Darden announces job cuts, costs to save $20 million annually

Darden Restaurants Inc. has announced that it will be cutting jobs in an effort to lower costs. The company is trying to reshape itself and is updating its management team.

Based in Orlando, Florida, Darden owns and operates the Olive Garden and LongHorn Steakhouse chains. On Tuesday is said that 85 jobs will be cut, of which 60 are existing positions and 25 are open spots.

Departments that will be affected include external affairs, development, marketing, aviation, and field operations.

Darden also said that its chief financial officer is planning to step down and retire from the company in March, after working there for 32 years.

The company will also be closing aviation operations.

All in all these changes are estimated to save the company $20 million annually and $10 million in the current fiscal year.

Sales have dropped at Olive Garden and the company has been trying to adapt to consumers’ tastes.

The company sold Red Lobster for $2.1 billion in May – a deal which was subject to heavy criticism by shareholders.

In the summer it announced that its CEO would be leaving and Gene Lee would assume the position of interim CEO in October.

In an effort to try and generate more sales Darden has changed its menus and launched a number of marketing campaigns, however, the moves haven’t really showed a lot of promise in improving sales.

“Winning market share, improving same-restaurant-sales and achieving best-in-class profitability are our key operational objectives going forward, so we need to fine-tune our approach to the business to make sure we are laser-focused on these initiatives,” said Darden Interim Chief Executive Officer Gene Lee.

“The actions announced today are critically important steps in becoming more efficient in how we support the restaurants. This includes limiting the number of distractions that divert our attention from what matters most – continually working to improve the food and service we offer our guests.”