Darden Restaurants Supports American Red Cross Response to Hurricane Sandy

  Darden Restaurants Supports American Red Cross Response to Hurricane Sandy

Member of the Red Cross Annual Disaster Giving Program Also Providing Drinking
Water for Disaster Victims

PR Newswire

ORLANDO, Fla., Nov. 2, 2012

ORLANDO, Fla., Nov. 2, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Darden Restaurants, and its family
of restaurant brands that include Red Lobster, Olive Garden and LongHorn
Steakhouse, is supporting the American Red Cross as they respond to those
affected by Hurricane Sandy and donating bottled water to help local families.
As a member of the Red Cross' Annual Disaster Giving Program, Darden provides
financial support that the Red Cross uses in disaster response.

(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20050203/FLTH026LOGO )

"Our restaurants and our restaurant teams are members of hundreds of local
communities across the country," said Drew Madsen, president and COO of
Darden. "And as a caring member of these communities, we're committed to
serving them beyond the walls of our restaurants. By supporting the Red Cross
Annual Disaster Giving Program, we know help is available right away for
victims who need it."

In addition to financial support of the Red Cross, Darden is also donating
much needed drinking water in the hardest hit areas. The company is sending
five tractor-trailers containing 6,000 cases of bottled water from restaurants
that remain closed due to power outages to Red Cross shelters in New Jersey
and New York. Darden is also responding to the needs of its employees who have
been impacted by the storm. The Darden Dimes program, an employee-funded
assistance program with $1.7 million in annual employee donations, is
providing financial assistance to employees in need.

"These communities have supported our restaurants for decades," said Gary
Brown, Senior Vice President of Operations for Olive Garden. "Our restaurant
teams wanted to help out right away, so we got to work immediately on
re-routing these shipments of water to the local Red Cross shelters."

"Thanks to the generosity of our Annual Disaster Giving Program members, the
Red Cross is able to mobilize supplies and staff to provide help to people and
communities in need," said Neal Litvack, chief development officer at the
American Red Cross."These contributions, along with the support of the
American public, are critical during hurricanes and similar disasters because
they enable the Red Cross to rush immediate relief to disaster victims before
the first donation has been given."

Since the Annual Disaster Giving Program's inception in 1997, members have
pledgeddonations to the Red Cross in advance of major disasters to ensurean
immediate response will meet the needs of people who are affected by disasters
of all sizes, at no cost and regardless of income.

Individuals can join forces with companies who are members of the Annual
Disaster Giving Program and help provide food, shelter, emotional support and
other assistance to the victims of thousands of disasters across the country
each year by going to www.redcross.org or calling
1-800- RED-CROSS (1-800-733-2767) to make a donation.

About Darden Restaurants

Darden Restaurants, Inc., (NYSE: DRI), the world's largest full-service
restaurant company, owns and operates more than 2,000 restaurants that
generate over $8.0 billion in annual sales. Headquartered in Orlando, Fla.,
and employing 185,000 people, Darden is recognized for a culture that rewards
caring for and responding to people. In 2012, Darden was named to the FORTUNE
"100 Best Companies to Work For" list for the second year in a row and is the
only full-service restaurant company to ever appear on the list. Our
restaurant brands – Red Lobster, Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse, Bahama
Breeze, Seasons 52, The Capital Grille, Eddie V's and Yard House – reflect the
rich diversity of those who dine with us. Our brands are built on deep
insights into what our guests want. For more information, please visit
www.darden.com.

About the American Red Cross

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to
victims of disasters; provides nearly half of the nation's blood; teaches
lifesaving skills; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports
military members and their families. The Red Cross is a charitable
organization — not a government agency — and depends on volunteers and the
generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more
information, please visit www.redcross.org or join our blog at
http://blog.redcross.org.

DRI:G

SOURCE Darden Restaurants, Inc.: General

Contact: Rich Jeffers, +1-407-245-4189, rjeffers@darden.com