Com­pany Spot­light

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - BUSINESS -

Olive Gar­den par­ent Dar­den Restau­rants’ stock edged up 0.6 per­cent Tues­day af­ter the com­pany re­ported higher sales and earn­ings for its lat­est quar­ter.

The Or­lando, Florida-based com­pany, which op­er­ates more than 800 Olive Gar­dens and nearly 500 LongHorn Steak­house restau­rants na­tion­wide, said sales at its ex­ist­ing Olive Gar­den lo­ca­tions rose 2 per­cent in the quar­ter from a year ago and rose 1.3 per­cent across all its restau­rant brands. Earn­ings per share rose nearly 30 per­cent.

The in­crease at Olive Gar­den was driven by higher prices and a mix of more ex­pen­sive items, while cus­tomer traf­fic slipped. Dar­den CEO Gene Lee noted the sat­u­rated restau­rant mar­ket in the U.S. and newer com­pe­ti­tion from non­tra­di­tional busi­nesses.

Given the chang­ing land­scape, Dar­den has been work­ing on im­prov­ing the in-restau­rant ex­pe­ri­ence, as well as grow­ing its on­line or­der­ing busi­ness. Lee said the com­pany has iden­ti­fied “con­ve­nience as a huge op­por­tu­nity.”

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