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Darden Scoops Up Chain For Cool $780M



The company has snapped up Texas-based Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen for a cool $780 million.
Industry giant Darden Restaurants has added another name to its lineup. As Business Insider shares, the company has snapped up Texas-based Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen for a cool $780 million. 

Cheddar’s is a smaller chain that traces its roots back to 1979. Known for dishes such as its house-smoked baby back ribs and its famous Monte Cristo sandwich, the chain currently has 165 locations spread across 28 different states. Based on online reviews, the chain is a pretty big hit with patrons, who note things such as reasonable prices, consistent service, and sizable portions. While it doesn’t boast the store count of other traditional chains under the Darden umbrella, the company views it as a perfect addition to its huge portfolio.

Photo from Cheddar's Facebook

"Cheddar's is an undisputed casual dining value leader with broad appeal and strong average restaurant volumes. Cheddar's is a great fit in the Darden portfolio because it complements our existing brands. This addition will also enable Darden to further strengthen two of our most important competitive advantages: our significant scale and our extensive data and insights," said Darden CEO Gene Lee in a release announcing the acquisition. 

"We are excited about the opportunity to be a part of Darden. Our operating philosophy and values are similar, and we believe this transaction provides an excellent opportunity for our team members to continue to grow and develop in their careers. Additionally, Darden's expertise will enable us to further capitalize on our growth potential," added Ian Baines, Cheddar's CEO.  

It’s easy to see Cheddar’s expanding its footprint now that it’s in the Darden family. The chain’s tagline and focus on scratch cooking should continue to resonate with today’s consumer now that it has, even more, exposure. Today’s restaurant patrons are increasingly mindful of exactly what goes into the food they eat, and chains and brands that use the freshest ingredients continue to gain traction and market share.   

“We take the time to make our food from scratch in our kitchen because it just tastes better. We start with quality ingredients to prepare delicious homemade entrees and sides,” notes Cheddar’s website. 

Cheddar’s joins a stocked Darden lineup that includes favorites such as LongHorn Steakhouse, Olive Garden, Bahama Breeze and Yard House. The Florida-based company boasts more than 1,500 locations and 150,000 employees across its various brands, which makes it the world’s largest full-service restaurant company. 

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