Olive Garden sales rebound slowly as more dining rooms reopen

Olive Garden parent company Darden says nearly half of its dining rooms are now open at limited capacity

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Olive Garden parent company Darden on Tuesday announced that nearly half of its dining rooms are now open at limited capacity and that same-store sales are beginning to turn around.

Orlando-based Darden, which also owns LongHorn Steakhouse and other regional restaurants, started to reopen its dining rooms in select markets on April 27 and expects to have more than 65 percent of its dining rooms partially reopened by the end of May.

Olive Garden same-store sales were down 46 percent for the week ending April 26 compared to the same week in 2019 due to the coronavirus pandemic. The decline was down to 38 percent for the week ending May 17.

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
DRIDARDEN RESTAURANTS INC.109.97-3.48-3.07%

"Early signs show that our loyal guests are grateful for the opportunity to dine-in with us, and they appreciate the added safety measures we have implemented," CEO Gene Lee said in a statement. "At the same time, our To Go business remains strong."

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Company-wide same-store sales are down 47.9 percent so far in its fiscal fourth quarter.

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Olive Garden, like other Darden restaurants that have reopened in states with loosened stay-at-home restrictions, has taken safety measures like mandating employees wear masks, sanitizing surfaces and asking that diners wear face masks when they step away from their table.

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The chain is also abiding by social distancing guidelines, it said.

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The reopenings mean that the company is ending furloughs for some employees, according to Lee.

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