Thanks for Visiting!

Register for free to get the full story.

Sign Up
Already have a account? Log In

Dining Out With Darden

Bracha Arnold
March 21, 2023
Dining Out With Darden

Darden Restaurants is one of the world’s largest restaurant groups. The company owns nearly 2,000 restaurants, from its higher-end concepts such as Eddie V’s and The Capital Grille to its more casual dining options, which include Olive Garden and LongHorn Steakhouse. With restaurants across the country continuing to feel the inflationary pressures, how is the brand faring? We take a closer look. 

Outdoing the Competition

Darden has eight restaurant chains in its portfolio – Eddie V’s Prime Seafood, Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse, Seasons 52, The Capital Grille, Bahama Breeze, Yard House, and Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen. Each brand caters to a wide range of price points, with the average check per person in fiscal 2022 ranging from $16.50 at Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen to $109.00 at Eddie V’s. 

And the company’s reach is still growing, with Darden adding new locations of its current chains and hoping to welcome a new restaurant to its portfolio. Since August 2022, overall year-over-year (YoY) visits to the full portfolio of Darden restaurants trended above traffic overall restaurants in nearly all months examined, with January and February 2023 YoY visits up 10.1% and 2.0%, respectively. And although some of the strength in early 2023 is helped by a favorable comparison to an Omicron-plagued January 2022, the consistent outperformance of the wider full-service restaurant sector still highlights Darden’s ability to succeed in a difficult economic environment. 

The company's efforts to ease consumers' inflation-induced budgetary burden may be playing a role in its success. Despite the rising operations costs in the restaurant space, many Darden concepts have doubled down on their value-proposition by maintaining price increases below the inflation rate to stay competitive in a highly challenging retail climate. This is likely helping to build customer loyalty as would-be diners feel confident they can get the best price for their meal at a Darden location. Still, the company is not immune to the overall slowdown in discretionary spending and difficult comparisons to a strong 2021, highlighted by the company’s slight YoY visit dips in the second half of 2022.

A Wide Buffet of Options

Darden’s overall portfolio is successfully performing even amid the current economic headwinds. And all concepts saw a significant YoY visit spike in January 2023, thanks to the Omicron-induced drop in visits in early 2022. But digging into the visit data for the individual brands provides some insights as to the current state of restaurant consumers. 

Eddie V’s, Darden’s fine dining concept with the highest average check per person in fiscal 2022, has been particularly successful, with February 2023 visits up 7.3% relative to February 2022. This strength seems consistent with the more muted impact inflation has had on higher-income households.

On the lower end of Darden’s pricing spectrum, Olive Garden, the Darden brand with the most locations, saw positive YoY monthly visit trends for three out of the past five months, with February foot traffic up 3.6% compared to February 2021. LongHorn Steakhouse, the company’s second-largest concept, also performed well, with February traffic up 1.4% despite the 1.5% YoY dip in nationwide full-service restaurant visits. The rise in food-at-home costs has outpaced the increase in restaurant menu prices, so some budget-conscious consumers are likely still dining out on occasion – albeit less than in 2021. And many of these diners may be trading down from higher-priced restaurants and opting for more affordable brands such as Olive Garden and LongHorn that feel festive without breaking the bank. 

Meanwhile, Darden’s mid-range concepts – Yard House, Seasons 52, and Bahama Breeze – have mostly underperformed the overall Darden YoY visit average, which could be another reflection of consumers’ current trading-down behavior.

Final Bites

Darden's careful pricing strategy should continue to pay off into 2023 as more and more restaurants consider how to manage the rapidly rising cost of goods and labor. With more and more consumers looking to save on dining costs, the company should be well-positioned to weather any economic storm.

For more data-driven restaurant insights, visit

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.
Text Link
Text Link
Olive Garden
Text Link
Longhorn Steakhouse
Pent-Up Demand Ahead of October Sales Events
4 Strategies Retailers are Using to Drive Traffic to Their Venues
5 Key Regional Grocery Players Impressing in 2023
Upscale Kitchenware Trending Up
Costco Finds More Room for Growth
Four C-Store Chains Making an A-Grade
National Parks + Outdoor Summer Activities
Diving Into Darden: Summer 2023 Update
The Summer Event Effect
Messi: Massive in Miami
Looking Back on Back to School 2023
The Anchor Recap: August 2023 Office Index: August 2023 Recap Mall Index: August 2023 Recap White Paper Recap: August 2023
Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte Strikes Again
Big Scoop: We All Scream For Ice Cream
Sports Away: Lululemon & Nike’s Momentum Continues
Summer Visits Heat Up For Recreation and Outdoor Gear Chains
No CSS overwrite - July 2023 Office Index Recap
Staging - August 2023 Mall Indec
Mid-Atlantic Grocery Deep Dive
Experiential Chains Heating Up This Summer
Petco Goes Big by Going Small
Ulta Beauty: Leading the Discretionary Pack
Discount and Dollar Chains Continue to Thrive
Summer of Sports: DICK’s Sporting Goods and Hibbett Sports
Off-Price: Succeeding Into Summer
The Anchor Recap: July 2023
Superstores Maintaining Pandemic Gains Amidst Economic Headwinds
2023: Home Improvement at the Halfway Point
July 2023 Office Index Recap Mall Index: July 2023 Recap
widget test
The Taylor Swift Visit Lift
Southwestern Grocery Dive
July 2023 White Paper Recap: Halfway Point Review & Quarterly Index
Yum! Brands: Driving Dining Visits
Slurpees and Summer Movies Stimulate Consumer Foot Traffic
Cool Beans: Summer Coffee Update
Checking In on Back to School 2023
Crocs and New Balance Tip The Scales
Burger Bliss: Shake Shack and In-N-Out Stacking Visits
Chipotle & McDonald's Continue to Reign Supreme
Vibenomics and Partner to Enhance Retail Media In-Store Measurement
California Grocers Here We Come!
Marriott’s Different Audiences
Bonchon and Kura Sushi Thrive in the Fast-Casual Scene
A Shoe In: Footwear Climbs to the Top
Cheers! Raising a Glass to Beverage Retail Office Index: June 2023 Recap Mall Index June 2023 Recap – A Turn of the Tide and a Dive into Open-Air Lifestyle Centers
Local Kitchens: Redefining the Restaurant
Unlocking Urban Insights: The Value in Manhattan’s Employees
Ohio State Parks On The Rise
How is Inflation Impacting the High-Income Shoppers?
Five Fast-Growing Dining Chains
What To Expect From Prime Day and July Sales Events in 2023
The State Of Fashion: How Are Apparel Retailers Faring in 2023?
2023’s Latest Dining Success Story: GEN Korean BBQ House
The NBA Finals: A Location Intelligence Perspective
Moving the Market: The Impact of Domestic Migration on Housing Costs
Post-Pandemic Museum Update
The Darden-est Things
The Enduring Demand for Urban and Suburban Retail
Leveraging Data to Evaluate the Impact of Municipal Investments
Trader Joe's Success Amidst Food Inflation and Changing Consumer Behavior Office Index: May 2023 Recap
Fitness at its Fittest: Staying Strong in 2023
Movie Theaters, Off-Price, and Home Improvement: May 2023 Recap Mall Index - May 2023 Recap
What’s Working for Bath & Body Works?
Why Are Specialty Grocers Thriving in 2023?
The CAVA Craze: A Location Intelligence Perspective on the Mediterranean Marvel
How Will Primark’s US Expansion Impact Target?
All Eyes on Eyewear
Northwestern U.S. Grocery Dive
Return of the Lunch: Salad Chains Are Thriving
Retail Media Networks – Off the Beaten Track
Bet Your Bottom Dollar: Discount and Dollar Stores Drive Foot Traffic
Ulta & Lululemon: Discretionary Spending On The Up
The Score After Q1: Sporting Goods Chains
Who Uses NYC Airports: Biting Into The Big Apple’s Main Transport Hubs
Off Price: Strength in The Face of Retail Challenges
Visits Improve for Home Improvement
Walmart, Target & Wholesalers in Q1 2023 – The Return of Mission-Driven Shopping?
Department Store Roundup: Q1 2023 Office Index: April 2023 Recap Mall Index, April 2023 – A Rebound on the Horizon?
How Will Bed Bath & Beyond’s Bankruptcy Impact the Retail Space?
Buffet Restaurants: Filling Up on Foot Traffic
Thrift Stores: Vintage Visits Drive New Age in Apparel
The Windy City: A Hub of Post-Pandemic Opportunity
Diving into Dining Traffic - Q1 2023
Bring On The Joe
A Dollar (or more) For Your Thoughts: Five Below and pOpshelf
Dining Out With The Cheesecake Factory
Retail Foot Traffic Recap – March 2023
Digging Into 2023: McDonald’s and Chipotle Update Office Index: March 2023 Recap