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…While Darden reaches out to Olive Garden customers

Darden Restaurants, Inc. (DRI) today issued the following statement to the tens of thousands of Olive Garden guests and fans who have recently been so outspoken in their passionate support of Olive Garden and the Italian generosity for which it stands:


Grazie Olive Garden guests and fans!

All of us at Olive Garden offer our deep appreciation for the passionate support that you have extended to us.  Your tens of thousands of tweets, Facebook and Instagram posts, letters and phone calls expressing your enthusiasm for Olive Garden's pasta, soups, salad and breadsticks have been inspiring and humbling.  We have loved reading about the special memories that so many of you have made at our restaurants.

Today, the Olive Garden family of 800+ restaurants is evolving the brand with our customers' favorites in mind. With reinvigorated dishes, a refreshed website, a restructured logo, and remodeling of select restaurants, we aim to make every guest experience feel more like today's genuine Italian dining experience.  Your warm enthusiasm reinforces our confidence that we are headed in the right direction – changing for the better and to better serve you.

We are committed to building on the progress we are making.  Still, as we enhance our menu to reinforce value and relevance, improve quality and simplify processes, you can count on us to stand-by the Italian generosity for which Olive Garden has long been known – including our traditional pasta dishes, homemade soups and endless salad and freshly baked garlic breadsticks.

We urge you to continue to voice your support for Olive Garden.  And again, thank you for being such an engaged and passionate community.  We are incredibly grateful that you have chosen to be a part of our family. Go #TeamBreadsticks!

We look forward to serving you at your local Olive Garden.  See you soon.

Sincerely,

Gene Lee
President & Chief Operating Officer of Darden

Dave George
President of Olive Garden


Darden noted that over the past days, it has received outspoken support from tens of thousands of Olive Garden guests, including a new hashtag #TeamBreadsticks.  On one single day, there were over 34,000 interactions on Facebook alone, with a single posting about Olive Garden's breadsticks resulting in a 1,752% increase over the average amount of commentary on the Company's Facebook page.

Example posts include:

About Darden Restaurants

Darden Restaurants, Inc., (DRI), owns and operates more than 1,500 restaurants that generate approximately $6.3 billion in annual sales. Headquartered in Orlando, Fla., and employing 150,000 people, Darden is recognized for a culture that rewards caring for and responding to people. In 2014, Darden was named to the FORTUNE "100 Best Companies to Work For" list for the fourth year in a row. Our restaurant brands – Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse®, Bahama Breeze®, Seasons 52®, The Capital Grille®, Eddie V's® and Yard House® – reflect the rich diversity of those who dine with us. Our brands are built on deep insights into what our guests want. For more information, please visit www.darden.com.

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