Darden Slates Up To 50 New Openings In ‘19

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Darden Restaurants, riding a wave of strong sales, plans to add 45 to 50 new locations across its eight brands including its 856-unit Olive Garden.

The news marks a major expansion, was sparked by strong fourth-quarter earnings; profits hit $174.5 million in the quarter ending May 27, compared with $123.8 million in the same period last year while sales rose 10.3% to $2.13 billion. Sales grew 12.7% to $8.1 billion in fiscal 2018.

Most of the company’s restaurants are performing well. Seven of Darden’s eight restaurants, including LongHorn Steakhouse and Eddie V’s, saw same-store sales spike this past quarter. Darden says expects same-store sales at all its brands to grow by up to 2% in 2019.

In the announcement, Darden CEO Gene Lee stated that the company’s corporate strategy is unchanged. The company did not specify which concepts would expand or where they would be located. 

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