Executive Leadership

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

John Wilkerson

President, Cheddar's Scratch Kitchen

John Wilkerson was named President of Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen in July 2018. John, who is also a member of Darden Restaurants’ Executive Team, leads a company with more than 150 restaurants, 19,000 team members and $653 million in annual sales.

John has demonstrated strong leadership with a track record of success throughout his 25-year career with Darden. Most recently, he served as President of Bahama Breeze, where he developed and executed against a strategic plan that continuously delivered same-restaurant sales growth, improved the guest experience and transformed the Bahama Breeze culture.

John began his career with Darden as an hourly crew member at Red Lobster before entering the Manager in Training (MIT) program and ultimately being promoted to General Manager. He transitioned to the Restaurant Support Center six years later as Sr. Financial Analyst for Red Lobster. But operations was always his passion — John held many operations leadership roles over the course of his career culminating with his SVP role at Bahama Breeze.

John holds two Bachelor of Science degrees from the University of North Alabama -- one in Finance and the other in Economics.

Darden owns and operates more than 1,700 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 more than 180,000 people and serving nearly 390 million guests annually.

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