Thanks for Visiting!

Register for free to get the full story.

Sign Up
Already have a account? Log In

Darden Restaurants Cooking Up Success

Bracha Arnold
September 20, 2022
Darden Restaurants Cooking Up Success

The Darden Restaurant Group is one of the world's largest full-service restaurant groups. With eight restaurant chains in over 1,800 locations, the company owns and manages some of the biggest names in the dining industry. 

When we last looked at Darden, visits were starting to pick up following a tough year of pandemic restrictions. Now, as grocery costs are rising, we checked back in to see how these restaurants are being impacted by the current economic environment. 

Steak and Breadsticks Leading The Way

LongHorn Steakhouse and Olive Garden are the brand’s largest restaurants, with 546 LongHorn and 876 Olive Garden locations throughout the country as of May 2022

LongHorn Steakhouse, which showed strong foot traffic throughout 2021, continued its strength into the new year. All months analyzed saw more visits in 2022 than in the equivalent months in 2019, with April and July showing particularly impressive year-over-three-year (Yo3Y) visit growth of 19.5% and 20.5%, respectively.

And while Olive Garden saw its foot traffic trailing behind 2019 levels, the chain still outperformed the overall restaurant industry. Earlier in the year, Yo3Y visits were down between 15.5% and 11.6%, but that gap narrowed to 4.3% in July 2022, compared to the nationwide decline of 8.8% for the full-service restaurant industry. August saw the brand outperforming the national average once again, proving the strength of this well-loved chain - even in a particularly difficult environment.

Casual Chains Catching Up

Darden’s smaller brands are also showing strength. Yard House, a sports bar and restaurant, draws customers in with its selection of over 100 beers on tap, while Seasons 52 offers a casual but elegant wine bar experience that focuses on seasonal menus. And Bahama Breeze provides laid-back Caribbean-style cooking and live music. 

These three chains saw lowered Yo3Y visits in the beginning of the year, as COVID kept many at home, but successfully closed this gap before outpacing Yo3Y foot traffic by April. And although visits to Seasons 52 and Bahama Breeze dipped below 2019 numbers again in May and June – likely due to the ongoing inflation and tightening budgets – both brands swiftly narrowed their visit gaps once more. By July, Seasons 52 and Bahama Breeze were once again seeing Yo3Y increases of 2.1% and 1.5%, respectively. Yard House, meanwhile, saw its foot traffic elevated for all months analyzed aside from January and August, with July Yo3Y foot traffic up 3.6%. And while August saw a slight downturn in visits to these chains, Yo3Y monthly visits to all three brands remained well above the nationwide average for the month.

As inflation slows, and as gas prices level out, many customers are once again excited to dine out. These restaurants all boast affordable price points and have kept their costs well below inflation rates, which is likely to continue drawing diners in despite the wider restaurant downturn

Higher-End on the Rise

Eddie V’s Prime Seafood and The Capital Grille are Darden’s fine dining restaurants – both of which expanded in recent years. Eddie V’s restaurant fleet increased 45% between May 2018 and May 2022, while The Capital Grille’s restaurant fleet increased from 57 to 62 locations in the same period. The additional locations have boosted overall visits and diners have already begun filling the new venues. And while visits per venue are still trailing behind 2019 numbers, overall visits were elevated, showing that these restaurants can still attract customers to their locations. 

This expansion will likely continue to pay off over the next few years as the economic climate stabilizes and consumers look for fine dining options.

Final Bites

Darden’s portfolio offers something for every kind of customer. The company implemented strategic expansion plans and has successfully managed the effects of both COVID and inflation, as shown by its portfolio’s overperformance compared to the wider restaurant sector. 

Will Darden Restaurant Group continue to thrive as 2022 winds down? 

Visit to find out.

Get 3 brand & industry
breakdowns every week

Subscribe to the newsletter

Great! Prepare your inbox for data-driven insights...
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Get a Demo

Please enter your first name
Please enter your last name
Please provide a valid email
Please enter your email
Please enter company name

Thanks for reaching out!

One of our experts will be in touch soon

Try Free
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Location Intelligence Breakdown: Coffee Caps-Off 2022
Digitally Native Brands Lean Into Brick & Mortar
Washington, D.C. Population Changes & Trends
A Location Intelligence Perspective on Macy’s Rightsizing
Amazon-Powered Shopping: The Future of Brick-and-Mortar Grocery?
Cold Weather, Hot Visits: Diving into Winter Resorts
Wawa and 7-Eleven: Leaning Into the “Slurpee Effect”
2022 and Beyond: Catching Up With McDonald’s & Chipotle
Let’s Have Some Fun! Going Out Is In’s Q4 2022 Quarterly Index Adds Industry Executives to Leadership Team To Drive Company's Next Phase of Growth
5 Emerging Retail Formats: 2023’s Brick-and-Mortar Evolution
Grocery Update: Zooming in on the Lone Star State
2022 Office Recap: The Year of the TGIF Work Week
What Lies Ahead for Brick-and-Mortar Luxury in 2023 Mall Indexes: December 2022 Recap
Looking Back on 2022’s Holiday Shopping Season
Post-Pandemic Migration Trends in New York
Top Retailers for 2023
The Live Sports Advertising Opportunity
Domestic Migration to the Mountain States: Small Shifts with Big Implications
New Year, New Food: 5 Dining Trends For 2023
This is Why Shop-in-Shops Are Everywhere
Super Saturday 2022 Recap
The San Francisco Shift
Grocery Year-End Update: Publix in the Spotlight
Three Ways Retailers Can Think Small to Increase Store Impact
Offline Beauty Is on an Upswing
The Evolving Migration Patterns of New York’s Florida Snowbirds Office Index: November 2022 Recap
How Viral Social Media Trends Can Drive Offline Engagement
Are You Ready for Some Football? Experiential Marketing Shows Promise
Mall and Shopping Center Trends For 2023
Retail Corridors and Indoor Malls: A Holiday Head-to-Head
Placer Bytes: Nike, lululemon, and GameStop Update Mall Indexes: November 2022 Update
Black Friday 2022: Consumers Hear the Call
Digitally Native Brands: Taking Off, Offline
Discount and Dollar Stores Leading the Pack
Turkey Wednesday 2022
Retail’s Evolving Holiday Season
Placer Bytes: Starbucks and Department Stores Ahead of Black Friday
Ulta: A Force to be Reckoned With
College Towns Drive Dining Growth
Foot Traffic Trends Reveal Consumers Ready for Holiday Cheer
How Retailers Can Win Big By Going Small
How Are Consumers Feeling Ahead of Black Friday 2022?
Off-Price, Hibbett, and Dick’s Pre-Holiday Check-in
Ho, Ho, Wholesale: Costco, Sam’s Club, and BJ’s
October 2022’s Retail Rebound
Target and Walmart Ahead of the Holidays
Home Improvement: Leave it to the Pros
Despite Inflation, Holiday Season is Off to a Good Start Office Index: October 2022 Recap Mall Indexes- October 2022 Update
Americans Double Down on Fitness
The State of Grocery
CVS and Walgreens: The Wave Continues
Coffee Chains Brewing Up Visits Spotlight: Pizza Players
What Drove COVID-Era Urban Migration Trends?
Kroger and Albertsons: A Merging of Strengths
Texas Roadhouse Innovations Dishing Up Success
Holidays on the Horizon: Mid-Range and Luxury Shopping
McDonald's and Chipotle's Post-Pandemic Success
Announcing’s Q3 2022 Quarterly Index
5 Hot Restaurant Brands for 2023
Target Finds a Winning Deals Day Formula
Five Trends to Watch for 2022’s Holiday Shopping Season
September 2022 Analysis: A Difficult Month and Time for Optimism
Inflation’s Retail Winners
Five Apparel Retailers to Watch Ahead of the Holidays Spotlight: Wawa’s QSR Pivot Mall Indexes: September 2022 Recap Office Indexes: September 2022 Recap
The Impact of Population Growth on Commercial Real Estate 
Starbucks' New Makeover
There's Somethin' About Pumpkin
Expanding Offline Reach
Breakfast Restaurants are Rising in Popularity
The Power of Labor Day 2022
Tourism in Miami Heating Up
Citi Trends on the Rise
Reaching Rural Consumers Through Retail Media Network
Darden Restaurants Cooking Up Success
The Home Improvement Sector: A Sign of Consumer Confidence
QSR Is Having a Northeastern Growth Spurt
Domestic Migration’s Ripple Effects
A Look Back at Back To School 2022
Kroger Digital Tell-All
The Return of In-Person Networking
The Reinvention of the American Mall Office Building Indexes: August 2022 Recap Mall Indexes - August 2022 Recap
Five Below’s Back to School Success
Plus-Size Fashion’s Staying Power
Placer Bytes: Best Buy & GameStop 
Petco Barking Up the Right Tree
Lipstick Effect Boosts Ulta’s Growth