Executive Leadership

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

John Wilkerson

President, Bahama Breeze

John Wilkerson was named President of Bahama Breeze in September 2016. John leads a company with more than 30 locations across the country, 4,500 team members and $200 million in annual sales.

Known nationally for popularizing many Caribbean-inspired foods with American consumers, Bahama Breeze is the casual dining restaurant that brings you the feeling of a Caribbean escape, offering the food, drink and atmosphere you would find in the islands.

John has demonstrated strong leadership with a track record of success throughout his 23-year career with Darden. Most recently, he served as Senior Vice President, Operations for Bahama Breeze for six years. In that role, he created 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 1,600 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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