Darden Restaurants−which owns several
casual dining restaurant chains including: Olive GardenLongHorn SteakhouseBahama BreezeSeasons 52Eddie V’s Prime SeafoodThe Capital Grille, and Yard House−holds true to its customer-centric focus, adding personalized, relevant customer experiences based on targeted customer engagement.

Darden has more than 1,500 restaurant locations and more than 150,000 employees, making it the world's largest full-service restaurant company.

Darden Restaurants CEO Gene Lee said during the company’s Dec. 18 fiscal second-quarter conference call that it marked the fifth consecutive quarter of growth. In addition, same-restaurant’s traffic was positive on a comparable calendar basis.

“These results are reflection of our continued focus on operating great restaurants along with developing relevant, integrated marketing initiatives that reach our guests more effectively,” Lee said, according to Seeking Alpha. “Equally as important is the work we’re doing to evolve how our loyal guests experience Olive Garden. During the quarter, we completed the systemwide rollout of table top tablets, which enhances the guest experience. Additionally, we continued our emphasis on OG-to-go sales which addresses a key niche state for convenience. Overall, we have seen fantastic results with a two-year growth rate of more than 30% for OG-to-go. Finally, the team at Olive Garden continues to make great strides on culinary innovation, filling the core menu pipeline with a number of exciting new dishes that will roll out in the coming months.”

LongHorn Steakhouse maintained strong top-line momentum during the quarter and delivered solid profit growth, Lee noted, as same restaurant sales grew 3.6% on a comparable calendar basis, outperforming the industry by more than 400 basis points and same-restaurant traffic was positive on a comparable calendar basis.

“LongHorn’s results reflect a relentless focus on in-restaurant execution,” Lee explained. “That focus was strengthened by continuous simplification of the core menu, which allows our restaurant teams to execute against menu items with the highest guest preference. LongHorn also continues to benefit from the success of its You Can’t Fake Steak marketing campaign, which drove excitement for two compelling promotions that featured popular steaks at a great value.”

Darden’s specialty restaurants−The Capital Grille, Bahama Breeze, Seasons 52, Yard House, and Eddie V’s−recorded same-restaurants sale growth on a comparable calendar basis, led by Bahama Breeze at 5.8% and Seasons 52 at 3.8%.

“The specialty restaurants brands remain focused on culinary innovation, providing unique guest experiences and creating personal connections with their guests, which was further enhanced by the launch of new websites at each of our brands,” Lee said. “These five strong brands continue to perform well and increase share, as consumer demand grows from our polished dining experiences.”

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