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Upping the Steaks: Darden Buying Ruth’s Hospitality

Top-tier steakhouse will complement Darden’s existing brands

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Photography: JHVEPhoto / Shutterstock.com

Darden Restaurants Inc. (Orlando) said it will buy Ruth’s Hospitality Group Inc. (Winter Park, Fla.) in an all-cash stock transition valued at $715 million. Ruth’s, a chain of high-end steakhouses, will complement Darden’s portfolio of differentiated brands – Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse, Yard House, Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen, The Capital Grille, Seasons 52, Bahama Breeze and Eddie V’s – the companies say.

“Ruth’s Chris is a strong and distinctive brand in the fine dining segment with an impressive history of delivering elevated dining experiences to their loyal guests,” said Darden President and CEO Rick Cardenas. “It fits the criteria we have for adding a brand to our portfolio and supports our winning strategy.”

Cheryl Henry, President, CEO and Chairperson of Ruth’s, stated, “We are excited about the opportunity to join the Darden family. Our strategy and operating philosophy align well with Darden, and we have a strong cultural fit that should ensure a smooth transition. This transaction will also provide more opportunities for our team members to develop in their careers as we continue to grow our 57-year-old iconic brand.”

Ruth’s Chris was founded in New Orleans by Ruth Fertel and features signature USDA Prime steaks served sizzling on 500-degree plates, New Orleans-inspired sides and an award-winning wine list. The chain consists of 80 company-owned or -operated restaurants and 74 franchised locales around the globe, generating systemwide sales of over $860 million in Ruth’s 2022 fiscal year.

The deal, which was unanimously approved by the boards of both companies, is expected to close in June.

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