News Release Details

Quantum Foods Named Distinguished Vendor by Darden Restaurants

May 22, 2000

CHICAGO, May 22- Darden Restaurants, Inc. (NYSE: DRI), the world's largest casual dining company, awarded Chicago-based Quantum Foods with its top award for vendor excellence today-recognizing the company's product quality, customer service and attention to details in guest service.

Darden, which owns and operates more than 1,100 Red Lobster, Olive Garden, Bahama Breeze and Smokey Bones BBQ & Sports Bar restaurants presented the Chicago-based company with its William B. Darden Distinguished Vendor Award. The award is named after the founder of the Orlando-based restaurant company.

"This is an example of two companies that act more like small business partners," said Joe Lee, Chief Executive Officer of Darden. "We work very well together to serve our restaurant guests a great dining experience."

Working closely with each Darden Restaurant company-and at times focusing efforts down to the individual restaurant level-Quantum provided beef and steaks to all four Darden concepts. Most notably, the company created the 16 oz. T-bone steak for Olive Garden and the 12 oz. strip and 9 oz. top sirloin for Red Lobster.

"We go to great lengths to use the finest ingredients in our dishes and Quantum's commitment to quality and outstanding service make them the logical supplier for us," said Brad Blum, President of Olive Garden.

The William B. Darden Distinguished Vendor Award salutes world-class vendors for outstanding quality, service, innovation and value. Darden purchasing, marketing, and culinary experts chose Quantum Foods from more than 1,200 vendors that did business with the restaurant company during fiscal 2000 (which ends May 31).

"Quantum has done an outstanding job of focusing on the four key drivers in our supply chain, those being Quality, Service, Innovation, and Cost," said Barry Moullet, senior vice president of purchasing for Darden. "We look forward to many more years of friendship."

Quantum Foods was founded in 1991 by its President and CEO, Edward Bleka. The firm has seen rapid growth and is now the number one provider of portion- control steaks in the United States.