Each of our restaurant brands hosts annual leadership conferences, which includes an awards night. Some awards are individual awards, such as LongHorn Steakhouse’s Best of the West, awarded to top Managing Partners who not only achieve top financial results but also exemplify Darden's commitment to develop employees and encourage them to pursue their dreams. Best of the West winner Charles Fleck of Monroe, Georgia, knows the importance of developing his team. He purposely places a strong emphasis on making sure his team is happy and taken care of and knows that commitment will transfer to guest satisfaction.
Another example is the Red Lobster Community Involvement Award, which is presented to leaders who actively support their communities. Matt Dipiero, General Manager of the Red Lobster in Philadelphia, was presented this award for his dedication to the Philabundance Community Kitchen program, a 14-week culinary arts training program that prepares low-income men and women to work in restaurant kitchens. Matt often teaches classes and has even hired five team members from the program.
In addition to individual awards, restaurant teams are recognized. Red Lobster annually presents their Team Excellence Award to a select number of Red Lobster teams who foster exceptional guest satisfaction and dining experiences through their teamwork. The Merrillville, Indiana, Red Lobster team, a group of more than 85 employees, was one of the recipients in this category. Their focus on teamwork results in friendly service and delicious food.
Darden's Specialty Restaurant Group also recognizes teams who consistently achieve the highest guest satisfaction survey results. The Phoenix, Arizona, Seasons 52 team was one restaurant to win this award. They attribute their success to their service-focused culture built on personalized service and anticipating guest needs.
We know that keeping a people-focused culture is critical to our success here at Darden, so we are constantly looking for ways to reward the hard work of our employees. Giving out these awards is something we look forward to every year.
Related Posts: For more information, please see our previous Darden Digest post about our Diamond Club Award winners as well as business performance expert and Diamond Club Awards keynote speaker Ryan Estis' recap of the event.
Pictured: Darden Restaurants President and Chief Operating Officer Gene Lee recognizes distinguished Managing Partners and General Managers at the Specialty Restaurant Group awards dinner.