Darden Restaurants appoints Dave George as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer

ORLANDO, Fla., 2018-Jan-24 — /EPR Retail News/ — Darden Restaurants, Inc. (DRI) today (January 22, 2018) announced the appointment of Dave George as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer (COO), a new position within Darden. As COO, George will maintain his oversight of Olive Garden, Bahama Breeze, Seasons 52 and International Franchising while adding Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen to his leadership portfolio. He will continue to report to Gene Lee, President and CEO of Darden.

“Dave is a seasoned and trusted leader who consistently delivers strong results. As we continue to simplify our operations across all brands, he is uniquely qualified to drive strategic prioritization and accountability, with a laser-focus on operational excellence,” said Lee.

George was named President, Olive Garden in 2013 and Executive Vice President, Darden Restaurants in 2016. He joined Darden in 2007 as President, LongHorn Steakhouse where he had served since 2003. Prior to that, George served as Senior Vice President, Operations for LongHorn Steakhouse (2001 – 2003) and Vice President, Operations for The Capital Grille (2000 – 2001).

The Company also announced that Dan Kiernan has been named President, Olive Garden, effective immediately. Kiernan joined Olive Garden as a Manager-in-Training in 1992 and worked his way through the operations system – moving from General Manager to Director of Operations to Senior Vice President, Operations. He was named Executive Vice President, Operations in 2011 and has played an integral role in Olive Garden’s transformation by focusing on flawless execution in order to deliver memorable guest experiences.

“Dan is a great restaurant operator. His ability to make the complex simple, motivate more than 90,000 team members and lead teams dedicated to delivering memorable guest experiences makes him the perfect leader for Olive Garden,” said George.

“I am excited that Dave has accepted this new challenge that will broaden his influence across the organization and ensure a smooth and effective transition at Olive Garden. I am confident that under Dave and Dan’s leadership, Olive Garden will continue to deliver outstanding food and service to our guests,” said Lee.

About Darden

Darden is a restaurant company featuring a portfolio of differentiated brands that include Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse, Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen, Yard House, The Capital Grille, Seasons 52, Bahama Breeze and Eddie V’s. Our people equal our success, and we are proud to employ more than 175,000 team members in nearly 1,700 restaurants. Together, we create memorable experiences for 380 million guests each year in communities across North America. For more information, please visit www.darden.com.

Contact:

(Analysts)
Kevin Kalicak
(407) 245-5870

(Media)
Rich Jeffers
(407) 245-4189

SOURCE: Darden Restaurants, Inc.: General

Darden Restaurants to release its fiscal 2017 fourth quarter financial results on Tuesday, June 27, 2017

ORLANDO, Fla., 2017-Jun-07 — /EPR Retail News/ — Darden Restaurants, Inc., (NYSE: DRI) plans to release its fiscal 2017 fourth quarter financial results before the market opens on Tuesday, June 27, 2017, with a conference call to follow at 8:30 am ET.  Gene Lee, CEO, and other senior management will discuss fourth quarter results and conduct a question and answer session.  For those who cannot listen to the live broadcast, a replay will be available shortly after the call.

What: Darden Restaurants, Inc. Fiscal 2017 Fourth Quarter Earnings Conference Call

When: 8:30 am ET, Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Where: https://www.webcaster4.com/Webcast/Page/1007/21365

How: Live over the Internet – Simply log on to the web at the address above or, to access via the telephone, dial 1-800-369-1837 and enter passcode 5049489 to join the call.

About Darden
Darden is a restaurant company featuring a portfolio of differentiated brands that include Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse, Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen, Yard House, The Capital Grille, Seasons 52, Bahama Breeze and Eddie V’s. Our people equal our success, and we are proud to employ 165,000 team members in more than 1,600 restaurants. Together, we create memorable experiences for 380 million guests each year in communities across North America. For more information, please visit www.darden.com.

Contact:
Financial Analysts
Kevin Kalicak
(407) 245-5870

Media:
Rich Jeffers
(407) 245-4189

SOURCE: Darden Restaurants, Inc.

Darden Restaurants to add Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen to its portfolio of differentiated brands

ORLANDO, Fla., 2017-Mar-30 — /EPR Retail News/ — Darden Restaurants, Inc. (NYSE: DRI) today (March 27, 2017) announced that it has agreed to acquire Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen (Cheddar’s) for $780 million in an all-cash transaction from its stockholders including private equity firms L Catterton and Oak Investment Partners. Cheddar’s will add to Darden’s portfolio of differentiated brands which currently includes Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse, Yard House, The Capital Grille, Seasons 52, Bahama Breeze and Eddie V’s.

Cheddar’s was founded in 1979 in Arlington, Texas and features high-quality, made-from-scratch food at compelling prices in a polished yet warm atmosphere. Today, Cheddar’s has 165 locations, including 140 owned and 25 franchised, across 28 states with significant growth opportunities in new and existing markets and average annual restaurant volumes of $4.4 million.

Transaction Highlights

  • Darden has agreed to acquire Cheddar’s for $780 million, subject to customary adjustments.
  • Net of certain tax benefits estimated at approximately $30 million, the purchase price represents a 10.4x multiple of trailing twelve month adjusted EBITDA ending December 2016.
  • Darden expects between $20 and $25 million of annualized pre-tax run rate synergies by fiscal 2019.
  • Total acquisition and integration-related expenses are expected to be approximately $25 to $35 million.
  • The transaction is expected to be accretive to Darden’s diluted net earnings per share in fiscal 2018 by approximately 12 cents, excluding any acquisition and integration-related expenses.
  • Darden will also pay $10 million for certain Cheddar’s transaction-related tax attributes and reimburse its equityholders for pre-closing capital expenditures on new restaurants under development.
  • Ian Baines, CEO of Cheddar’s, will remain President of Cheddar’s and report to Gene Lee, Darden President and CEO.
  • The completion of the transaction is expected to occur in Darden’s fiscal 2017 fourth quarter and is subject to customary closing conditions.

“Cheddar’s is an undisputed casual dining value leader with broad appeal and strong average restaurant volumes,” said Darden CEO Gene Lee. “Cheddar’s is a great fit in the Darden portfolio because it complements our existing brands. This addition will also enable Darden to further strengthen two of our most important competitive advantages: our significant scale and our extensive data and insights.”

Ian Baines, Cheddar’s CEO, stated, “We are excited about the opportunity to be a part of Darden. Our operating philosophy and values are similar and we believe this transaction provides a great opportunity for our team members to continue to grow and develop in their careers. Additionally, Darden’s expertise will enable us to further capitalize on our growth potential.”

BofA Merrill Lynch is acting as exclusive financial advisor and Hunton & Williams LLP is acting as legal advisor to Darden. Morgan Stanley & Co. LLC is acting as exclusive financial advisor to Cheddar’s and DLA Piper is acting as legal advisor to L Catterton, Oak Investment Partners and Cheddar’s.

Investor Conference Call
Darden Restaurants, Inc. will host a conference call to discuss the transaction and its fiscal 2017 third quarter earnings results, which were distributed in a separate release today, on Tuesday, March 28 at 8:30 am ET. To listen to the call live, please go to https://www.webcaster4.com/Webcast/Page/1007/19977 at least fifteen minutes early to register, download, and install any necessary audio software. Prior to the call, a slide presentation will be posted on the Investor Relations section of our website at: www.darden.com. For those who cannot access the Internet, please dial 1-888-994-3811 and enter passcode 2216120. For those who cannot listen to the live broadcast, a replay will be available shortly after the call.

About Darden
Darden Restaurants, Inc. (NYSE: DRI) owns and operates more than 1,500 restaurants that generate $7 billion in annual sales. Headquartered in Orlando, Florida, and employing 150,000 people, Darden is recognized for a culture that rewards caring for and responding to people. Our restaurant brands – Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse, Bahama Breeze, Seasons 52, The Capital Grille, Eddie V’s and Yard House – reflect the rich diversity of those who dine with us. Our brands are built on deep insights into what our guests want. For more information, please visit www.darden.com.

About L Catterton
L Catterton, formed in 2016 through the partnership of Catterton, LVMH and Groupe Arnault, is the largest consumer-focused private equity firm in the world, operating multiple funds out of seventeen offices across five continents. More information about L Catterton can be found at www.lcatterton.com.

About Oak Investment Partners
As a multi-stage venture capital firm, Oak Investment Partners focuses on high-growth opportunities in the Information Technology, Internet and Consumer, Financial Services Technology, Healthcare Information and Services and Clean Energy sectors. Oak Investment Partners’ goal is to help dynamic companies transform the way business is done.

Information about Forward-Looking Statements
Forward-looking statements in this communication regarding our ability to close the transaction, the impact of the transaction on our sales and earnings growth, new restaurant growth and all other statements that are not historical facts, including without limitation statements concerning our future economic performance, are made under the Safe Harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Any forward-looking statements speak only as of the date on which such statements are first made, and we undertake no obligation to update such statements to reflect events or circumstances arising after such date. We wish to caution investors not to place undue reliance on any such forward-looking statements. By their nature, forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to materially differ from those anticipated in the statements. The most significant of these uncertainties are described in Darden’s Form 10-K, Form 10-Q and Form 8-K reports. These risks and uncertainties include the successful completion of the proposed transaction in a timely manner, the ability to successfully integrate the new operations into our business following completion of the proposed transaction, technology failures including failure to maintain a secure cyber network, food safety and food-borne illness concerns, litigation, unfavorable publicity, risks relating to public policy changes and federal, state and local regulation of our business, labor and insurance costs, failure to execute a business continuity plan following a disaster, health concerns including food-related pandemics or virus outbreaks, intense competition, failure to drive profitable sales growth, our plans to expand our smaller brands Bahama Breeze, Seasons 52 and Eddie V’s, a lack of availability of suitable locations for new restaurants, higher-than-anticipated costs to open, close, relocate or remodel restaurants, a failure to execute innovative marketing tactics, a failure to develop and recruit effective leaders, a failure to address cost pressures, shortages or interruptions in the delivery of food and other products and services, adverse weather conditions and natural disasters, volatility in the market value of derivatives, economic factors specific to the restaurant industry and general macroeconomic factors including interest rates, disruptions in the financial markets, risks of doing business with franchisees and vendors in foreign markets, failure to protect our intellectual property, impairment in the carrying value of our goodwill or other intangible assets, failure of our internal controls over financial reporting, an inability or failure to manage the accelerated impact of social media, our ability to successfully complete our acquisition of Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen and integrate it into our business, including our ability to realize anticipated synergies and tax benefits arising from the acquisition and other factors and uncertainties discussed from time to time in reports filed by Darden with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Contact:
Financial(Analysts)
Kevin Kalicak
(407) 245-5870

(Media)
Rich Jeffers
(407) 245-4189

SOURCE: Darden Restaurants, Inc.

Darden Restaurants to release its fiscal 2017 first quarter financial results on October 4, 2016

ORLANDO, 2016-Sep-15 — /EPR Retail News/ — Darden Restaurants, Inc., (NYSE:DRI) plans to release its fiscal 2017 first quarter financial results before the market opens on Tuesday, October 4, 2016, with a conference call to follow at 8:30 am ET.  Gene Lee, CEO, and other senior management will discuss first quarter results and conduct a question and answer session.  For those who cannot listen to the live broadcast, a replay will be available shortly after the call.

What: Darden Restaurants, Inc. Fiscal 2017 First Quarter Earnings Conference Call

When: 8:30 am ET, Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Where: https://www.webcaster4.com/Webcast/Page/1007/16908

How: Live over the Internet – Simply log on to the web at the address above or, to access via the telephone, dial 1-800-779-9102 and enter passcode 3833399 to join the call.

About Darden

Darden Restaurants, Inc., (NYSE: DRI), owns and operates more than 1,500 restaurants that generate $6.9 billion in annual sales.  Headquartered in Orlando, Florida, and employing 150,000 people, Darden is recognized for a culture that rewards caring for and responding to people. Our restaurant brands – Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse, Bahama Breeze, Seasons 52, The Capital Grille, Eddie V’s and Yard House – reflect the rich diversity of those who dine with us. Our brands are built on deep insights into what our guests want. For more information, please visit www.darden.com.

Contact:

Analysts:
Kevin Kalicak
(407) 245-5870

Media:
Rich Jeffers
(407) 245-4189

SOURCE: Darden Restaurants, Inc.

Darden Restaurants to release its fiscal 2016 fourth quarter financial results on Thursday, June 30, 2016

ORLANDO, Fla., 2016-May-31 — /EPR Retail News/ — Darden Restaurants, Inc., (NYSE:DRI) plans to release its fiscal 2016 fourth quarter financial results before the market opens on Thursday, June 30, 2016, with a conference call to follow at 8:30 am ET. Gene Lee, CEO, and other senior management will discuss fourth quarter results and conduct a question and answer session. For those who cannot listen to the live broadcast, a replay will be available shortly after the call.

What: Darden Restaurants, Inc. Fiscal 2016 Fourth Quarter Earnings Conference Call
When: 8:30 am ET, Thursday, June 30, 2016
Where: https://www.webcaster4.com/Webcast/Page/1007/15389
How: Live over the Internet – Simply log on to the web at the address above or, to access via the telephone, dial 1-888-820-8959 and enter passcode 1848969 to join the call.

About Darden
Darden Restaurants, Inc., (NYSE: DRI), owns and operates more than 1,500 restaurants that generate $7.0 billion in annual sales. Headquartered in Orlando, Fla., and employing more than 150,000 people, Darden is recognized for a culture that rewards caring for and responding to people. Our restaurant brands –Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse, Bahama Breeze, Seasons 52, The Capital Grille, Eddie V’s and Yard House – reflect the rich diversity of those who dine with us. Our brands are built on deep insights into what our guests want. For more information, please visit www.darden.com.

 

SOURCE Darden Restaurants, Inc.: Financial

(Analysts) Kevin Kalicak (407) 245-5870; (Media) Rich Jeffers (407) 245-4189

Darden Restaurants to release its Q2 FY2016 financial results on Friday, December 18, 2015

ORLANDO, Fla., 2015-11-25 — /EPR Retail News/ — Darden Restaurants, Inc., (NYSE: DRI) plans to release its fiscal 2016 second quarter financial results before the market opens on Friday, December 18, 2015, with a conference call to follow at 8:30 am ET.  Gene Lee, CEO, and other senior management will discuss second quarter results and conduct a question and answer session.  For those who cannot listen to the live broadcast, a replay will be available shortly after the call.

What: Darden Restaurants, Inc. Fiscal 2016 Second Quarter Earnings Conference Call
When: 8:30 am ET, Friday, December 18, 2015
Where: https://www.webcaster4.com/Webcast/Page/1007/11918
How: Live over the Internet – Simply log on to the web at the address above or, to access via the telephone, dial 1-888-820-8959 and enter passcode 8850168 to join the call.

About Darden
Darden Restaurants, Inc., (NYSE: DRI), owns and operates more than 1,500 restaurants that generate $6.8 billion in annual sales. Headquartered in Orlando, Fla., and employing more than 150,000 people, Darden is recognized for a culture that rewards caring for and responding to people. Our restaurant brands –Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse, Bahama Breeze, Seasons 52, The Capital Grille, Eddie V’s and Yard House – reflect the rich diversity of those who dine with us. Our brands are built on deep insights into what our guests want. For more information, please visit www.darden.com.

SOURCE Darden Restaurants, Inc.: Financial

(Analysts), Kevin Kalicak, (407) 245-5870, or (Media), Rich Jeffers, (407) 245-4189

Darden Restaurants, Inc’s board approved tax-free spin-off of select real estate and restaurant assets into Four Corners Property Trust, Inc

Transaction allows Darden to reduce approximately $1 billion in debt; Creates new opportunities for both companies to increase shareholder value

ORLANDO, Fla., 2015-10-22 — /EPR Retail News/ — Darden Restaurants, Inc. (NYSE: DRI) announced today that its board of directors has approved, subject to certain conditions, the tax-free spin-off (Spin-off) of select real estate and restaurant assets into Four Corners Property Trust, Inc. (FCPT), which will become an independent, publicly traded real estate investment trust (REIT).  In addition, today the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) declared effective the registration statement of FCPT with respect to the Spin-off.

“Today’s announcement is one of the final steps in the spin-off transaction, which will allow us to optimize the value of a significant portion of our captive real estate while also positioning two companies for success,” said CEO Gene Lee.  “Among other advantages, Darden will benefit from an improved capital structure and strong financial position ready to meet the short- and long-term needs of the business while maintaining our investment-grade credit profile.  FCPT will be well positioned to efficiently dedicate financial resources and access capital markets to provide an attractive yield to shareholders with the immediate ability to grow and diversify.”

Darden expects to distribute all of the FCPT shares on November 9, 2015, pro rata to Darden shareholders of record as of 5 p.m. EST on November 2, 2015.  Upon close of the transaction, Darden shareholders will retain their Darden shares and will receive one FCPT share for every three Darden shares held.  The Spin-off is expected to be a tax-free distribution to Darden shareholders.  Darden shareholders will receive cash in lieu of fractional FCPT shares in the Spin-off.  No action is required by Darden shareholders to receive their FCPT shares.

The distribution is conditioned upon satisfaction or waiver of certain customary closing conditions, including financing of the transaction, and receipt of an opinion from Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP with respect to the qualification of the Spin-off as tax free.  Darden’s request for an Internal Revenue Service private letter ruling remains pending.

Following the Spin-off, Darden will continue to be listed on the NYSE under the symbol “DRI,” while FCPT has applied to list its common stock on the NYSEunder the symbol “FCPT.”  The NYSE has approved the listing of FCPT’s common stock, subject to official notice of issuance.  As previously disclosed, Darden intends to use proceeds from the sale leaseback of select real estate properties, debt financing from FCPT and Darden’s balance sheet cash to retire approximately $1 billion in debt.

It is expected that between the record date of November 2, 2015, up to the distribution date, the Darden stock will trade with “due bills” allowing the Darden common stock to trade with an entitlement to receive shares of FCPT common stock on the distribution date.  Any holder of Darden stock who sells shares of Darden on or before the distribution date may be selling the entitlement to receive shares of the FCPT common stock in the Spin-off.  Holders of Darden common stock are encouraged to consult with their financial advisers regarding the specific implications of selling Darden common stock on or before the distribution date.

Information Statement
Darden will promptly begin mailing to its shareholders the information statement regarding the Spin-off that appears as an exhibit to the FCPT registration statement filed with the SEC on Form 10.  The information statement will provide Darden shareholders with more information on the Spin-off and the details of the transaction.

Darden is being represented in the Spin-off by Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP and Hogan Lovells US LLP.  J.P. Morgan and Moelis & Company are serving as financial advisers.

About Darden
Darden Restaurants, Inc., (NYSE: DRI) owns and operates more than 1,500 restaurants that generate $6.8 billion in annual sales.  Headquartered in Orlando, Florida, and employing 150,000 people, Darden is recognized for a culture that rewards caring for and responding to people.  Our restaurant brands – Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse, Bahama Breeze, Seasons 52, The Capital Grille, Eddie V’s and Yard House – reflect the rich diversity of those who dine with us. Our brands are built on deep insights into what our guests want.  For more information, please visit www.darden.com.

Cautionary Statement Regarding Forward Looking Statements
Forward-looking statements in this communication are made under the Safe Harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995.  Any forward-looking statements speak only as of the date on which such statements are first made, and we undertake no obligation to update such statements to reflect events or circumstances arising after such date.  We wish to caution investors not to place undue reliance on any such forward-looking statements.  By their nature, forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to materially differ from those anticipated in the statements.

Forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, statements regarding the completion of the transaction, the effective date of the distribution and other transaction dates, the expected benefits of the transaction, and the pro forma dividend for each company.  Such statements are based on estimates, projections, beliefs, and assumptions that Darden believes are reasonable but are not guarantees of future events and results.  Actual future events and results of Darden may differ materially from those expressed in these forward-looking statements as a result of a number of important factors.

Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those contemplated in Darden’s forward-looking statements include, among others: (i) risks related to the anticipated timing of the proposed separation, the expected tax treatment of the proposed transaction, the ability of each of Darden (post-spin) and FCPT to conduct and expand their respective businesses following the proposed Spin-off, the ability of Darden to reduce its debt by the currently-anticipated amounts, and the diversion of management’s attention from regular business concerns; (ii) the risk that the conditions to the Spin-off, including financing of the transaction, are not satisfied; and (iii) those additional factors under “Risk Factors” in Item 1A of Part I of Darden’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended May 31, 2015, and in subsequent filings with the SEC at www.sec.gov.

SOURCE Darden Restaurants, Inc.: General

Darden Contacts – (Analysts) Kevin Kalicak, (407) 245-5870, or (Media) Rich Jeffers, (407) 245-4189

Darden Restaurants announces the appointment of Matt Broad as its SVP, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary

ORLANDO, Fla., 2015-10-13 — /EPR Retail News/ — Darden Restaurants, Inc. (NYSE: DRI) today announced the appointment of Matt Broad as its Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary, effective tomorrow, October 13, 2015.  In this role, Broad assumes responsibility for all legal affairs, including corporate governance, labor and employment law, development law, litigation and regulatory compliance.  He will report to Darden CEO Gene Lee.

Most recently, Broad served as a consultant with Axiom, a provider of tech-enabled legal services. There he provided legal counsel to companies across various industries including food & beverage, manufacturing, and healthcare.  Prior to that, Broad served as Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer for OfficeMax, responsible for legal affairs, corporate compliance and public policy.  Before joining OfficeMax in 2004, Broad was Associate General Counsel with Boise Cascade, a publicly traded manufacturer and distributor of forest products and distributor of office supplies.

“Matt is an analytical business leader with an impressive breadth of experience,” said Gene Lee.  “We’re excited to have him join us as a member of the executive leadership team, as his deep understanding of corporate law will help shape the future growth of Darden.”

Broad fills the position that has been open since the Company’s previous General Counsel departed earlier this year.

About Darden
Darden Restaurants, Inc., (NYSE: DRI) owns and operates more than 1,500 restaurants that generate $6.8 billion in annual sales. Headquartered in Orlando, Florida, and employing 150,000 people, Darden is recognized for a culture that rewards caring for and responding to people.  Our restaurant brands –Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse, Bahama Breeze, Seasons 52, The Capital Grille, Eddie V’s and Yard House – reflect the rich diversity of those who dine with us. Our brands are built on deep insights into what our guests want. For more information, please visit www.darden.com.

SOURCE Darden Restaurants, Inc.: General

(Analysts) Kevin Kalicak, (407) 245-5870; (Media) Rich Jeffers (407) 245-4189

Darden to release its fiscal 2016 Q1 financial results on Tuesday, September 22, 2015

ORLANDO, Fla., 2015-8-31 — /EPR Retail News/ — Darden Restaurants, Inc., (NYSE: DRI) plans to release its fiscal 2016 first quarter financial results before the market opens on Tuesday, September 22, 2015, with a conference call to follow at 8:30 am ET.  Gene Lee, CEO, and other senior management will discuss first quarter results and conduct a question and answer session.  For those who cannot listen to the live broadcast, a replay will be available shortly after the call.

What:   

Darden Restaurants, Inc. Fiscal 2016 First Quarter Earnings Conference Call

When:   

8:30 am ET, Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Where:   

https://www.webcaster4.com/Webcast/Page/1007/10299

How:  

Live over the Internet – Simply log on to the web at the address above or, to access via the telephone, dial 1-888-820-8959 and enter passcode 8850168 to join the call.

About Darden
Darden Restaurants, Inc., (NYSE: DRI), owns and operates more than 1,500 restaurants that generate $6.8 billion in annual sales. Headquartered in Orlando, Fla., and employing more than 150,000 people, Darden is recognized for a culture that rewards caring for and responding to people. Our restaurant brands – Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse, Bahama Breeze, Seasons 52, The Capital Grille, Eddie V’s and Yard House – reflect the rich diversity of those who dine with us. Our brands are built on deep insights into what our guests want. For more information, please visit www.darden.com.

SOURCE Darden Restaurants, Inc.: Financial

(Analysts) Kevin Kalicak (407) 245-5870; (Media) Rich Jeffers (407) 245-4189<

Darden Restaurants, Inc. announces that Bill Lenehan has been named CEO of Four Corners Property Trust, Inc.

ORLANDO, Fla., 2015-8-18— /EPR Retail News/ — Darden Restaurants, Inc. (NYSE: DRI) today announced that Bill Lenehan has been named CEO of Four Corners Property Trust, Inc., the real estate company that is expected to be separated from Darden later this year in a spin-off, split-off or similar transaction.  Four Corners is expected to elect to be subject to tax as a real estate investment trust (REIT) effective January 1, 2016.  Until the separation, Lenehan will report to Darden CEO Gene Lee.  Lenehan’s appointment as CEO of Four Corners is effective August 17.

“The Board and I have been incredibly impressed with Bill’s leadership, knowledge, and skill related to the Four Corners transaction,” said Darden CEO Gene Lee.  “We have also been impressed with his vision and capability, which gives us confidence he will be able to lead and transform Four Corners into a leading growth company.  We are extremely pleased to have a leader with Bill’s level of expertise for this very exciting new company.”

As a result of this appointment, Lenehan, who currently sits on Darden’s Board of Directors and is running for reelection at the company’s 2015 Annual Meeting of Shareholders, will resign from the Board if and when the separation of Four Corners occurs.  He also will no longer serve on any of the independent committees of Darden’s Board effective immediately.

Lenehan has a strong track record of success in real estate including two years as Special Advisor to the Board of Directors at Evoq Properties Inc., which at the time was one of the largest property owners in Downtown Los Angeles, with holdings in industrial, office, retail, residential, and mixed-use real estate.  Prior to that, Lenehan served as Interim CEO of MI Developments, now named Granite REIT, an owner of net leased industrial and manufacturing real estate, where he was a member of their Strategic Review Committee and was a Director.  He also spent approximately 10 years as an Investment Professional in the Real Estate Group of Farallon Capital Management, LLC.

In addition, Lenehan currently serves on the board of directors for Gramercy Capital Corporation, a publicly traded net lease REIT, where he is Chairman of the Investment Committee and a member of the Nominating Committee.

In June, Darden announced its intent to create the separate company, which would ultimately become an independent, publicly-traded REIT.  Under the plan being pursued, Darden will transfer approximately 420 of its owned restaurant properties to Four Corners, which will lease those properties back to Darden.

On August 11, 2015, Four Corners Property Trust, Inc., a subsidiary of Darden, filed an initial Form 10 Registration Statement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).  A copy of the Form 10 Registration Statement is available at http://investor.darden.com/investors/financial-information/sec-filings/Four-Corners-Property-Trust-Inc/default.aspx.  The Form 10 Registration Statement has not been declared effective by the SEC and is subject to completion.  Darden expects that subsequent amendments to the Form 10 will be filed prior to completion of the separation and spin-off.

The separation and spin-off remains subject to certain conditions, including among others, obtaining final approval of the transaction from the Darden Board of Directors, receipt by Darden of an opinion of counsel regarding certain U.S. federal income tax matters and the effectiveness of the Form 10.  Darden may, at any time until the closing of the separation and spin-off, decide to abandon, modify or change the terms of the separation and spin-off.

Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements
This press release contains certain forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act, which statements may be identified by the use of forward-looking terminology, such as “may,” “will,” “expect,” “anticipate,” “estimate,” “plans” or “continue” or the negative thereof or other variations thereon or comparable terminology referring to future events or results.  Risks and uncertainties are presented in detail in our filings with the SEC and in the Form 10 referred to above.  The Company’s actual results could differ materially from those anticipated in these forward-looking statements as a result of certain factors, including those set forth in the Information Statement.

About Darden
Darden Restaurants, Inc., (NYSE: DRI) owns and operates more than 1,500 restaurants that generate $6.8 billion in annual sales.  Headquartered in Orlando, Florida, and employing 150,000 people, Darden is recognized for a culture that rewards caring for and responding to people.  Our restaurant brands – Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse, Bahama Breeze, Seasons 52, The Capital Grille, Eddie V’s and Yard House – reflect the rich diversity of those who dine with us. Our brands are built on deep insights into what our guests want.  For more information, please visit www.darden.com.

SOURCE Darden Restaurants, Inc.: General

(Analysts) Kevin Kalicak, (407) 245-5870; (Media) Rich Jeffers, (407) 902-5673

Darden Restaurants, Inc. names Todd Burrowes President of LongHorn Steakhouse

ORLANDO, Fla., 2015-7-28 — /EPR Retail News/ — Darden Restaurants, Inc. (NYSE: DRI) today announced that Todd Burrowes has been named President of LongHorn Steakhouse, effective July 28, 2015.  Burrowes is rejoining the brand after spending the last two years as President, Ruby Tuesday Concept and Chief Operations Officer of Ruby Tuesday, Inc.  Previously, Burrowes spent more than 10 years in operations leadership roles at LongHorn.  He will report to Darden CEO Gene Lee.

“We are excited to welcome Todd back to LongHorn Steakhouse,” said Lee.  “Todd is an energetic and passionate leader who truly understands our culture and how to inspire and motivate our team members.  His operational expertise coupled with his deep knowledge of the brand makes him the ideal person to lead the LongHorn team.”

Burrowes is a seasoned restaurant operator with more than 25 years of experience.  During his prior stint at LongHorn, Burrowes spent approximately 10 years in key leadership positions including Executive Vice President of Operations, Senior Vice President of Operations and Regional Director of Operations.  Prior to his tenure with LongHorn Steakhouse, Burrowes served as Regional Director of Operations for Corner Bakery Cafe and Vice President of Operations forSaltgrass Steak House.

LongHorn Steakhouse generated more than $1.5 billion in sales during fiscal year 2015.  As President, Burrowes will lead all aspects of the business, which is comprised of more than 470 restaurants across 40 states.  He is succeeding Valerie Insignares, who departed the company last week to pursue other interests.

About Darden
Darden Restaurants, Inc., (NYSE: DRI) owns and operates more than 1,500 restaurants that generate $6.8 billion in annual sales. Headquartered in Orlando, Florida, and employing 150,000 people, Darden is recognized for a culture that rewards caring for and responding to people.  Our restaurant brands – Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse, Bahama Breeze, Seasons 52, The Capital Grille, Eddie V’s and Yard House – reflect the rich diversity of those who dine with us. Our brands are built on deep insights into what our guests want. For more information, please visit www.darden.com.

(Analysts) Rick Cardenas (407) 245-5892; (Media) Rich Jeffers (407) 245-4189