Darden Restaurants Inc. – 2012 50 Out Front # 44


Darden Restaurants Inc.

Orlando, FL
180,000 employees
CEO: Clarence Otis Jr.
CDE: Sylvia Doggett-Jones

Diversity mission: Darden’s vibrant culture embraces diversity and inclusion as business imperatives. This spirit of inclusiveness is woven into our strong, values-based culture that we believe gives us a competitive advantage.

Darden operates over 1,900 successful restaurant chains, including Red Lobster, Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse, and more. Its diversity focus is on three areas: outreach, suppliers, and workforce. Darden partners with a number of non-profit organizations that have a track record of effectively serving and representing the African-American, Asian/Pacific Islander-American, disability, Hispanic, and LGBT communities. Darden’s supplier diversity initiative targets works with the National Minority Supplier Development Council, Women’s Business Enterprise National Council, and National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce to ensure it incorporates minority businesses in its purchasing decisions. Regarding employees, Darden’s Diversity Learning Experience program offers a multi-layered curriculum involving three-and-a-half day sessions for officers, three-day sessions for directors and two-day sessions for restaurant general managers and managing partners. The experience allows participants to explore pre-conceived assumptions, then learn how to engage in constructive discussions of differences. Darden also has six employee networks – African-American, Asian-American, family, pride alliance, Hispanic, and women’s. Each is supported by an executive advisory committee.