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Darden Announces Additional Franchise Deals In Latin America

ORLANDO, Fla., July 12, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Darden Restaurants, Inc. (NYSE: DRI) announced it has signed area development agreements with two leading multi-brand restaurant operators in Latin America.  Grupo Piramide will develop Darden's Red Lobster, Olive Garden and LongHorn Steakhouse brands in Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and Costa Rica while Dosil S.A. will develop the concepts in Peru.  Both of the new franchisees already operate other American casual dining and quick service restaurants.

(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20050203/FLTH026LOGO )

These deals complement Darden's recent area development agreement with International Meal Company, which will operate Red Lobster, Olive Garden and LongHorn Steakhouse in Brazil, Colombia, Panama and the Dominican Republic.  Darden has also had franchisees in Mexico and Puerto Rico for some time.  With these new agreements, Darden will have operations in 12 markets throughout Latin America.

"We are excited to expand our presence in Latin America through these agreements with Grupo Piramide and Dosil S.A., both of which are the premier chain restaurant operators in their markets," said Kim Lopdrup, senior vice president of Business Development for Darden."

"As we've stated previously, Darden remains committed to owning and operating its restaurants domestically.  We believe the best way to expand internationally, however, is to partner with outstanding local chain restaurant operators, so we can benefit from their existing infrastructure, market knowledge and relationships."

Grupo Piramide is the leading multi-brand restaurant company in Central America.  They operate five American casual dining brands as well as Starbucks, KFC, Pizza Hut and Wendy's.  They have a total of 662 restaurants and over 19,000 employees. 

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