At Darden, we constantly look to enhance diversity among our suppliers. We firmly believe our supplier base should mirror our guest and employee populations. That is why we work diligently to provide opportunities for diverse suppliers to develop and grow their businesses. We also believe that by supporting the growth of these businesses, we are contributing to the economic vitality of the country. To this end, we strive to give businesses of diverse ownership an equal opportunity to compete with all other suppliers.
Our Supplier Diversity initiative, which focuses on women- and minority-owned businesses, is the major driver behind Darden’s efforts to bring about diversity awareness and opportunities within our supplier network. In order to achieve the goals we feel are morally and ethically right for our business, we actively support the National Minority Supplier Development Council and the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council. We work with these organizations to ensure that Darden incorporates minority- and women-owned businesses in all of its purchasing decisions. We also work with the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce to certify suppliers who meet the diversity standards we believe are so important to uphold.
Setting diversity goals is one thing, but actually achieving those goals is another matter entirely. We’ve learned that real success is measured not just in words, but in actions. That is why we hold ourselves to a high standard when it comes to achieving measurable supplier diversity results.
Over the past year, we increased our spending with diverse suppliers to more than 10 percent of all purchasing expenditures. That amounts to approximately $370 million in total spending with minority- and women-owned suppliers in Fiscal 2010. Our goal is to meet or exceed those numbers in the coming year.
As one of the world’s largest seafood purchasers, we know that working with diverse suppliers can set a positive example for the entire industry. In 2010, more than 25 percent of all our seafood came from diverse suppliers. In fact, Darden’s seafood purchasing team’s total spend with minority- and women-owned suppliers increased by $30 million over the previous year.
Our largest diverse supplier is Red Chambers Co., an Asian-American-owned company that ranks among our top five seafood suppliers. Other notable diverse suppliers include Florida Stainless, a female-owned company, as well as Aquabase Inc. and Omar Supplies. These companies are just a few of the fine suppliers who exemplify Darden’s commitment to diversity.
Another example of Darden’s dedication to supplier diversity can be found in the recent construction of our new Restaurant Support Center in Orlando, Fla. Building this state-of-the-art facility afforded us an opportunity to incorporate diverse companies in a significant way. Initial plans called for five percent of our construction budget to be spent with minority- and women-owned companies, but ultimately we exceeded that goal, spending 18 percent with diverse businesses.
Are You Interested in Becoming a Darden Supplier?
- Complete our online form.
- Fax or email a copy of your certification from NMSDC or WBENC
- Send your company information (pamphlet, brochure, presentation).
- You will receive an e-mail letting you know if an opportunity exists.
Darden Supplier Diversity Inquiries
Phone: (407) 245-5930