Leadership

Dave George named Darden COO

The casual-dining chain operator also named Dan Kiernan president of Olive Garden.

Darden Restaurants on Monday named Dave George its chief operating officer and also named Dan Kiernan president of its Olive Garden chain.

George, who had been president of Olive Garden, will oversee that chain, Bahama Breeze, Seasons 52 and international franchising and will also oversee the company’s newly acquired Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen chain.

COO is a newly created position at the Orlando, Fla.-based Darden, owner of eight casual-dining concepts.

George had been president of Olive Garden since 2013 and joined the company in 2007 as president of LongHorn Steakhouse after Darden acquired its parent, RARE Hospitality.

“Dave is a seasoned and trusted leader who consistently delivers strong results,” Darden CEO Gene Lee said in a statement. “As we continue to simplify our operations across all brands, he is uniquely qualified to drive strategic prioritization and accountability, with a laser focus on operational excellence.”

Kiernan, meanwhile, joined Olive Garden as a manager in training in 1992 and worked his way through the operations system before he was named executive vice president, operations, in 2011.

“Dan is a great restaurant operator,” George said in a statement. “His ability to make the complex simple, motivate more than 90,000 team members and lead teams dedicated to delivering memorable guest experiences makes him the perfect leader for Olive Garden.”

Members help make our journalism possible. Become a Restaurant Business member today and unlock exclusive benefits, including unlimited access to all of our content. Sign up here.

Multimedia

Exclusive Content

Technology

The case for the (mostly) digital restaurant

Tech Check: Digitizing 100% of orders has become a North Star for some brands. But 90% might be the wiser goal.

Marketing

Older brands try new tricks in their quest to stay relevant

Reality Check: A number of mature restaurant chains are out to prove that age is just a number.

Financing

At Papa Johns, delivery shifts from its own apps to aggregators

The Bottom Line: The pizza delivery chain’s business with companies like Uber Eats and DoorDash is thriving while its own delivery is slowing. But this isn’t the beginning of the end of self-delivery, CEO Rob Lynch says.

Trending

More from our partners