Darden to Remodel Red Lobster

Fifty restaurants to get coastal Maine theme in 2009
Posted June 29, 2009

Darden Restaurants (Orlando, Fla.) plans to move forward on makeovers for its restaurants, renovating 50 locations with a coastal Maine theme this year, according to The Miami Herald.

The company, which operates the Olive Garden, Red Lobster and LongHorn Steakhouse chains, recently posted a 21 percent rise in fiscal fourth-quarter earnings. Combined same-restaurant sales for the three chains fell 1.4 percent with Olive Garden and Red Lobster recording 0.6 percent drops, and LongHorn reporting a 6.5 percent decrease. "In a challenging economic environment where consumers have reduced their dining-out frequency and there was a significant amount of competitive discounting, our brands performed much better than the industry," says ceo Clarence Otis.

Darden operates 1773 restaurants. Its Bahama Breeze chain, which has 24 restaurants nationwide, recently opened a new location in Wayne, N.J. – the first new Bahama Breeze since 2004.