Darden Restaurants beat quarterly sales and profit expectations thanks to a big assist from its Olive Garden and LongHorn Steakhouse brands. Consolidated same-store sales grew by 5%, despite a 2.8% decline in the company’s fine dining segment.
LongHorn Steakhouse same-store sales were up 8.1%. Olive Garden, which represents about 45% of the company’s revenue, increased its same-store sales by 6.1%. The chain is bringing back its Never-Ending Pasta Bowl next week to maintain that momentum during a typically slower period, as families head back to school. Olive Garden brought the promotion back around the same time last year after a two-year hiatus, which exceeded expectations and kept traffic higher than segment averages in the quarter. It will remain the same price as last year’s promotion, starting at $13.99 and an additional $4.99 for certain protein toppings, such as meatballs, Italian sausage, and crispy chicken.