I noticed this on http://www.theflyonthewall.com/:
Darden Restaurants-DRI reports January same-restaurant sales results
Same-restaurant sales at Red Lobster increased 2% to 3% for fiscal January; same-restaurant sales at Olive Garden increased 1% to 2%. January's sales results at both Olive Garden and Red Lobster were negatively affected by approximately 1.0% point due to unfavorable weather this January compared to last year. DRI owns and operates over 1,440 Red Lobster, Olive Garden, Bahama Breeze, Smokey Bones, and Seasons 52(R) restaurants with annual sales of $5.7B. :theflyonthewall
All I can say is for shame. Olive Garden... yuck! Red Lobster... gross! My brother opened a restaurant a little more than a year ago and will soon close it via a chapter 7. His food was much better, his dining room much nicer, but it is tough to compete against these 'casual dining' chains which have hefty advertising budgets and can operate more efficiently and with higher margins because of their supply chains and the economies of scale that they enjoy. There's no doubt my brother made some big mistakes in running his business, but the casual dining chains have been profoundly successful in luring people into their restaurants by way of multi million dollar marketing even with lower quality (IMHO) food which the masses have come to enjoy as the norm and as good eats! Perhaps there are still nice neighborhood, legacy restaurants in the big cities, but up here in suburbia, the restaurant chains have taken over while local operations sadly come and go.