ORLANDO-Darden Restaurants is closing and selling stores in its money-losing Smokey Bones barbeque chain. Management deems the concept “not a meaningful growth vehicle for Darden,” says Drew Madsen, the company’s president and chief operating officer.

Darden is putting 73 Smokey Bones locations on the market and closing 54 units. It is also shutting its two Rocky River Grillhouse restaurants.

Executives are not saying how much they expect to get for the chain, but they plan to have the transaction completed during the fiscal year. Darden is taking a $260-million pretax charge as a result of the closings and sale.

Smokey Bones units in the Southwest and Texas are among the worst-performing units in the chain, executives say. Five of the restaurants Darden is closing are in Texas, though the rest are scattered throughout the East Coast, Southwest and Midwest.

Same-store sales were down 8% year over year at the Smokey Bones that the company is closing. Total sales in those units were about $2 million annually, as opposed to the $3.1 million that the more healthy locations bring in.

Darden executives are now focused on acquiring another chain that could turn into a growth concept for the company. Darden currently operates about 1,400 Red Lobster, Olive Garden, Bahama Breeze, Smokey Bones, and Seasons 52 restaurants.

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?


© 2024 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 © 2024 ALM Global, LLC. All Rights Reserved.