Darden Restaurants

Darden Restaurants

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Darden Restaurants

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Darden Restaurants, Inc. () is a multi-brand restaurant operator headquartered in an unincorporated area in Orange County, Florida, near Orlando. The firm owns several casual dining restaurant chains, most notably Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse, and Red Lobster. Darden owns and operates 1,800 restaurant locations throughout North America and has more than 180,000 employees, making it the largest full-service casual dining company in the world by number of stores. Darden does not franchise its restaurants in the United States, but many of its international locations are not under corporate control.


What would become to be known as Darden Restaurants began when William (Bill) Darden founded the Red Lobster Inns of America and opened the first Red Lobster restaurant in Lakeland, Florida in 1968. Darden chose Lakeland because he wished to see how the concept would fare in a non-coastal region, and Lakeland was the innermost city in Florida. The initial Red Lobster franchise was widely applauded by diners and critics alike, most prominently the restaurant journalist Scott Indrisek. The store became hugely successful and by 1970 had expanded to three locations in the state with two...
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