Executive Leadership

Darden is led by one of the most experienced leadership teams in the industry.

Ian Baines

President, Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen

Ian Baines was named President of Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen in October 2014. He leads a company with 140 restaurants, more than 15,000 team members and $617 million in annual sales.

Ian is an industry veteran with more than 40 years of experience in culinary and restaurant operations. He began his career as a fine dining chef, working in both Toronto and London, for 15 years. Prior to joining Cheddar’s, he served as Chief Executive Officer and President at Uno Restaurant Holdings Corporation for three years. Prior to that, he served as Senior Vice President of Strategic Innovation for Brinker International, Inc.

Darden’s acquisition of Cheddar’s in April 2017, marked a return to Darden for Ian. Earlier in his career, he was President of Smokey Bones Bar & Fire Grill where he was responsible for the turnaround and restructuring of the 70-restaurant company before successfully leading it through a sale by Darden to a private equity firm.

Ian is a graduate of the culinary school of Westminster College in London.

Darden owns and operates more than 1,600 Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse, Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen, Yard House, The Capital Grille, Seasons 52, Bahama Breeze and Eddie V’s restaurants in North America, employing 165,000 people and serving 380 million guests annually.

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