Darden Restaurants -
Rick Cardenas became President and Chief Executive Officer of Darden Restaurants on May 30, 2022. A 35-year veteran of the company, who began his career with Darden as a busser, Rick was unanimously elected by Darden’s Board of Directors in December 2021 to become the company’s fourth CEO.
Rick moved from the restaurants to Darden’s restaurant support center in 1992 as an Auditor. From there, he held increasingly more responsible positions including Director of Corporate Development, Director of Finance and Technology for Seasons 52, Vice President of Finance and Assistant Controller for Olive Garden, Senior Vice President of Finance and Controller for LongHorn Steakhouse, Senior Vice President of Finance and Controller for Red Lobster, and Executive Vice President of Operations for LongHorn Steakhouse.
In July 2015, Rick became Darden’s Chief Strategy Officer, then progressed to serve as Chief Financial Officer in March 2016. He returned to Operations to serve as President and Chief Operating Officer in January 2021 before being promoted to his current role.
Darden’s family of restaurants features some of the most recognizable and successful brands in full-service dining – Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse, Yard House, Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen, The Capital Grille, Seasons 52, Eddie V’s and Bahama Breeze. We own and operate more than 1,900 restaurants and are proud to employ 190,000 team members. Together, we create memorable experiences for more than 410 million guests annually in hundreds of communities across North
Darden’s roots can be traced to 1938, when our founder, 19-year-old Bill Darden, opened his first restaurant. Called The Green Frog, the 25-seat luncheonette in Waycross, Ga., promised ‘Service with a Hop.’ He understood that excellent service would be vital to the success of his restaurant, he treated everyone equally and he welcomed all guests to his tables.
The casual-dining pioneer’s commitment to superior service rings true today Ñ more than 80 years later Ñ in each of our restaurants across North America. His strong values form the bedrock of Darden’s culture. Serving others is at the heart of our business, and we never forget it.
To be financially successful through great people consistently delivering outstanding food, drinks and service in an inviting atmosphere, making every guest loyal.
First dates. Wedding anniversaries. Family dinners. Date nights. Work celebrations. Our restaurants serve as the backdrop to life’s big and small moments, turning everyday meals into long-lasting memories. Our guests trust us to care for their family and friends and to provide exceptional dining experiences. We take this responsibility seriously, and living up to our guests’ expectations is our passion.
Sourcing Food with Care
Every day our restaurant teams work hard to carefully prepare and safely serve meals our guests enjoy. We know that where our ingredients come from and how they are grown are integral to preparing great food.
Rick briefly left the company in 1998 to work for management consulting firms Bain & Company and the Parthenon Group.