This last year has seen a number of changes at Darden, including the sale of Red Lobster and a variety of other initiatives designed to position our restaurants for long-term success.
These strategic initiatives are driving improved operating performance and we are excited about the journey we are on – one that is designed to strengthen the most important elements of our business: improving the quality of our food and the service we provide to our guests.
Amidst all the change, there’s one thing that remains constant - our emphasis on corporate citizenship. This means our commitment to provide our guests with nutritious, high-quality and responsibly-sourced food, to support and develop our team members and to give back to our communities and protect the natural environment. We describe this as our commitment to “People, Planet & Plate."
We know that in today’s fast-evolving, full-service dining industry, corporate citizenship is more important than ever. Our guests have an ever-expanding definition of fresh, nutritious and high-quality food, and want to feel good about what they are eating and how it was produced. Our employees want to work for a company they believe in, that supports them and their aspirations, and that respects people and the environment across our operations. And our neighbors want to know that our restaurants are giving back to the local community.
Our restaurants are committed to making a difference in the lives of others. The Darden Harvest Program has provided more than 77 million pounds of food to local community food banks across the country – that is the equivalent of 156 million servings of lasagna or 68 million ribeye steaks! Through our Restaurant Community Grants program, each of our restaurants choose a nonprofit organization making a difference in the communities where we do business, and awards them a $1,000 grant to support their mission. Since 2012, our restaurants have awarded nearly $10 million to more than 2,700 nonprofits.
Darden has also set aggressive goals in the area of sustainability and protection of natural resources. Our restaurants have diverted nearly 1.8 million pounds of waste from landfills, reduced our per-restaurant water use by nearly 24%, and our per-restaurant energy use by 12.5%.
While we have much to be proud of, we also know that citizenship is an ongoing journey – and a critical part of continuing to nourish and delight everyone we serve.
See you in our restaurants...
President & Chief Executive Officer