale at a hefty price. It’s part of the company’s new strategy for selling off its real estate to focus on the business of...