Darden es la compañía de restaurante de servicio completo más grande del mundo
La familia Darden de restaurantes presenta algunas de las marcas más reconocidas y acertadas en el servicio completo de comida: Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse, The Capital Grille, Bahama Breeze y Seasons 52. Nuestras marcas han sido establecidas durante décadas de aprendizaje de nuestros invitados. Sus inspiraciones culinarias vienen de los pueblos pesqueros de Maine, las mesas de familia de Italia y el Oeste Americano – iconos que reflejan la diversidad rica de aquellos que visitan nuestros restaurantes.

Inclusive, no es ninguna exageración el decir que nuestras marcas más grandes se han convertido en iconos. Desde la apertura de nuestro primer restaurante de Red Lobster en Lakeland en Florida, en 1968, Darden ha crecido para hacerse la compañía de restaurantes de servicio completo más grande del mundo. A través de subsidiarias, poseemos y operamos casi 1,800 restaurantes, empleamos a aproximadamente 180,000 personas y servimos más de 400 millones de comidas por año.
Recent News
Fri, 20 Mar 2015 07:00:00 -0400

ORLANDO, Fla., March 20, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Darden Restaurants, Inc. (NYSE: DRI) today reported its financial results for the third quarter ended February 22, 2015.

Third Quarter 2015 Financial Highlights Versus Same Period a Year Ago

  • Total sales from continuing operations in the third quarter increased 6.9% to $1.73 billion
  • Adjusted earnings per diluted share* increased 39% to $0.99
  • On a GAAP basis, earnings per diluted share increased 55% to $1.01
  • Combined Darden comparable same-restaurant sales for the quarter were +3.6%:
    • +2.2% for Olive Garden
    • +5.4% for LongHorn Steakhouse
    • +5.4% for Yard House
    • +6.1% for The Capital Grille
    • +5.2% for Seasons 52
    • +3.2% for Bahama Breeze
    • +9.6% for Eddie V's
  • The company projects fourth quarter earnings per diluted share of $0.91 to $0.94
  • The Board of Directors declared a regular dividend of $0.55 per share to be paid in the fourth quarter

* See the 'Adjustments to Earnings Per Share' section below for more details

"We delivered solid improvement in our financial results this quarter thanks to the hard work our teams are doing to grow same-restaurant sales and control costs," said Darden CEO Gene Lee.  "Our strategy of getting back to basics and elevating the food, service, and atmosphere in our restaurants in order to deliver the best possible guest experience is driving these sales and profitability improvements.  I'm proud of the increased engagement and effort of our teams and the momentum we have created, but we still have progress to make."

Adjustments to Earnings Per Share

  • Reported net earnings per diluted share from continuing operations for the third quarter were positively impacted by approximately $0.02. This includes approximately:
    • +5 cents of tax benefits related to the final disposition of our interest in the aquaculture investment
    • -2 cents related to impairments of excess land parcels held for sale
    • -1 cent for other strategic action costs associated with the evaluation of our real estate portfolio
  • Excluding adjustments, earnings per diluted share were $1.01

Fiscal 2015 Third Quarter Operating Summary Versus Same Period a Year Ago

  • Olive Garden grew total sales by 3.0% to $957 million
    • Added nine net new restaurants
    • Increased operating profit and profit as a percentage of sales
  • LongHorn grew total sales by 11.4% to $404 million
    • Added 25 net new restaurants
    • Increased operating profit and profit as a percentage of sales
  • Specialty Restaurants grew total sales by 14.7% to $367 million
    • Added 16 net new restaurants
    • Increased operating profit and profit as a percentage of sales

Fiscal Month U.S. Same-Restaurant Sales Results

Olive Garden

December

January

February

Same-Restaurant Sales

2.4%

2.5%

1.6%

Same-Restaurant Traffic

-0.8%

-1.1%

-3.0%

Pricing

1.6%

1.6%

1.8%

Menu-mix

1.6%

2.0%

2.8%









LongHorn Steakhouse

December

January

February

Same-Restaurant Sales

4.4%

9.2%

2.8%

Same-Restaurant Traffic

0.3%

5.4%

-1.8%

Pricing

2.1%

2.2%

2.0%

Menu-mix

2.0%

1.6%

2.6%

Note:  The Company estimates that less severe winter weather positively impacted these same-restaurant sales results by 210 basis points in fiscal December and 110 basis points in fiscal January and more severe winter weather negatively affected fiscal February same-restaurant sales by 30 basis points.

Fiscal 2015 Financial Outlook
The company projects fourth quarter earnings per diluted share of $0.91 to $0.94, an increase of between 69% and 74% from the fourth quarter of 2014 and has increased expectations for fiscal 2015.  The current projected range for annual adjusted earnings per diluted share is projected to be between $2.45 and $2.48 (or $1.50 and $1.53 on an unadjusted basis) an increase of between 43% and 45% from fiscal 2014, which reflects the impact of the accelerated share repurchase program on our annual weighted average share count.  This reflects the expectation that the Company's combined U.S. same-restaurant sales growth this fiscal year will be 2.0% to 2.5% and the positive $0.05 per share impact of a 53rd operating week in the fiscal year. 

 

Fiscal 2015 Reported to Adjusted Earnings Reconciliation


Q3

Q4E*

AnnualE*

Diluted Net EPS from Continuing Operations

$1.01

$0.91 - $0.94

$1.50 - $1.53

Red Lobster-Related Shared Support Costs

0.00


0.02

Other Strategic Action Plan Costs

0.01


0.12

Debt Breakage Costs

0.00


0.42

Asset Impairments and Other One-Time Costs

(0.03)


0.40

Adjusted Diluted Net EPS from Continuing Operations

$0.99

$0.91 - $0.94

$2.45 - $2.48

Adjusted FY15 EPS vs FY14 Adjusted EPS

$0.28

$0.37 - $0.40

$0.74 - $0.77

* Reflects the additional operating week vs FY14




Dividend Declared
Darden's Board of Directors declared a regular quarterly cash dividend of $0.55 per share on the Company's outstanding common stock.  The dividend is payable on May 1, 2015 to shareholders of record at the close of business on April 10, 2015.

Investor Conference Call
The Company will host its Fiscal 2015 Third Quarter conference call on Friday, March 20, 2015 at 8:30 am ET.  The conference call will be broadcast live over the Internet.  Gene Lee, CEO, and other senior management invite you to listen to a discussion of third quarter results. To listen to the call live, please go to http://www.videonewswire.com/event.asp?id=101839 at least fifteen minutes early to register, download, and install any necessary audio software.  For those who cannot access the Internet, please dial 1-800-369-3182 and enter passcode 9026320.  For those who cannot listen to the live broadcast, a replay will be available shortly after the call.  In addition, at the conclusion of the call, we will post a supplemental presentation on the Investors section of our website at: www.darden.com that provides more context on our third quarter results.

About Darden
Darden Restaurants, Inc., (NYSE: DRI) owns and operates more than 1,500 restaurants that generate over $6.3 billion in annual sales. Headquartered in Orlando, Florida, and employing more than 150,000 people, Darden is recognized for a culture that rewards caring for and responding to people.  Our restaurant brands - Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse, Bahama Breeze, Seasons 52, The Capital Grille, Eddie V's and Yard House - reflect the rich diversity of those who dine with us. Our brands are built on deep insights into what our guests want. For more information, please visit www.darden.com

Information about Forward-Looking Statements
Forward-looking statements in this communication regarding our expected earnings performance and all other statements that are not historical facts, including without limitation statements concerning our future economic performance, are made under the Safe Harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Any forward-looking statements speak only as of the date on which such statements are first made, and we undertake no obligation to update such statements to reflect events or circumstances arising after such date. We wish to caution investors not to place undue reliance on any such forward-looking statements. By their nature, forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to materially differ from those anticipated in the statements. The most significant of these uncertainties are described in Darden's Form 10-K, Form 10-Q and Form 8-K reports. These risks and uncertainties include the ability to achieve Darden's strategic plan to enhance shareholder value including realizing the expected benefits from the sale of Red Lobster, food safety and food-borne illness concerns, litigation, unfavorable publicity, risks relating to public policy changes and federal, state and local regulation of our business, labor and insurance costs, technology failures including failure to maintain a secure cyber network, failure to execute a business continuity plan following a disaster, health concerns including virus outbreaks, intense competition, failure to drive sales growth, our plans to expand our smaller brands Bahama Breeze, Seasons 52 and Eddie V's, higher-than-anticipated costs to open, close, relocate or remodel restaurants, a failure to execute innovative marketing tactics, a failure to develop and recruit effective leaders, a failure to address cost pressures, shortages or interruptions in the delivery of food and other products and services, adverse weather conditions and natural disasters, volatility in the market value of derivatives, economic factors specific to the restaurant industry and general macroeconomic factors including interest rates, disruptions in the financial markets, risks of doing business with franchisees and vendors in foreign markets, failure to protect our intellectual property, impairment in the carrying value of our goodwill or other intangible assets, an inability or failure to manage the accelerated impact of social media and other factors and uncertainties discussed from time to time in reports filed by Darden with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Non-GAAP Information
The information in this press release includes financial information determined by methods other than in accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America ("GAAP"), such as adjusted earnings per diluted share from continuing operations.  The Company's management uses these non-GAAP measures in its analysis of the Company's performance.  The Company believes that the presentation of certain non-GAAP measures provides useful supplemental information that is essential to a proper understanding of the operating results of the Company's businesses.  These non-GAAP disclosures should not be viewed as a substitute for operating results determined in accordance with GAAP, nor are they necessarily comparable to non-GAAP performance measures that may be presented by other companies.  A reconciliation of these non-GAAP measures are included in this release and can be found under the "Financial Information" section of the "Investors" section of the Company's website (www.darden.com).

 

Reported to Adjusted Earnings Reconciliation


Q3
2014

Q3
2015

%
Change

Diluted Net EPS from Continuing Operations

$0.65

$1.01

55%

Red Lobster-Related Shared Support Costs

$0.04

$0.00


Other Strategic Action Plan Costs

$0.01

$0.01


Asset Impairments and Other One-Time Costs

$0.01

($0.03)


Adjusted Diluted Net EPS from Continuing Operations

$0.71

$0.99

39%

 

DARDEN RESTAURANTS, INC.

NUMBER OF COMPANY-OWNED RESTAURANTS






2/22/15




2/23/14

839



Olive Garden USA


830


6



Olive Garden Canada


6


845



Total Olive Garden


836


478



LongHorn Steakhouse


453


55



The Capital Grille


53


36



Bahama Breeze


37


42



Seasons 52


38


15



Eddie V's


13


57



Yard House


48


0



Other


4


1,528



Darden Continuing Operations


1,482


 

DARDEN RESTAURANTS, INC.

CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF EARNINGS

(In millions, except per share data)

(Unaudited)






Three Months Ended


Nine Months Ended


2/22/2015


2/23/2014


2/22/2015


2/23/2014

Sales

$

1,730.9



$

1,618.5



$

4,885.7



$

4,635.5


Costs and expenses:












Cost of sales:












Food and beverage

530.7



485.5



1,518.2



1,386.6


Restaurant labor

535.6



508.9



1,550.7



1,491.9


Restaurant expenses

276.0



271.4



825.7



795.9


Total cost of sales (1)

$

1,342.3



$

1,265.8



$

3,894.6



$

3,674.4


Selling, general and administrative

134.2



154.2



484.6



494.3


Depreciation and amortization

79.6



76.3



238.4



226.0


Interest, net

23.3



33.1



168.3



98.8


Asset impairment, net

4.4





51.0



1.2


Total costs and expenses

$

1,583.8



$

1,529.4



$

4,836.9



$

4,494.7


Earnings before income taxes

147.1



89.1



48.8



140.8


Income tax (benefit) expense

18.7



2.5



(29.5)



5.9


Earnings from continuing operations

$

128.4



$

86.6



$

78.3



$

134.9


Earnings from discontinued operations, net of tax expense of $3.1, $9.4, $322.4 and $22.6, respectively

5.4



23.1



525.9



64.8


Net earnings

$

133.8



$

109.7



$

604.2



$

199.7














Basic net earnings per share:












Earnings from continuing operations

$

1.03



$

0.66



$

0.61



$

1.03


Earnings from discontinued operations

0.04



0.18



4.10



0.50


Net earnings

$

1.07



$

0.84



$

4.71



$

1.53


Diluted net earnings per share:












Earnings from continuing operations

$

1.01



$

0.65



$

0.60



$

1.02


Earnings from discontinued operations

0.04



0.17



4.04



0.48


Net earnings

$

1.05



$

0.82



$

4.64



$

1.50


Average number of common shares outstanding:












Basic

124.6



131.3



128.2



130.7


Diluted

126.9



133.4



130.1



132.9














(1) Excludes restaurant depreciation and amortization as follows:

$

73.8



$

70.8



$

219.8



$

209.8


 

DARDEN RESTAURANTS, INC.

CONSOLIDATED BALANCE SHEETS

(In millions)






2/22/2015


5/25/2014


(Unaudited)




ASSETS






Current assets:






Cash and cash equivalents

$

436.2



$

98.3


Receivables, net

64.0



83.8


Inventories

172.8



196.8


Prepaid income taxes

15.5



10.9


Prepaid expenses and other current assets

73.5



72.3


Deferred income taxes

174.5



124.0


Assets held for sale

45.4



1,390.3


Total current assets

$

981.9



$

1,976.4


Land, buildings and equipment, net

3,288.5



3,381.0


Goodwill

872.4



872.5


Trademarks

574.6



574.6


Other assets

285.5



296.2


Total assets

$

6,002.9



$

7,100.7


LIABILITIES AND STOCKHOLDERS' EQUITY






Current liabilities:






Accounts payable

$

186.0



$

233.1


Short-term debt



207.6


Accrued payroll

125.7



125.7


Accrued income taxes

116.3




Other accrued taxes

49.1



64.5


Unearned revenues

379.8



299.7


Current portion of long-term debt

15.0



15.0


Other current liabilities

478.9



457.4


Liabilities associated with assets held for sale



215.5


Total current liabilities

$

1,350.8



$

1,618.5


Long-term debt, less current portion

1,461.7



2,481.4


Deferred income taxes

321.0



286.1


Deferred rent

221.0



206.2


Obligations under capital leases, net of current installments

50.1



52.0


Other liabilities

360.5



299.6


Total liabilities

$

3,765.1



$

4,943.8


Stockholders' equity:






Common stock and surplus

$

1,338.8



$

1,302.2


Retained earnings

989.0



995.8


Treasury stock

(7.8)



(7.8)


Accumulated other comprehensive income (loss)

(77.8)



(128.1)


Unearned compensation

(4.4)



(5.2)


Total stockholders' equity

$

2,237.8



$

2,156.9


Total liabilities and stockholders' equity

$

6,002.9



$

7,100.7


 

DARDEN RESTAURANTS, INC.

CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF CASH FLOWS

(In millions)

(Unaudited)




Nine Months Ended


2/22/2015


2/23/2014

Cash flows—operating activities




Net earnings

$

604.2



$

199.7


Earnings from discontinued operations, net of tax

(525.9)



(64.8)


Adjustments to reconcile net earnings from continuing operations to cash flows:




Depreciation and amortization

238.4



226.0


Stock-based compensation expense

41.3



33.2


Change in current assets and liabilities and other, net

198.0



112.3


Net cash provided by operating activities of continuing operations

$

556.0



$

506.4


Cash flows—investing activities




Purchases of land, buildings and equipment

(230.1)



(337.5)


Proceeds from disposal of land, buildings and equipment

24.8



1.6


Increase in other assets

(3.5)



(14.0)


Net cash used in investing activities of continuing operations

$

(208.8)



$

(349.9)


Cash flows—financing activities




Proceeds from issuance of common stock

107.1



43.8


Income tax benefits credited to equity

9.1



9.5


Dividends paid

(209.3)



(215.7)


Repurchases of common stock

(502.3)



(0.5)


ESOP note receivable repayment

0.8



0.7


(Repayments) proceeds from issuance of short-term debt, net

(207.6)



17.0


Repayment of long-term debt

(1,065.9)




Payment of debt issuance costs



(1.4)


Principal payments on capital leases

(1.7)



(1.5)


Proceeds from financing lease obligation

93.1




Net cash used in financing activities of continuing operations

$

(1,776.7)



$

(148.1)


Cash flows—discontinued operations




Net cash (used in) provided by operating activities of discontinued operations

(216.6)



160.3


Net cash provided by (used in) investing activities of discontinued operations

1,984.0



(129.9)


Net cash provided by discontinued operations

$

1,767.4



$

30.4






Increase in cash and cash equivalents

337.9



38.8


Cash and cash equivalents - beginning of period

98.3



88.2


Cash and cash equivalents - end of period

$

436.2



$

127.0


 

To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/darden-restaurants-reports-strong-third-quarter-results-increases-earnings-outlook-for-the-full-fiscal-year-and-declares-regular-quarterly-dividend-300053587.html

SOURCE Darden Restaurants, Inc.: Financial

(Analysts) Kevin Kalicak (407) 245-5870, (Media) Rich Jeffers (407) 245-4189
Mon, 16 Mar 2015 09:00:00 -0400

ORLANDO, Fla., March 16, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Darden Restaurants, Inc., Orlando, FL, (DRI) will host its fiscal 2015 third quarter conference call on Friday, March 20, 2015 at 8:30 am ET.  The company will release earnings prior to the market opening on Friday, March 20.  Gene Lee, CEO, and other senior management will discuss third quarter results and conduct a question and answer session. 

To access the live audio webcast, please go to the following website at least fifteen minutes early to register, download, and install any necessary audio software.  For those who cannot listen to the live broadcast, a replay will be available shortly after the call.

What:

Darden Restaurants, Inc. FY15 Third Quarter Earnings Conference Call



When:

8:30 am ET, Friday, March 20, 2015



Where:

http://www.videonewswire.com/event.asp?id=101839



How:

Live over the Internet – Simply log on to the web at the address above

Darden Restaurants, Inc., (NYSE: DRI), owns and operates more than 1,500 restaurants that generate over $6.3 billion in annual sales. Headquartered in Orlando, Fla., and employing more than 150,000 people, Darden is recognized for a culture that rewards caring for and responding to people. Our restaurant brands – Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse, Bahama Breeze, Seasons 52, The Capital Grille, Eddie V's and Yard House – reflect the rich diversity of those who dine with us. Our brands are built on deep insights into what our guests want. For more information, please visit www.darden.com

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SOURCE Darden Restaurants, Inc.: Financial

(Analysts) Kevin Kalicak, (407) 245-5870; (Media) Rich Jeffers, (407) 245-4189
Mon, 23 Feb 2015 08:00:00 -0500

Gene Lee Appointed CEO by Unanimous Vote of Board
Gene Lee Has Been Operating as Interim CEO
Brings 30-Plus Years of Restaurant Operating Experience
Gene Lee Appointed to Darden's Board of Directors

ORLANDO, Fla., Feb. 23, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Darden Restaurants, Inc. (NYSE: DRI) today announced that its Board of Directors has appointed current Interim Chief Executive Officer Eugene I. Lee, Jr. as Chief Executive Officer and director, effective immediately.

Jeffrey C. Smith, Darden's Independent Non-Executive Chairman, commented, "On behalf of the Board, I want to say how excited we are to have Gene Lee as our CEO.  After conducting a thorough search and reviewing numerous highly qualified candidates, it was clear that Gene was the best candidate and was the Board's unanimous choice.  As Chairman of the Board, I have worked closely with Gene during his Interim CEO role and have been incredibly impressed by his clear thinking, openness to new ideas, passion for winning, and wonderful leadership style.  Gene has already done a terrific job improving the energy and attitude inside Darden and we expect the reinvigorated culture to continue to improve.  Gene brings the perfect combination of restaurant-level operating experience, brand- and corporate-level management expertise, and thoughtful, focused, hands-on leadership.  The Board and I look forward to working with Gene to write the next successful chapter for Darden."

Commenting on his appointment, Mr. Lee said, "As President and Chief Operating Officer, and then as Interim CEO of Darden, I fully appreciate the possibilities of an improved and reinvigorated Darden.  I am incredibly excited to continue to work with the Board of Directors and to execute our common vision for Darden.  I believe Darden has a fantastic future and look forward to continuing to work with Darden's talented employee base in our collective effort to return Darden to the pinnacle of full service dining."

Mr. Lee brings more than 30 years of restaurant operating experience to the role, which ranges from early stage high-growth concepts to large high volume chains. Prior to his appointment as Interim CEO, Mr. Lee served as President and Chief Operating Officer of the Company for one year, and prior to that as President of the Company's Specialty Restaurant Group (SRG) for six years. Under Mr. Lee's leadership, SRG grew from 60 to 175 restaurants while delivering annualized sales growth of 17 percent and annual restaurant earnings growth of 26 percent. 

Mr. Lee joined Darden in 2007 as part of its acquisition of RARE Hospitality International, where Mr. Lee served as President and Chief Operating Officer.  Mr. Lee had been with RARE since January 1997, serving initially as Executive Vice President of Operations for its Bugaboo Creek Steakhouse concept. He became Executive Vice President of Operations for RARE's LongHorn Steakhouse division in October 1997 and was promoted to COO of RARE the following year. In 2001, he was named President of RARE and elected to its Board of Directors. Prior to RARE, Mr. Lee served as Senior Vice President of Operations for Uno Restaurant Corp. and in several management positions for York Steak House Systems.  

In 2013, Mr. Lee was recognized with the People Report Workplace Legacy Award, which is presented annually to the leader who has clearly demonstrated a commitment to balancing people and performance throughout his or her career in the foodservice industry.  A native of Massachusetts, Mr. Lee earned an MBA from Suffolk University in Boston.

Since a CEO has now been chosen, the Company will turn to its search for the next Chief Financial Officer to succeed C. Bradford Richmond upon his retirement, which will include both external and internal candidates.

About Darden Restaurants
Darden Restaurants, Inc., (NYSE: DRI), owns and operates more than 1,500 restaurants that generate approximately $6.3 billion in annual sales. Headquartered in Orlando, Fla., and employing 150,000 people, Darden is recognized for a culture that rewards caring for and responding to people. In 2014, Darden was named to the FORTUNE "100 Best Companies to Work For" list for the fourth year in a row. Our restaurant brands – Olive Garden®, LongHorn Steakhouse®, Bahama Breeze®, Seasons 52®, The Capital Grille®, Eddie V's® and Yard House® – reflect the rich diversity of those who dine with us. Our brands are built on deep insights into what our guests want. For more information, please visit www.darden.com.

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SOURCE Darden Restaurants, Inc.: General

(Analysts) Rick Cardenas 407-245-5892, (Media) Ron DeFeo 407-245-5562
Mon, 09 Feb 2015 16:05:00 -0500

ORLANDO, Fla., Feb. 9, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Darden Restaurants, Inc. (NYSE: DRI) today announced that the Company has set a date for its fiscal 2015 third quarter earnings release and conference call.

  • The Company will release earnings prior to the market opening on Friday, March 20 and the conference call will follow at 8:30 am ET
  • Gene Lee, Interim CEO, and other senior management will discuss third quarter results and conduct a question and answer session.
  • The Company plans to release details on how to access the call in early March.

About Darden Restaurants 
Darden Restaurants, Inc., (NYSE: DRI), owns and operates more than 1,500 restaurants that generate approximately $6.3 billion in annual sales. Headquartered in Orlando, Fla., and employing 150,000 people, Darden is recognized for a culture that rewards caring for and responding to people. In 2014, Darden was named to the FORTUNE "100 Best Companies to Work For" list for the fourth year in a row. Our restaurant brands – Olive Garden®, LongHorn Steakhouse®, Bahama Breeze®, Seasons 52®, The Capital Grille®, Eddie V's® and Yard House® – reflect the rich diversity of those who dine with us. Our brands are built on deep insights into what our guests want. For more information, please visit www.darden.com.

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SOURCE Darden Restaurants, Inc.: Financial

(Analysts) Kevin Kalicak, (407) 245-5870, or (Media) Rich Jeffers, (407) 245-4189
Tue, 16 Dec 2014 16:05:00 -0500

ORLANDO, Fla., Dec. 16, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Darden Restaurants, Inc. (NYSE: DRI) today reported its financial results for the second quarter ended November 23, 2014.

Key highlights for the second quarter include:

  • Second quarter total sales from continuing operations were $1.56 billion, a 4.9% increase from the $1.49 billion generated in the second quarter of last year.
  • Earnings per diluted share from continuing operations on an adjusted basis were $0.28, a 133% increase from the adjusted earnings of $0.12 in the second quarter last year.*
  • On a GAAP basis, diluted net loss per share from continuing operations was $0.24, compared to the $0.05 earnings per diluted share last year.
  • Comparable same-restaurant sales for the quarter were:
      • +0.5% for Olive Garden,
      • +2.6% for LongHorn Steakhouse,
      • +5.0% for The Capital Grille,
      • +4.9% for Eddie V's,
      • +3.7% for Yard House,
      • +1.2% for Seasons 52, and
      • -0.6% for Bahama Breeze
  • The Company tightened its current projected range for adjusted diluted net earnings per share from continuing operations for fiscal 2015. Adjusted earnings per share are projected to increase between 32% and 35% versus fiscal 2014 to $2.25 - $2.30, including the impact of the 53rd week. The lower end of our guidance increased from the $2.22 previously communicated in September.
  • In the second quarter, the Company took receipt of approximately 8.6 million shares of its common stock as the first installment of the previously announced $500 million accelerated share repurchase program. In early December, after the quarter ended, the Company took receipt of an additional approximately 1.3 million shares to complete the program.
  • The Board of Directors declared a regular dividend of $0.55 per share to be paid in the third quarter.

* See the 'Adjustments to Earnings Per Share' section below for more details

"Our brands performed well during the second quarter," said Interim CEO Gene Lee.  "We have been working diligently to execute our strategy, including getting back to basics while delivering the best possible guest experience.  It is starting to show in both improved revenue and profitability.  While it's still early, we believe our renewed focus on operating fundamentals, coupled with our more streamlined support structure, will help us continue to grow and capture market share."

Adjustments to Earnings Per Share

  • Diluted net earnings per share from continuing operations for the second quarter were adversely affected by approximately $0.52 ($0.33 non-cash). This includes approximately:
      • 16 cents for restaurant-related asset impairments and lease buy-outs;
      • 16 cents from severance and other costs associated with the support expense reduction efforts announced during the quarter including the closing of its aviation department;
      • 8 cents due to legal, financial advisory and other costs related to the strategic review and associated actions in the proxy contest;
      • 7 cents for the impairment and related tax effects of the lobster aquaculture investment; and
      • 5 cents for debt breakage costs.
  • Excluding adjustments, earnings per diluted share from continuing operations on an adjusted basis were $0.28.

Fiscal 2015 Second Quarter Operating Summary and U.S. Same-Restaurant Sales (SRS) Results


Total
SRS

Total Sales
Millions

Total Sales
Growth

Olive Garden

0.5%

$882

1.4%

LongHorn Steakhouse

2.6%

$346

8.0%

Specialty Restaurant Group

3.2%

$329

13.0%

Operating profit and profit as a percentage of sales, adjusted for restaurant-related impairments, increased at LongHorn and the Specialty Restaurant Group. Both measures declined at Olive Garden primarily due to dairy inflation.

U.S. same-restaurant sales for the fiscal months of September, October and November as follows:

Olive Garden

September

October

November1

Same-Restaurant Sales

0.6%

0.2%

0.7%

Same-Restaurant Traffic

-4.2%

1.3%

-0.2%

Pricing

1.6%

2.0%

2.1%

Menu-mix

3.2%

-3.0%

-1.2%

LongHorn Steakhouse

September

October

November1

Same-Restaurant Sales

3.2%

3.5%

0.8%

Same-Restaurant Traffic

-0.5%

-1.0%

-2.1%

Pricing

2.2%

2.0%

2.1%

Menu-mix

1.5%

2.5%

0.8%

 

1

November same-restaurant sales negatively impacted by Halloween shift from Thursday last year to Friday this year by -0.8% at Olive Garden and -0.7% at LongHorn.

Fiscal 2015 Annual Financial Outlook
The Company announced that its current projection is for adjusted diluted net earnings per share from continuing operations for fiscal year 2015 to be between $2.25-$2.30, an increase of between 32% and 35% compared to fiscal year 2014.  This reflects the expectation that the Company's combined U.S. same-restaurant sales growth this fiscal year will be 1% to 2% and the impact of a 53rd operating week in the fiscal year.  The current earnings expectations for the year also reflect anticipated support cost savings of $10 million from the support cost reductions announced in the second quarter offset by cost pressures related to beef and dairy.

Fiscal 2015 Continuing Operations Diluted EPS


Q1

Q2

Annual

Projected*


Diluted Net EPS from Continuing Operations

($0.14)

($0.24)

$1.30 -$1.35


Shared Support Costs Related to Red Lobster

0.02

0.00

0.02


Other Strategic Action Plan Costs

0.03

0.08

0.11


Debt Breakage Costs

0.37

0.05

0.42


Asset Impairments and Other Costs

0.04

0.39

0.43


Adjusted Diluted Net EPS from Continuing Operations

$0.32

$0.28

$2.25 - $2.30


Adjusted EPS Growth vs Fiscal 2014

($0.04)

$0.16

$0.54 - $0.59


*Reflects the additional operating week vs. fiscal 2014













Dividend Declared
Darden's Board of Directors declared a regular quarterly cash dividend of $0.55 per share on the Company's outstanding common stock.  The dividend is payable on February 2, 2015 to shareholders of record at the close of business on January 9, 2015.

Investor Conference Call
The Company will host its Fiscal 2015 Second Quarter conference call on Tuesday, December 16, 2014 at 5:00 pm ET.  The conference call will be broadcast live over the Internet.  Gene Lee, Interim CEO, and other senior management invite you to listen to a discussion of second quarter results. To listen to the call live, please go to http://www.videonewswire.com/event.asp?id=101180 at least fifteen minutes early to register, download, and install any necessary audio software.  For those who cannot listen to the live broadcast, a replay will be available shortly after the call.  In addition we have posted a few informative slides that provide an overview of our first half results, a reconciliation of adjustments to second quarter earnings and our fiscal 2015 outlook.  These slides can be found on the Investors section of our website at: www.darden.com.

About Darden
Darden Restaurants, Inc., (NYSE: DRI), owns and operates more than 1,500 restaurants that generate over $6.3 billion in annual sales. Headquartered in Orlando, Florida, and employing more than 150,000 people, Darden is recognized for a culture that rewards caring for and responding to people. In 2014, Darden was named to the FORTUNE "100 Best Companies to Work For" list for the fourth year in a row and is the only full-service restaurant company to ever appear on the list. Our restaurant brands – Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse, Bahama Breeze, Seasons 52, The Capital Grille, Eddie V's and Yard House – reflect the rich diversity of those who dine with us. Our brands are built on deep insights into what our guests want. For more information, please visit www.darden.com

Information about Forward-Looking Statements
Forward-looking statements in this communication regarding our expected earnings performance and all other statements that are not historical facts, including without limitation statements concerning our future economic performance, are made under the Safe Harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Any forward-looking statements speak only as of the date on which such statements are first made, and we undertake no obligation to update such statements to reflect events or circumstances arising after such date. We wish to caution investors not to place undue reliance on any such forward-looking statements. By their nature, forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to materially differ from those anticipated in the statements. The most significant of these uncertainties are described in Darden's Form 10-K, Form 10-Q and Form 8-K reports. These risks and uncertainties include the ability to achieve Darden's strategic plan to enhance shareholder value including realizing the expected benefits from the sale of Red Lobster, food safety and food-borne illness concerns, litigation, unfavorable publicity, risks relating to public policy changes and federal, state and local regulation of our business, labor and insurance costs, technology failures, failure to execute a business continuity plan following a disaster, health concerns including virus outbreaks, intense competition, failure to drive sales growth, our plans to expand our smaller brands Bahama Breeze, Seasons 52 and Eddie V's, higher-than-anticipated costs to open, close, relocate or remodel restaurants, a failure to execute innovative marketing tactics, a failure to develop and recruit effective leaders, a failure to address cost pressures, shortages or interruptions in the delivery of food and other products and services, adverse weather conditions and natural disasters, volatility in the market value of derivatives, economic factors specific to the restaurant industry and general macroeconomic factors including interest rates, disruptions in the financial markets, risks of doing business with franchisees and vendors in foreign markets, failure to protect our intellectual property, impairment in the carrying value of our goodwill or other intangible assets, an inability or failure to manage the accelerated impact of social media and other factors and uncertainties discussed from time to time in reports filed by Darden with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Non-GAAP Information

The information in this press release includes financial information determined by methods other than in accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America ("GAAP"), such as adjusted diluted net earnings per share from continuing operations.  The Company's management uses these non-GAAP measures in its analysis of the Company's performance.  The Company believes that the presentation of certain non-GAAP measures provides useful supplemental information that is essential to a proper understanding of the operating results of the Company's businesses.  These non-GAAP disclosures should not be viewed as a substitute for operating results determined in accordance with GAAP, nor are they necessarily comparable to non-GAAP performance measures that may be presented by other companies. A reconciliation of these non-GAAP measures can be found under the "Financial Information" section of the "Investors" section of the Company's website (www.darden.com).

Fiscal 2015 Second Quarter Reported to Adjusted Earnings Reconciliation


2014

2015

% Change

Diluted Net EPS from Continuing Operations

$0.05

($0.24)

NA

Shared Support Costs Related to Red Lobster

0.04

0.00


Other Strategic Action Plan Costs

0.03

0.08


Debt Breakage Costs

0.00

0.05


Asset Impairments and Other Costs

0.00

0.39


Adjusted Diluted Net EPS from Continuing Operations

$0.12

$0.28

133%





 

DARDEN RESTAURANTS, INC.

NUMBER OF COMPANY-OWNED RESTAURANTS






11/23/14




11/24/13

838


Olive Garden USA


828

6


Olive Garden Canada


6

844


Total Olive Garden


834

472


LongHorn Steakhouse


445

55


The Capital Grille


52

36


Bahama Breeze


36

42


Seasons 52


35

15


Eddie V's


13

56


Yard House


48

0


Other


4

1,520


Darden Continuing
Operations


1,467

 

DARDEN RESTAURANTS, INC.

CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF EARNINGS

(In millions, except per share data)

(Unaudited)






Three Months Ended


Six Months Ended


11/23/2014


11/24/2013


11/23/2014


11/24/2013

Sales

$

1,559.0



$

1,485.6



$

3,154.8



$

3,017.0


Costs and expenses:












Cost of sales:












Food and beverage

485.5



447.0



987.5



901.1


Restaurant labor

506.8



491.6



1,015.1



983.0


Restaurant expenses

277.4



261.9



549.7



524.5


Total cost of sales (1)

$

1,269.7



$

1,200.5



$

2,552.3



$

2,408.6


Selling, general and administrative

190.4



174.7



350.4



340.1


Depreciation and amortization

80.1



75.5



158.8



149.7


Interest, net

33.7



32.9



145.0



65.7


Asset impairment, net

39.7



0.2



46.6



1.2


Total costs and expenses

$

1,613.6



$

1,483.8



$

3,253.1



$

2,965.3


(Loss) earnings before income taxes

(54.6)



1.8



(98.3)



51.7


Income tax (benefit) expense

(23.8)



(4.2)



(48.2)



3.4


(Loss) earnings from continuing operations

$

(30.8)



$

6.0



$

(50.1)



$

48.3


(Loss) earnings from discontinued operations, net of tax (benefit) 
     expense of $(1.5), $2.5, $319.3 and $13.2, respectively

(2.0)



13.8



520.5



41.7


Net (loss) earnings

$

(32.8)



$

19.8



$

470.4



$

90.0














Basic net earnings per share:












(Loss) earnings from continuing operations

$

(0.24)



$

0.05



$

(0.39)



$

0.37


(Loss) earnings from discontinued operations

(0.02)



0.10



4.01



0.32


Net (loss) earnings

$

(0.26)



$

0.15



$

3.62



$

0.69


Diluted net earnings per share:












(Loss) earnings from continuing operations

$

(0.24)



$

0.05



$

(0.39)



$

0.36


(Loss) earnings from discontinued operations

(0.02)



0.10



4.01



0.32


Net (loss) earnings

$

(0.26)



$

0.15



$

3.62



$

0.68


Average number of common shares outstanding:












Basic

127.7



130.6



130.0



130.4


Diluted

127.7



132.8



130.0



132.7














(1) Excludes restaurant depreciation and amortization as follows:

$

73.4



$

70.1



$

146.0



$

139.0


 

DARDEN RESTAURANTS, INC.

CONSOLIDATED BALANCE SHEETS

(In millions)



11/23/2014


5/25/2014


(Unaudited)




ASSETS






Current assets:






Cash and cash equivalents

$

157.5



$

98.3


Receivables, net

66.7



83.8


Inventories

193.5



196.8


Prepaid income taxes

9.2



10.9


Prepaid expenses and other current assets

74.9



72.3


Deferred income taxes

172.7



124.0


Assets held for sale

44.9



1,390.3


Total current assets

$

719.4



$

1,976.4


Land, buildings and equipment, net

3,338.3



3,381.0


Goodwill

872.5



872.5


Trademarks

574.6



574.6


Other assets

283.1



296.2


Total assets

$

5,787.9



$

7,100.7


LIABILITIES AND STOCKHOLDERS' EQUITY






Current liabilities:






Accounts payable

$

201.8



$

233.1


Short-term debt

20.0



207.6


Accrued payroll

104.6



125.7


Accrued income taxes

135.4




Other accrued taxes

66.0



64.5


Unearned revenues

265.7



299.7


Current portion of long-term debt

15.0



15.0


Other current liabilities

497.5



457.4


Liabilities associated with assets held for sale



215.5


Total current liabilities

$

1,306.0



$

1,618.5


Long-term debt, less current portion

1,468.4



2,481.4


Deferred income taxes

279.8



286.1


Deferred rent

218.8



206.2


Obligations under capital leases, net of current installments

50.8



52.0


Other liabilities

358.6



299.6


Total liabilities

$

3,682.4



$

4,943.8


Stockholders' equity:






Common stock and surplus

$

1,200.7



$

1,302.2


Retained earnings

997.3



995.8


Treasury stock

(7.8)



(7.8)


Accumulated other comprehensive income (loss)

(79.8)



(128.1)


Unearned compensation

(4.9)



(5.2)


Total stockholders' equity

$

2,105.5



$

2,156.9


Total liabilities and stockholders' equity

$

5,787.9



$

7,100.7


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To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/darden-restaurants-reports-second-quarter-results-tightens-adjusted-earnings-outlook-for-the-full-fiscal-year-and-declares-regular-quarterly-dividend-300010708.html

SOURCE Darden Restaurants, Inc.: Financial

(Analysts) Rick Cardenas (407) 245-5892 or (Media) Ron DeFeo (407) 245-5562
Mon, 08 Dec 2014 09:00:00 -0500

ORLANDO, Fla., Dec. 8, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Darden Restaurants, Inc., Orlando, FL, (DRI) will host its Fiscal 2015 Second Quarter conference call on Tuesday, December 16, 2014 at 5:00 pm ET.  The conference call will be broadcast live over the Internet.  Gene Lee, Interim CEO, and other senior management invite you to listen to a discussion of second quarter results. The subjects to be covered may also include forward-looking information, such as the outlook for the current month or quarter, and the company's previously-announced earnings guidance.  Questions may be posed to management by participants on the call and in response the company may disclose additional material information.

A copy of our press release announcing our earnings, the Form 8-K used to file the release with the Securities and Exchange Commission, and any other financial and statistical information about the period covered in the conference call, including any information required by Regulation G, will be available under the heading "Investor Relations" on our website at www.darden.com.

To listen to the call live, please go to the following website at least fifteen minutes early to register, download, and install any necessary audio software.  For those who cannot listen to the live broadcast, a replay will be available shortly after the call.

What:              

Darden Restaurants, Inc. FY15 Second Quarter Earnings Conference Call

When:             

5:00 pm ET, Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Where:                       

http://www.videonewswire.com/event.asp?id=101180

How:               

Live over the Internet – Simply log on to the web at the address above

Darden Restaurants, Inc., (NYSE: DRI), the world's largest full-service restaurant company, owns and operates more than 1,500 restaurants that generate over $6.3 billion in annual sales. Headquartered in Orlando, Fla., and employing more than 150,000 people, Darden is recognized for a culture that rewards caring for and responding to people. In 2014, Darden was named to the FORTUNE "100 Best Companies to Work For" list for the fourth year in a row and is the only full-service restaurant company to ever appear on the list. Our restaurant brands – Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse, Bahama Breeze, Seasons 52, The Capital Grille, Eddie V's and Yard House – reflect the rich diversity of those who dine with us. Our brands are built on deep insights into what our guests want. For more information, please visit www.darden.com

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SOURCE Darden Restaurants, Inc.: Financial

(Analysts) Rick Cardenas, (407) 245-5892, (Media), Ron DeFeo, (407) 245-5562
Mon, 24 Nov 2014 09:00:00 -0500

Orlando, Fla. – (Nov. 24, 2014) – For the third consecutive year, Darden Restaurants scored 100 out of 100 on the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) 2015 Corporate Equality Index (CEI), one of 366 companies to do so. The HRC’s annual index is a renowned national benchmarking tool for U.S. businesses in the increasingly important issue of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) inclusion and equality in the workplace.

“Diversity and inclusion are business imperatives at Darden, and our commitment extends to and embraces the LGBT community,” said Daisy Ng, Chief Human Resources Officer for Darden. “Fostering a diverse workforce further enables us to retain the best, most talented team members in the industry and deliver on our core purpose – ‘to nourish and delight everyone we serve’.”

A total of 971 businesses – including the entire Fortune 500 – were rated on a number of factors grouped within four main criteria: equal employment opportunity policy; employment benefits; organizational LGBT competency; and public commitment to LGBT-specific efforts. Businesses rated 100% are recognized as “Best Places to Work for LGBT Equality.”

"In order to achieve a perfect score, a company has to show a deep and serious commitment to treating their LGBT employees fairly and equally on the job,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “We also look at whether a company is speaking out in the public square to advocate for LGBT equality here in this country and around the world. Darden not only meets these standards, it goes above and beyond the call of duty, making commitment to equality a fundamental aspect of its corporate values."

Since its founding in 1938, Darden has welcomed and celebrated the diversity of its guests, employees, suppliers and the communities it serves. To maximize the potential of employees, Darden has implemented a number of programs focused around the diversity of its workforce, suppliers and local communities, including a curriculum-based Diversity Learning Experience (DLE) for leaders at all levels of the company. More than 17,000 leaders have participated in DLE training since it was implemented nearly 10 years ago.

About the Human Rights Campaign
The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all. Launched in 2002, the HRC’s Corporate Equality Index has become the gold standard for corporate policies and practices related to LGBT employees and their families. View the full report at www.hrc.org/cei.

About Darden Restaurants
Darden Restaurants, Inc., (NYSE: DRI), owns and operates more than 1,500 restaurants that generate approximately $6.3 billion in annual sales. Headquartered in Orlando, Fla., and employing 150,000 people, Darden is recognized for a culture that rewards caring for and responding to people. In 2014, Darden was named to the FORTUNE "100 Best Companies to Work For" list for the fourth year in a row. Our restaurant brands – Olive Garden®, LongHorn Steakhouse®, Bahama Breeze®, Seasons 52®, The Capital Grille®, Eddie V's® and Yard House® – reflect the rich diversity of those who dine with us. Our brands are built on deep insights into what our guests want. For more information, please visit www.darden.com.

Tue, 18 Nov 2014 16:30:00 -0500

Actions Will Sharpen Focus on Operations and Guest Experience While Reducing Costs
Plan Includes Senior Leadership Changes, Streamlining of Support and Operations Functions, and Closure of Corporate Aviation Department

ORLANDO, Fla., Nov. 18, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Darden Restaurants, Inc. (NYSE: DRI) today announced several leadership changes and strategic actions in order to increase the focus on restaurant operations and improve the guest experience.  These changes will better position Darden to win the battle for market share across all of its concepts.

These actions include the following: 

  • Streamlining its support functions to further facilitate guest-focused work that benefits the restaurants and reduces G&A spending.
  • Eliminating a layer of operations field management at Olive Garden and LongHorn to provide greater visibility and accountability for restaurant leadership.
  • Closing Darden's aviation operations.

"Winning market share, improving same-restaurant-sales and achieving best-in-class profitability are our key operational objectives going forward, so we need to fine-tune our approach to the business to make sure we are laser-focused on these initiatives," said Darden Interim Chief Executive Officer Gene Lee.  "The actions announced today are critically important steps in becoming more efficient in how we support the restaurants.  This includes limiting the number of distractions that divert our attention from what matters most – continually working to improve the food and service we offer our guests."

In addition to improving focus and providing better support for the company's restaurants, today's announcement will lead to approximately $20 million in annualized cost savings through a reduction in General and Administrative expenses.  The company expects savings of approximately $10 million this fiscal year which will mitigate anticipated near-term cost increases in dairy, beef and other commodities.

Senior Leadership Changes

Brad Richmond, Chief Financial Officer for the past eight years, announced his intention to retire after 32 years with the company.  His retirement will be effective at the end of March 2015 or sooner if a successor is appointed.  Internal and external candidates will be considered as the company identifies his replacement.

Daisy Ng, Chief Human Resources Officer, will transition out of her role after more than nine years with Darden.  Danielle Kirgan, currently Senior Vice President, Human Resources, Specialty Restaurant Group and Total Rewards, will assume Ms. Ng's position effective January 5, 2015.  Ms. Ng will assist in the transition and support the work of the Board of Directors including the work of the Compensation Committee.

Bob McAdam, SVP Government and Community Affairs for the past eight years, will depart the company at the end of the calendar year.  He will assist the company through the end of the calendar year to transition his responsibilities to other functions within the company.

Mr. Lee said, "We are grateful for the contributions that each of these leaders has made to Darden and we wish them well as they look to their future."

Support Functions

In addition to the leadership changes, the Company announced it is streamlining its support staff structure in an effort to create a more efficient and nimble organization.  This restructuring will have a direct impact on approximately 60 employees and the company will also eliminate 25 open positions. 

The new structure is designed to eliminate inefficiencies and ensure the support functions are focused on guest-facing initiatives.  The changes occurred at all levels across the marketing, development, aviation, external affairs and field operations management functions. 

Mr. Lee said, "While these changes will significantly improve how we operate, it is always difficult to take actions that have an impact on the dedicated individuals who have made significant contributions to our company.  Departing employees will receive severance and other benefits appropriate to their position and tenure that are consistent with our values.  We thank them for their contributions to Darden."

Restructuring Olive Garden and LongHorn Field Leadership

The company will eliminate one layer of field operations supervision to provide greater line of sight for restaurant leadership teams.  This streamlining is expected to result in improvements in both visibility and accountability as the brand leaders at Olive Garden and LongHorn continue to work on improving the guest experience.

Corporate Aviation

Concurrent with the support restructuring, the Company has made the decision to close down its aviation department.  The Company will cease flight operations immediately and expects to sell its aircraft in due course.

Charges Related to These Actions

As a result of today's news, the Company anticipates incurring one-time charges during this current second fiscal quarter of 2015.  The charges primarily consist of severance and other costs associated with the Company's private aviation operation.  Details will be discussed on the Company's second quarter earnings call on December 16. 

Investor Relations

As part of the restructuring, there has been a change in the investor relations contact person.  For investor relations inquiries, please contact Rick Cardenas at (407) 245-5892.

About Darden Restaurants 

Darden Restaurants, Inc., (NYSE: DRI), owns and operates more than 1,500 restaurants that generate approximately $6.3 billion in annual sales. Headquartered in Orlando, Fla., and employing 150,000 people, Darden is recognized for a culture that rewards caring for and responding to people. In 2014, Darden was named to the FORTUNE "100 Best Companies to Work For" list for the fourth year in a row. Our restaurant brands – Olive Garden®, LongHorn Steakhouse®, Bahama Breeze®, Seasons 52®, The Capital Grille®, Eddie V's® and Yard House® – reflect the rich diversity of those who dine with us. Our brands are built on deep insights into what our guests want. For more information, please visit www.darden.com.

Information About Forward-Looking Statements 

Forward-looking statements in this communication regarding our ability to improve performance across our brands and enhance shareholder value and all other statements that are not historical facts, including without limitation statements concerning our future economic performance, plans or objectives and expectations, benefits to Darden and its shareholders from such sale and related matters, are made under the Safe Harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Any forward-looking statements speak only as of the date on which such statements are made, and we undertake no obligation to update such statements to reflect events or circumstances arising after such date except as required by law. We wish to caution investors not to place undue reliance on any such forward-looking statements. By their nature, forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to materially differ from those anticipated in the statements. The most significant of these uncertainties are described in Darden's Form 10-K, Form 10-Q and Form 8-K reports (including all amendments to those reports). These risks and uncertainties include the ability to achieve Darden's strategic plan to enhance shareholder value including realizing the expected benefits from the sale of Red Lobster, food safety and food-borne illness concerns, litigation, unfavorable publicity, risks relating to public policy changes and federal, state and local regulation of our business including health care reform, labor and insurance costs, technology failures, failure to execute a business continuity plan following a disaster, health concerns including virus outbreaks, intense competition, failure to drive sales growth, our plans to expand our smaller brands Bahama Breeze, Seasons 52 and Eddie V's, a lack of suitable new restaurant locations, higher-than-anticipated costs to open, close, relocate or remodel restaurants, a failure to execute innovative marketing tactics and increased advertising and marketing costs, a failure to develop and recruit effective leaders, a failure to address cost pressures, shortages or interruptions in the delivery of food and other products, adverse weather conditions and natural disasters, volatility in the market value of derivatives, economic factors specific to the restaurant industry and general macroeconomic factors including unemployment and interest rates, disruptions in the financial markets, risks of doing business with franchisees and vendors in foreign markets, failure to protect our service marks or other intellectual property, impairment in the carrying value of our goodwill or other intangible assets, a failure of our internal controls over financial reporting, or changes in accounting standards, an inability or failure to manage the accelerated impact of social media and other factors and uncertainties discussed from time to time in reports filed by Darden with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

SOURCE Darden Restaurants, Inc.

Media: Ron DeFeo (407) 245-5562; Analysts: Rick Cardenas (407) 245-5892
Thu, 13 Nov 2014 08:30:00 -0500

ORLANDO, Fla., Nov. 13, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Darden Restaurants, Inc. (NYSE: DRI) today announced that, following a comprehensive review of the Company's corporate governance practices, the Board of Directors is implementing a number of reforms designed to ensure that the Company's policies are aligned with shareholder interests and corporate governance best practices.  In addition to taking immediate action, the Board has also recommended changes that would require shareholder approval at the company's 2015 Annual Meeting of Shareholders. 

"The Board has a responsibility to be responsive to our shareholders and align with corporate governance best practices," said Jeff Smith, Chairman of the Board.  "We have already implemented a number of changes and we will seek shareholder approval for several more – chief among them being increased transparency, improved accountability, and enhanced shareholder engagement."

The changes include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Termination of the Company's Shareholder Rights Plan ("Poison Pill") – The Company has eliminated the Poison Pill by amending the Rights Agreement to expire on November 28, 2014 rather than May 25, 2015.
  • Majority Voting Standard for Election of Directors – The Company has adopted a majority voting standard in uncontested elections.
  • Political Contributions and Lobbying Report – The Company has amended its political engagement and disclosure policy to provide additional disclosure of its political contributions and lobbying efforts.
  • Ability of Shareholders to Call a Special Meeting – The Board has resolved to recommend for shareholder approval, at the Company's next annual meeting, an amendment to the Charter to provide a 10% voting threshold to call a special meeting.
  • Elimination of Supermajority Vote for Certain Charter Amendments – The Board has resolved to recommend for shareholder approval, at the Company's next annual meeting, an amendment to the relevant provisions of the Charter to eliminate the supermajority requirement.

A complete overview of the Company's corporate governance reforms can be found on the Events & Presentations page within the Investors section of the Company's website.

In addition to the corporate governance reforms, the Board also adopted a revised peer group for compensation benchmarking, which better matches the company's size and profile.  This new peer group will assist the board in further aligning compensation practices with shareholder interests. 

Finally, the Company announced it has moved its previously scheduled December 19 second quarter earnings release and conference call for analysts and investors to December 16.

The Company will be distributing a definitive proxy statement to the shareholders entitled to vote at the Annual Meeting. WE URGE INVESTORS TO READ ANY PROXY STATEMENT (INCLUDING ANY SUPPLEMENTS THERETO) AND ANY OTHER RELEVANT DOCUMENTS THAT THE COMPANY MAY FILE WITH THE SEC CAREFULLY AND IN THEIR ENTIRETY WHEN THEY BECOME AVAILABLE BECAUSE THEY WILL CONTAIN IMPORTANT INFORMATION. Stockholders will be able to obtain, free of charge, copies of any proxy statement and any other documents filed by the Company with the SEC in connection with the possible proxy solicitations at the SEC's website at www.sec.gov. In addition, copies will also be available at no charge at the Investors section of the Company's website at http://investor.darden.com/investors/investor-relations/default.aspx

About Darden Restaurants 
Darden Restaurants, Inc., (NYSE: DRI), owns and operates more than 1,500 restaurants that generate approximately $6.3 billion in annual sales. Headquartered in Orlando, Fla., and employing 150,000 people, Darden is recognized for a culture that rewards caring for and responding to people. In 2014, Darden was named to the FORTUNE "100 Best Companies to Work For" list for the fourth year in a row. Our restaurant brands – Olive Garden®, LongHorn Steakhouse®, Bahama Breeze®, Seasons 52®, The Capital Grille®, Eddie V's® and Yard House® – reflect the rich diversity of those who dine with us. Our brands are built on deep insights into what our guests want. For more information, please visit www.darden.com.

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SOURCE Darden Restaurants, Inc.: General

(Analysts) Matthew Stroud, (407) 245-5288, (Media) Bob McAdam, (407) 245-5366
Wed, 05 Nov 2014 09:12:00 -0500

ORLANDO, Fla., Nov. 5, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Darden Restaurants, Inc. (NYSE: DRI) today announced it has retained Korn Ferry, a leading global executive search firm, to assist the Company with the recruitment of its next Chief Executive Officer.  The Company's Board of Directors CEO Search Committee is leading and managing the search process, which will include both internal and external candidates.

"The selection of Darden's next CEO is our top priority," said Jeff Smith, Chairman of the Board and Chair of the CEO Search Committee.  "With the new Board now firmly in place, we wanted to work with a leading search firm that will give us a fresh perspective to help identify the best and most appropriate talent for Darden.  We are pleased to be working with Korn Ferry as our highly capable partner for this critically important search."

Smith continued, "Although no candidates have been formally interviewed yet, either by the current Board or the former Board, Korn Ferry, in conjunction with the CEO Search Committee, is working expeditiously to identify the next leader of Darden."

Concurrent with this announcement, the Company is concluding its work with Russell Reynolds Associates, effective immediately. 

About Darden Restaurants 

Darden Restaurants, Inc., (NYSE: DRI), owns and operates more than 1,500 restaurants that generate approximately $6.3 billion in annual sales. Headquartered in Orlando, Fla., and employing 150,000 people, Darden is recognized for a culture that rewards caring for and responding to people. In 2014, Darden was named to the FORTUNE "100 Best Companies to Work For" list for the fourth year in a row. Our restaurant brands – Olive Garden®, LongHorn Steakhouse®, Bahama Breeze®, Seasons 52®, The Capital Grille®, Eddie V's® and Yard House® – reflect the rich diversity of those who dine with us. Our brands are built on deep insights into what our guests want. For more information, please visit www.darden.com.

Logo - http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20050203/FLTH026LOGO

SOURCE Darden Restaurants, Inc.: General

(Analysts) Matthew Stroud, (407) 245-5288; (Media) Bob McAdam, (407) 245-5366