Darden Restaurants ( DRI) Company Profile: Orlando-based Darden Restaurants operates in the full-service dining segment of the restaurant industry, mainly in the United States. Restaurant brands include Red Lobster, Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse and The Capital Grille, among others. Darden reiterated its outlook for food cost inflation between 3.5% to 4% in fiscal 2012 , even as it topped fiscal third-quarter profit expectations.
Costs for food and beverage sales jumped 5.9% year-over-year to $571.3 million in the recent quarter. Analysts from Zacks Investment Research noted that "increasing food costs, especially beef, underperformance at its core brands, Olive Garden and Red Lobster, in terms of same-restaurant traffic and stiff competition from peers like Brinker International ( EAT) and Red Robin Gourmet Burgers ( RRGB) will drag its profits."