- improve operating execution at Darden, which currently manages eight restaurant brands with diverse requirements and has become, in Barington's view, too large and complex of an organization to compete effectively with its more nimble competitors. Barington recommends, as an initial step, that the Company form two independently managed restaurant operating companies – one for Darden's mature restaurant brands (Olive Garden and Red Lobster) and one for its higher-growth restaurant brands (LongHorn Steakhouse, The Capital Grille, Yard House, Bahama Breeze, Seasons 52 and Eddie V's Prime Seafood) – to enable each restaurant operating company to benefit from a greater focus on the unique requirements of its brands;
- enhance the long-term performance of Darden's mature restaurant brands by, among other things, improving the customer experience, ending future restaurant unit expansion and capturing efficiencies in order to maximize return on capital and sustain shareholder dividends;
- improve the long-term competitiveness of Darden's higher-growth restaurant brands by focusing on building distinctive brands with a loyal customer base, experimenting with new menu options and investing in new unit expansion, while simultaneously evaluating potential brand divestiture or spin-off opportunities;
- help "unlock" the value of Darden's extensive real estate assets, which Barington believes represent a source of significant value that is not adequately reflected in the Company's current stock price; and
- reduce operating expenses by $100 - $150 million a year, which Barington believes can be accomplished through, among other things, streamlining operations, eliminating corporate functions that duplicate brand-level work and improving the cost effectiveness of the Company's advertising spend.
Barington Group Announces Retention Of Advisors In Connection With Its Investment In Darden Restaurants
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