Darden aims for growth abroad

Development deal in Middle East sets stage for more int'l expansion, analysts say

Darden Restaurants Inc. said Tuesday it signed an area-development agreement with one of the Middle East’s largest restaurant franchising companies, marking a major step abroad for the casual-dining giant and its first into a region that has proven ripe for U.S. brands.

Orlando, Fla.-based Darden has tapped Americana Group of Kuwait to develop and operate the Red Lobster, Olive Garden and LongHorn Steakhouse brands. The agreement calls for Americana to develop at least 60 restaur

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