Go To

Fortune 500 Job Source

Florida Job Source

Company Profiles

Darden Restaurants

Operates Olive Garden and Longhouse Steakhouse chains.

1000 Darden Center Drive
Orlando, FL 32837
Employees: 156,883
CEO: Eugene Lee
Stock Symbol: DRI

Website: http://www.darden.com

Career Site

Darden Restaurants operates some of the best known restaurant chains in the country including Olive Garden, Longhouse Steakhouse, Cheddar's Scratch Kitchen, Bahama Breeze, The Capital Grille, Seasons 52, Eddie Vs and Yard House. Olive Garden is the nation's largest casual restaurant serving Italian food.

Darden has 1,834 restaurants in the USA and Canada. These include 875 Olive Garden restaurants, 533 Longhorn Steakhouse restaurants, 170 Cheddar's Scratch Kitchen restaurants, 81 Yard House restaurants, 42 Bahama Breeze restaurants, 63 Capital Grille restaurants, 26 Eddie V's restaurants and 44 Seasons 52 locations. There are also 57 franchised locations.

Olive Garden is the largest full-service Italian dining restaurant chain in the United States. Olive Garden offers a variety of Italian foods featuring fresh ingredients presented simply with a focus on flavor and quality, and a broad selection of imported Italian wines. In 1982, Olive Garden opened its first restaurant in Orlando, FL.

Most dinner menu entrée prices at Olive Garden range from $10.00 to $20.00 , and most lunch menu entrée prices range from $8.00 to $10.00 . The price of each entrée includes all-you-can-eat fresh salad or soup and breadsticks. During fiscal 2021 , the average check per person (defined as total sales divided by number of entrées sold) was approximately $20.00 , with alcoholic beverages accounting for 4.7 percent of Olive Garden’s sales.

LongHorn Steakhouse is a full-service steakhouse restaurant with locations primarily in the eastern United States, operating in an atmosphere inspired by the American West. LongHorn Steakhouse restaurants feature a variety of menu items including signature fresh steaks and chicken, as well as salmon, shrimp, ribs, pork chops and burgers.

Most dinner menu entrée prices range from $11.50 to $31.50, and most lunch menu entrée prices range from $8.00 to $12.00 . The price of most entrées includes a side and/or salad and all-you-can-eat fresh baked bread. During fiscal 2021 , the average check per person was approximately $23.00 , with alcoholic beverages accounting for 7.9 percent of LongHorn Steakhouse’s sales.

Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen is a full-service restaurant operating primarily in Texas and throughout the southern, midwestern and mid-Atlantic regions of the United States. The casual dining menu features modern classics and American favorites cooked 2 from scratch.

Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen opened its first restaurant in 1979 and was acquired by Darden in April 2017. Most lunch and dinner menu entrée prices range from $8.00 to $19.00 . During fiscal 2021, the average check per person was approximately $16.00, with alcoholic beverages accounting for 8.1 percent of Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen’s sales.

For fiscal 2021, Darden had total sales of $7.2 billion, down 7.8% from the previous year, and net earnings of $629.3 million. Olive Garden sales were down 9.9% from 2020.

The company plans to open 30-40 new restaurants in fiscal 2022.

Each Olive Garden restaurant is led by a general manager, and each LongHorn Steakhouse and Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen restaurant is led by a managing partner. Each also has three to six additional managers, depending on the operating complexity and sales volume of the restaurant. In addition, each restaurant typically employs between 35 to 200 hourly team members, most of whom work part-time. Restaurant general managers or managing partners report to a director of operations who is responsible for approximately five to eleven restaurants. Each director of operations reports to a Senior Vice President of Operations who is responsible for between 80 and 120 restaurants.

Restaurants are visited regularly by operations management, including officer level executives, to help ensure strict adherence to all aspects of standards and to solicit feedback on opportunities for improvement.

Darden said hourly employees earn $18 an hour including tips. 58% of hourly workers are female. This the average hourly rate across all Darden restaurant brands for the following positions as of May 30, 2021:

Bartender - $27.75

Server - $24.47

Culinary - $15.96

Kitchen Utility - $14.00

Busser - $13.25

Host - $12.78


The first Red Lobster opened in 1968 in Lakeland, FL as a "Harbor for Seafood Lovers" and was founded by Bill Darden who preached great service and quality seafood. A 19-year old Joe Lee would help Darden run the restaurants and would become President of Red Lobster as the company expanded in the Southeast. Red Lobster would become the nation's leading restaurant chain.

Darden Restaurants was spun off from General Mills in 1995 and included Olive Garden, which opened its first restaurant in Orlando on Dec. 13, 1982. Olive Garden was developed by General Mills Restaurants.

In October 2007, LongHorn Steakhouse joined Darden as part of the RARE Hospitality International, Inc. (RARE) acquisition.

In 2011, Darden purchased Eddie V's Prime Seafood and Wildfish Seafood Grille restaurant brands for $59 million.

In August 2012, Darden purchased Yard House USA for $585 million, a chain with 40 restaurants in 13 states.

In 2014, Darden sold the Red Lobster chain for $2.1 billion to Golden Gate Capital.

In 2017, Darden purchased the Cheddar's Scratch Kitchen chain of restaurants for $780 million.


Here are some of the benefits provided to restaurant workers by Darden.

Health Insurance: Employees with 1 year of service averaging 30 or more hours per week have access to multiple plans with multiple insurance carriers offered through a Private Health Exchange.

Discounts: The Dining Discount program lets you and up to seven friends enjoy a discount of 25% at any Darden Restaurant.

Paid sick leave: Earn one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked, and you can use up to 40 hours of paid sick leave per calendar year.

Vacation: One week of paid vacation; two weeks after 3 years and three weeks after 7 years.

Retirement: For workers 21 or older, you can contribute 25% of pay to a 401(k) and Darden will match up to 6%.

Stock purchase: 15% discount for eligible employees.

Pet insurance: Available immediately upon hire

Updated September 19, 2021