June same-store sales up at Red Lobster, Olive Garden

ORLANDO Fla. Darden Restaurants Inc. said same-store sales rose between 6 percent and 7 percent at its Red Lobster chain and 3 percent and 4 percent at its Olive Garden concept for the company’s first reporting period of fiscal 2008, or the five weeks ended July 1.

The same-store-sales result at the 680-unit Red Lobster reflected a 3-percent to 4-percent increase in both guest counts and check average, Darden said. Red Lobster’s increased check average was aided by a 2-percent to 3-percent jump in pricing, the company reported.

The same-store-sales increase at the 614-unit Olive Garden brand reflected a 1-percent uptick in guest counts and a 2-percent to 3-percent increase in check average, which was aided by a boost in pricing of about 3 percent, officials at the casual dining company said.

Darden, which operates nearly 1,400 restaurants under five casual-dining brands, does not report same-store-sales trends for its other concepts, which include Bahama Breeze, Seasons 52 and Smokey Bones, the latter of which is for sale.