News Release Details

Darden Restaurants Names Joe Smith Director Of Communications & Travel Services

September 13, 2000

ORLANDO, Fla., Sept. 13 - Darden Restaurants, Inc. (NYSE: DRI) -- the Orlando, Fla.-based company that owns and operates the Red Lobster, Olive Garden, Bahama Breeze, and Smokey Bones casual dining restaurant brands -- has named Joe Smith Director of Communications and Travel Services. In this newly created position, Smith will assume overall responsibility for Darden's corporate creative and printing services, meeting planning and support and internal travel services.

Before joining Darden, Smith was Vice President Creative Services and Support Services for Advantica Restaurant Group in Spartanburg, S.C., working with the company's restaurant brands, Denny's, Coco's and Carrow's, and its franchisees.

"We're excited to add Joe to our Corporate Relations team," said Darden Senior Vice President Corporate Relations Rick Walsh. "He brings with him a versatile background in the hospitality/food service industry. His wide- ranging experience will help our very talented team of professionals do an even better job of supporting our restaurant operating companies and helping Darden achieve its mission to be the best casual dining restaurant company now and for generations."

Smith started his restaurant career in human resources, then expanded his experience over the years into key positions in the communications, creative services, administration/travel, and customer service areas. He and his wife Denise have relocated to the Orlando area.

Darden Restaurants is the world's largest casual dining company, with 1,139 restaurants operating under the Red Lobster, Olive Garden, Bahama Breeze, and Smokey Bones brands, more than 122,000 employees, and annual sales of more than $3.7 billion.