ORLANDO-With record first-quarter sales and profit on the books, locally based Darden Restaurants Inc., Orlando’s only Fortune 500 company, plans to open an estimated one million sf of new restaurant space in fiscal 2003, company chairman Joe R. Lee tells shareholders at the firm’s annual meeting at Gaylord Palms Resort, Kissimmee, FL.

The world’s largest casual seafood dining chain (1,216 restaurants) has about 25 Smokey Bones outlets, 12 Red Lobsters and five Bahama Breezes on the drawing boards. Darden now operates 30 Bahama Breezes, 21 Smokey Bones, 669 Red Lobsters and 496 Olive Gardens.

Darden officials couldn’t be reached to learn the specific amount of new restaurant space being planned. But area retail consultants, intimate with Darden’s growth pattern, tell GlobeSt.com on condition of anonymity the planned 12 new Red Lobsters would be about 30,000 sf each; Smokey Bones, about 22,000 sf each; and Bahama Breezes, about 20,000 sf each.

Darden had a total 1,173 restaurants in 2001. First-quarter financials for the period ended Aug. 25 show the company posted its strongest performance in its 35-year existence. Profit of $71.9 million or 40 cents per share compared to $62.2 million or 34 cents a share last year.

Sales of $1.17 billion were up 9.4% from $1.07 billion in first quarter 2001. Sales at restaurants open at least one year were up 6.6%. Darden opened 16 new restaurants in the quarter.

“We had a great start to the new fiscal year with our strong first quarter financial results,” Lee told shareholders.

Patting his workforce on the back, Lee said, “These results, like the long-term success we’ve enjoyed, speak to the power of the unique blend of strengths Darden has within casual dining. We have the best people in the country.”

Darden’s common opened at $23.97 per share today on the New York Stock Exchange, down from $24.10 yesterday. The stock’s 52-week high-low is $29.76 and $15.83 per share.

Want to continue reading?
Become a Free ALM Digital Reader.

Once you are an ALM digital member, you’ll receive:

  • Unlimited access to GlobeSt and other free ALM publications
  • Access to 15 years of GlobeSt archives
  • Your choice of GlobeSt digital newsletters and over 70 others from popular sister publications
  • 1 free article* every 30 days across the ALM subscription network
  • Exclusive discounts on ALM events and publications

*May exclude premium content
Already have an account?


© 2023 ALM Global, LLC, All Rights Reserved. Request academic re-use from www.copyright.com. All other uses, submit a request to [email protected]. For more information visit Asset & Logo Licensing.

Dig Deeper


GlobeSt Net Lease Spring 2024Event

This conference brings together the industry's most influential & knowledgeable real estate executives from the net lease sector.

Get More Information


Join GlobeSt

Don't miss crucial news and insights you need to make informed commercial real estate decisions. Join GlobeSt.com now!

  • Free unlimited access to GlobeSt.com's trusted and independent team of experts who provide commercial real estate owners, investors, developers, brokers and finance professionals with comprehensive coverage, analysis and best practices necessary to innovate and build business.
  • Exclusive discounts on ALM and GlobeSt events.
  • Access to other award-winning ALM websites including ThinkAdvisor.com and Law.com.

Already have an account? Sign In Now
Join GlobeSt

Copyright © 2023 ALM Global, LLC. All Rights Reserved.