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Darden Enters Brazil, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Panama

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Darden Restaurants, Inc. (NYSE: DRI) today announced it has entered into an area development agreement with International Meal Company to develop and operate 57 restaurants under Darden's Red Lobster, Olive Garden and LongHorn Steakhouse brands in Brazil, Colombia, the Dominican Republic and Panama.

"We're excited to bring our three category-leading brands to these countries through our agreement with International Meal Company, a leading, multi-brand restaurant operator in South and Central America, as well as the Caribbean," said Kim Lopdrup, senior vice president of Business Development for Darden. "Brazil's growing middle class and strong affinity for American brands makes it an attractive growth market for Darden.  And IMC's focus in Brazil, Colombia, the Dominican Republic and Panama makes them the ideal partner for these markets."

"As we've stated previously, Darden remains committed to owning and operating its restaurants domestically.  However we believe the best way for us to expand the reach of our portfolio internationally is by selecting great partners, such as IMC, with outstanding operations experience, local market knowledge, and the commitment to delivering our brands' experience with excellence." 

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