The Monroe Olive Garden fire occurred around noon. The restaurant was quickly evacuated with no injuries to any of our guests or team members. The Jacksonville Olive Garden fire occurred overnight, lasting three hours, with the restaurant’s leadership being notified around 4 a.m.
Within 24 hours of each fire, both of the affected restaurants’ team members were called into meetings to go over next steps and the support they would receive. The restaurant leadership teams knew the importance of timely communication and did not want to leave their team members waiting for information. Multiple departments from Darden’s Restaurant Support Center, such as Payroll, Design & Construction, Media & Communications, and Restaurant Support Services, jumped into action so leadership could communicate as much information as possible to team members. One Olive Garden team member commented that during the initial team meeting, everything was covered; even things she didn’t think of.
Almost immediately, leadership from other Darden restaurants in Monroe and Jacksonville moved quickly to offer positions at their restaurants. Representatives from Red Lobster, LongHorn Steakhouse, Bahama Breeze and other Olive Garden locations, as well as other Darden restaurants, came to the team member meetings to show their support and offer available roles. Team members were paid for the entire week they could not work due to the fires, and relocation support was provided for team members as they transitioned to their new locations.
Despite the unfortunate nature of the events that occurred, we’re proud of our entire Darden family for helping each other out and ensuring the restaurants felt supported every step of the way. We’re also grateful for the strong support we received from the communities of Monroe and Jacksonville. And we’re especially grateful for the strength and flexibility our employees demonstrated during these difficult times. We’re proud that they remain a part of the Darden family.