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This article is part of the Center for Media & Democracy's spotlight on global corporations.
Darden Restaurants is the number one casual-dining operator in terms of revenue; with about 1,825 restaurants in the United States and Canada. Its flagship chains include Red Lobster and Olive Garden. Both chains offer mid-priced menu items, themed interiors, and primarily suburban locations. Darden also operates the Long Horn Steakhouse chain, with about 330 outlets. Other chains include The Capital Grille (upscale steakhouse), Bahama Breeze (Caribbean food and drinks) and Seasons 52 (casual grill and wine bar). 
In the fiscal year ending in May of 2010, the company reported sales of approximately $7.1 billion dollars and had 174,000 employees.
Ties to the American Legislative Exchange Council
Darden has been a corporate member of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). It was a member of ALEC's corporate board as of 2010. (See a list of ALEC corporations here.) Darden spokesperson Rich Jeffers confirmed in April 2013 that the company cut ties with ALEC in January 2010 in order to allocate more resources to organizational connections like its involvement with the National Restaurant Association (which, like ALEC, has lobbied to override local paid sick day ordinances). (Please see Corporations that Have Cut Ties to ALEC for more.)
ALEC is a corporate bill mill. It is not just a lobby or a front group; it is much more powerful than that. Through ALEC, corporations hand state legislators their wishlists to benefit their bottom line. Corporations fund almost all of ALEC's operations. They pay for a seat on ALEC task forces where corporate lobbyists and special interest reps vote with elected officials to approve “model” bills. Learn more at the Center for Media and Democracy's ALECexposed.org, and check out breaking news on our PRWatch.org site.
Ad boycott against Air America Radio
Darden Restaurants refused to advertise on the progressive Air America Radio. In October 2006, around 90 companies, including Darden Restaurants' Red Lobster, told ABC Radio Networks that they did not want their ads to play on radio stations that carried Air America Radio.
Key executives & pay
- Clarence Otis (54) - Chairman & CEO - 2.62 M & 3.67 M in exercised options
- Andrew H. Madsen (55) - President & COO - 1.87 M & 2.38 in exercised options
- C. Bradford Richmond (52) - CFO - 986K & 967K in exercised options
- David T. Pickens (56) - Sr. VP & President, Olive Garden - 1.26 M & 2.52 M in exercised options
- Eugene I. Lee, Jr. (49) - President, Specialty Restaurant Group - 1.10 M & 2.32 M in exercised options
See also Executive Leadership.
Board of directors
See also Board of Directors. 
5900 Lake Ellenor Drive
Orlando, FL 32809
Web address: http://www.dardenrestaurants.com
Articles & sources
- Berman & Co.
- Meat & Dairy industry
- Processed food industry
- War on Animals
- Victoria D. Harker
- Michael W. Barnes
- ↑ Darden Restaurants Profile, Hoovers, accessed January 2011
- ↑ Key Darden Restaurants, Inc. Financials, Hoovers, accessed January 2011
- ↑ American Legislative Exchange Council, Private Enterprise Board, organizational website, archived in the WayBack Machine on February 10, 2010, accessed September 2012
- ↑ Rich Jeffers, Director of Media Relations, Darden Restaurants, telephone conversation with the Center for Media and Democracy, April 11, 2013.
- ↑ Brendan Fischer and Mary Bottari, Efforts to Deliver "Kill Shot" to Paid Sick Leave Tied to ALEC, PRWatch.org, April 3, 2013.
- ↑ Marc Fisher, "Air America, in the Throes of Victory?", Washington Post, December 10, 2006.
- ↑ "Air America on Ad Blacklist?", FAIR, October 31, 2006
- ↑ "Air America Blackout", FAIR/ABC , October 25, 2006
- ↑ 2010 PAC Summary Data: Darden Restaurants, Open Secrets, accessed January 2011
- ↑ Darden Restaurants lobbying expenses, Open Secrets, accessed January 2011
- ↑ Key Executives, Yahoo Finance, accessed January 2011
- ↑ Our Company: Executive Leadership, Darden Restaurants, accessed January 2011
- ↑ Our Company: Board of Directors, Darden Restaurants, accessed January 2011