Darden Restaurants’ Q4 and fiscal year earnings report Thursday included several positive headlines, such as LongHorn Steakhouse’s strong results, outperformance on traffic and a steady consumer set.
The company’s earnings call came about a week after Darden finalized its $715 million Ruth’s Chris acquisition, adding to its fine dining portfolio. Ruth’s Chris joins an increasingly diversified roster that includes not only LongHorn and Olive Garden, but also Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen, Yard House, The Capital Grille, Seasons 52, Bahama Breeze, Eddie V’s and The Capital Burger. Though way too early to understand Ruth’s Chris’ impact on Darden’s overall performance, CEO Rick Cardenas expects plenty of synergies to come – to the tune of approximately $20 million by the end of fiscal 2025 primarily through supply chain and G&A savings. He also expects the integration to be accreditive to Darden’s earnings per share by about 10 cents to 12 cents in fiscal 2024 and by 20 cents to 25 cents by fiscal 2025.