Foodservice Equipment Reports

Darden Restaurants To Acquire Yard House For $585 Million

Darden Restaurants announced July 12 that it has agreed to acquire Yard House USA for $585 million in an all-cash transaction from private equity firm TSG Consumer Partners, management and investors. The 39-unit contemporary American chain will become part of Darden's Specialty Restaurant Group, which includes The Capital Grille, Bahama Breeze, Seasons 52 and Eddie V's. Darden expects to complete the transaction early in its fiscal second quarter.

Irvine, Calif.-based Yard House launched its first restaurant in 1996 and now has units in 13 states. Founder Steele Platt, along with partners Harald Herrmann and Carlito Jocson, is expected to join Darden and continue leading day-to-day operations. Herrmann, president and CEO of Yard House, will remain president and report to Gene Lee, president of Darden's Specialty Restaurant Group.

"With this addition, Darden's Specialty Restaurant Group will have nearly $1 billion in annual sales and be even better positioned to sustain annual sales growth of 15% to 20% for years to come," said Clarence Otis, Darden’s chairman and CEO.  "Now the Group will even more clearly stand with Olive Garden, Red Lobster and LongHorn Steakhouse as a major driver of our growth and value creation.  The Specialty Restaurant Group is also significant because, in appealing to higher percentages of both younger and higher income guests, its brands round out Darden's overall guest base in very important ways."

Darden is the world's largest full-service restaurant company. The Orlando, Fla., company owns and operates nearly 2,000 restaurants and generates nearly $8 billion in annual sales.