Olive Garden owner Darden beats earnings estimates, hikes guidance as sales climb

Earnings

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An Olive Garden restaurant in Fremont, California, US, on Thursday, Sept. 14, 2023. Darden Restaurants Inc. is scheduled to release earnings figures on September 21.
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Darden Restaurants on Friday reported quarterly earnings that beat expectations and raised its annual guidance, helped by sales growth at chains like Olive Garden and LongHorn Steakhouse.

Here’s what the company reported for its fiscal second quarter ending Nov. 26 compared with what Wall Street was expecting, based on a survey of analysts by LSEG, formerly known as Refinitiv:

  • Earnings per share: $1.84 adjusted vs. $1.74 expected
  • Revenue: $2.73 billion vs. $2.74 billion expected

Sales rose 9.7% from the year-ago period, which the company said was driven by the inclusion of Ruth’s Chris Steak House locations and a same-restaurant sales increase of 2.8%

Olive Garden same-restaurant sales were up 4.1%, while LongHorn Steakhouse saw a 4.9% jump for the quarter. Fine dining lagged, as sales fell 1.7% for the quarter.

Darden shares were down more than 1% in premarket trading Friday.

Darden completed its acquisition of Ruth’s Hospitality Group, owner of chain restaurant Ruth’s Chris Steak House, in June. The company will not include same-store sales from Ruth’s Chris Steak House until Darden has owned and operated the restaurant for a 16-month period.

“We continued to profitably grow market share again this quarter as we outperformed industry same-restaurant sales and traffic,” said Darden President & CEO Rick Cardenas in a statement.

The restaurant group also updated its fiscal year 2024 outlook, forecasting adjusted earnings per share of $8.75 to $8.90, up from the company’s previous estimate of $8.55 to $8.85, excluding Ruth’s Chris transactions and integration costs. The LongHorn Steakhouse owner also projects $11.5 billion in sales for the fiscal year.

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