Darden Third Quarter Boosted by Sales at Olive Garden

Jeffrey Smith the man behind the board coup in Darden stepped down following a strong quarter as the Olive Garden chain of restaurants continued the rebound for the company.

Olive Garden was the primary source of problems for Smith and his company Starboard Value, and it lead the company in sales for the quarter.

Smith was named as the chair at Darden during late 2014 after Starboard ousted the entire Darden board in a fight of high profile for control of the company.

Prior to taking control of the board, Starboard released a presentation of 294 pages that outlined what it considered the then management of Darden was doing incorrectly.

Since the revolt, shares at Darden have increased over 30%.

Smith in a prepared statement released by Starboard said he would miss working with the talented and capable people in the company and was proud of everything they had accomplished.

Starboard took issued with Darden on things from the number of breadsticks it served to diners to how the pasta had been cooked.

Olive Garden as well as other restaurants that Darden owned benefited from a U.S. economy that had rebounded.

Sales for the third quarter at Olive Garden were up 6.6% to over $1.02 billion while its sales at its LongHorn Steakhouse chain were up 5.4% to over $425 million.

Its fine dining restaurants saw sales increase by 5.4% to more than $146 million and other businesses had sales that increased more than 10.6% to $256.1 million.

Darden Restaurants earned $105.8 million equal to 82 cents a share, marking a drop of 21% for the same period one year ago.

However, the biggest reason for the drop was due to higher costs. Earnings, adjusted for costs that are non-recurring and to account for operations discontinued, reached $1.21 a share.

The results were one cent higher than expectations on Wall Street.

Revenue was up 6.7% to over $1.85 billion also betting expectations.

Sales at same stores, an important measure of a retailers’ health, rose by 6.2% across the company.

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