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Darden Restaurants Named to FORTUNE's '100 Best Companies to Work For' List

January 20, 2011

First full-service restaurant company to ever make the list; ranks as largest employer on list

ORLANDO, Fla., Jan. 20, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Darden Restaurants, Inc. (NYSE: DRI), whose restaurant brands include Red Lobster, Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse and more, announced today its recognition by FORTUNE magazine as one of the "100 Best Companies to Work For."  Darden, which is the largest employer on the list, ranked #97 overall and is the first full-service restaurant company to ever appear on the list.

(Logo:  http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20050203/FLTH026LOGO )

"Today is a very proud day in our company's history," said Clarence Otis, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Darden.  "Our founder, Bill Darden, said it best when he said, 'the only edge we have on our competition is the quality of our employees as reflected each day by the job they do.'

"That same belief holds true today, and we've remained steadfast in our commitment to foster a strong, values-based culture where employees can learn, thrive and grow.  This recognition is a testament to the dedication and talent of our nearly 180,000 employees who strive every day to create exceptional dining experiences for our guests."

FORTUNE recognized Darden for:

  • Generating the third-most job growth (21% in 2010) among companies on the list
  • Providing access to affordable health insurance to all employees on the first day of employment
  • Never having a layoff in the company's history
  • Ranking among the Top 20 companies on the list for diverse workforces  

"Across all our restaurants, and at our Restaurant Support Center, we believe in not only offering jobs, but opportunities to build rewarding careers," said Drew Madsen, President and Chief Operating Officer of Darden.  "Our goal is to make working at Darden more than just a job, but a place where people can realize their personal and professional dreams."

To pick the 100 Best Companies to Work For, FORTUNE partners with the Great Place to Work Institute to conduct the most extensive employee survey in corporate America.  Three hundred eleven companies participated in this year's survey.  Two-thirds of a company's score is based on the results of the Institute's Trust Index survey, which is sent to a random sample of employees from each company.  The survey asks questions related to their attitudes about management's credibility, job satisfaction, and camaraderie.  The other third of the scoring is based on the company's responses to the Institute's Culture Audit, which includes detailed questions about pay and benefit programs and a series of open-ended questions about hiring practices, internal communications, training, recognition programs and diversity efforts.

The full list and related stories appear in the Feb. 7, 2011 issue of FORTUNE, which will be available on newsstands January 24.

About Darden Restaurants

Darden Restaurants, Inc. (NYSE: DRI), the world's largest full-service restaurant company, owns and operates 1,800 restaurants that generate more than $7 billion in annual sales. Headquartered in Orlando, and employing approximately 180,000 people, Darden is recognized for a culture that rewards caring for and responding to people. Our restaurant brands — Red Lobster, Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse, The Capital Grille, Bahama Breeze and Seasons 52 — 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.

SOURCE Darden Restaurants, Inc.: General

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