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Darden Restaurants, Inc.

             At 19 years old, Bill Darden opened a lunch counter called "The Green Frog- in Waycross, Georgia. The slogan preached "Service with a Hop- forecasting Mr. Darden's future idealization on service. (Darden 2001) Darden Restaurants was first incorporated and began official trading at the New York Stock Exchange in 1995 as a spin-off of General Mills to become an independent company. Today, Darden Restaurants is the largest casual dining restaurant company in the world operating Red Lobster, Olive Garden, Bahama Breeze, and Smokey Bones Sports Bar restaurants in North America. All of Darden restaurants in North America are company owned and offer no franchise ventures. Darden has restaurants in every state excluding Alaska. Darden also operates one Olive Garden Café in the United States, and 32 Red Lobsters and five Olive Gardens in Canada. Through its associate partners, Red Lobster Japan, an unaffiliated retailer runs 34 Red Lobsters through a per franchise agreements. Currently, Darden restaurants employ over 120,000 people. (Darden 2001) Darden's restaurant companies currently compete with full-service, casual dining restaurants such as Outback, Chili's, and Applebee's. Darden's parent company competitors include Brinker's, Landry, and Metromedia. [Multex 2003].
             Vision, Mission, and Goals.
             Darden's vision is based on three building blocks of their strategic framework to continually improve their company. These building blocks are founded on their core value system that includes "integrity and fairness, respect and caring, diversity, and always learning/always teaching, being of service, teamwork and excellence."" The building blocks of the Darden vision are leadership development, culinary and beverage excellence, and service and hospitality excellence. Two catalysts for these strategic building blocks are diversity and technology. Darden's mission is to be the best casual dining restaurant with outstanding restaurant companies, great strategies, and excellent financial strength.

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