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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 13-24
  • Darden earnings slump amid continued Red Lobster, Olive Garden slide

    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 urges shareholders to reject Starboard special meeting

    Darden urges shareholders to reject Starboard special meeting
    Darden Restaurants is urging shareholders to reject an activist investor's calls for a special meeting to weigh in on a planned sale or spinoff of Red Lobster. In a letter to stockholders, Darden said Starboard Value's campaign against Darden could...
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • Darden expands into Malaysia

    Darden expands into Malaysia
    Darden Restaurants is expanding into Malaysia. Orlando-based Darden has signed an agreement with Secret Recipe, an Asian restaurant-operating company, to open at least 13 Red Lobsters, Olive Gardens and LongHorn Steakhouses. Darden is turning more...
  • Automatic tips may be off the table

    Automatic tips may be off the table
    If you dine out in a big group, chances are you've had an automatic tip tacked on to your bill. That practice might soon go away. Orlando-based Darden Restaurants may drop automatic gratuities for tables of eight or more at its chains including...
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • Scott's sick-leave bill signing brings out the fans and critics

    TALLAHASSEE - Florida Gov. Rick Scott didn't waste much time in signing a bill Friday that would block local governments from enacting mandatory paid sick time measures, such as the one pending in Orange County. The Republican governor sided with Walt...
  • Part-timers to lose pay amid health act's new math

     Part-timers to lose pay amid health act's new math
    Many part-timers are facing a double whammy from President Obama's Affordable Care Act. The law requires large employers offering health insurance to include part-time employees working 30 hours a week or more. But rather than provide healthcare to more...