ORLANDO-Darden Restaurants executives are looking to expand two of its chains, one that is its oldest concept, as well as a newly acquired brand. Unit growth is on the horizon for long-time chain Red Lobster and Longhorn Steakhouse, which the company bought earlier this year as part of its acquisition of Rare Hospitality International.

Darden’s management is in the process of giving Red Lobster a makeover, and has rolled out a “Bar Harbor” prototype in three of its 680 units, with four remodels underway. The chain will experience “significant unit growth” over its next fiscal year, said Andrew Madsen, Darden’s COO, during its second-quarter conference call.

In the case of Longhorn, management sees a potential of 600 to 800 US locations, from the nearly 300 it currently operates. The chain, which is mainly east of the Mississippi, will gradually move west, but is now currently filling in its existing markets, Madsen said.

Of its three largest chains, same-store sales at the 628-unit Olive Garden performed the best during the second quarter, which ended Nov. 25, rising 3.2% year over year. Red Lobster inched up 0.1%, while Longhorn posted a 3.9% decline. Executives blamed macroeconomic conditions on sales softness.

For the entire fiscal year, Darden’s management predicts same-store sales at Longhorn, Olive Garden and Red Lobster will rise between 2% and 4%. The company forecasts the addition of 65 new restaurants through May.

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.