Darden Announces Sale Of Red Lobster For $2.1B

NEW YORK (AP) — Darden Restaurants says it will sell its Red Lobster chain to investment firm Golden Gate Capital in a $2.1 billion cash deal.

The company, which also owns Olive Garden, had announced late last year that it planned to either spin off or sell Red Lobster to improve its financial performance.

Both Olive Garden and Red Lobster have been losing customers in recent years, and the company has tried various menu changes and differentmarketing campaigns in hopes of winning back business.

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/general-news/20140516/darden-announces-sale-of-red-lobster-for-21b

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Automatic Tips May Be Off The Table

If you’ve dined out in a big group, chances are you had an automatic tip tacked on to your bill.

That practice might soon go away.

Orlando, Fla.-based Darden Restaurants may drop automatic gratuities for tables of eight or more at its chains including Olive Garden, Red Lobster and LongHorn Steakhouse.

Experts predict others will follow suit.  An Internal Revenue Service ruling will treat automatic gratuities as wages. That could lead to higher payroll taxes for restaurants and make record-keeping more complicated.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/business/consumer_news/Automatic_tips_may_be_off_the_table.html#0ZM1lP8QkvHAEumM.99

Discounts Back After Summer Restaurant Slump

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Bigmac mcdonald’s japan (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Restaurant discounts and special offers have returned after a recent sales cool-down at some of the nation’s hottest chains, a trend that threatens to squeeze industry profits at a time when food costs are set to rise.

U.S. consumers ate fewer Big Macs at McDonald’s Corp., skipped some caffeine runs to Starbucks Corp. and passed on the occasional burrito at Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. — sending a shiver through the investment community that has grown used to those chains posting strong growth in the face of the nation’s lackluster economic recovery.

McDonald’s on Wednesday vowed to focus more on value after reporting flat sales at established restaurants around the world in July — its worst showing in more than nine years.

Starbucks and Chipotle’s industry-leading same-restaurant sales growth decelerated last quarter, forcing both chains to make adjustments to reinforce their positions.

Read more: http://www.mcall.com/business/chi-discounts-back-after-summer-restaurant-slump-20120810,0,212577.story

Second Bear Spotted Near Pittsburgh Mills Mall

The Pittsburgh Mills mall in Frazer experienced a rush of new clientele this weekend: two bears in two days.

Unlike a small, 150-pound bear that perused electronics at Sears on Saturday night and prompted an evacuation of the mall, a second larger bear was more interested in the dining establishments.

Around 11:45 p.m. and about an hour and 45 minutes after wildlife conservation officers tranquilized the small bear in Sears, the second 250 to 300 pound bear emerged near the Olive Garden parking lot.

Frazer police Officer Tim Christian said he and his fellow officers warned employees outside the Longhorn Steakhouse to leave as the female bear wandered over to the restaurant.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/local/neighborhoods-north/second-bear-spotted-near-pittsburgh-mills-mall-645841/#ixzz21SjL1kJP

Restaurant Review Of Olive Garden, Collegeville

Restaurant Review of Olive Garden, Collegeville Pennsylvania

On March 12th, I took a friend to the Collegeville Olive Garden for a birthday lunch.  We arrived at about 1:45 pm.  The restaurant was very busy but we were seated right away.

Our server Mayra was very nice.  She came to our table quickly, told us about the specials and took our drink order while we narrowed down which delectable treats we might choose.  She was back in a short amount of time with the drinks.  Mayra then proceeded to take our order.  The birthday girl decided on Braised Beef & Tortelloni.  I ordered Seafood Alfredo pasta.

Mayra brought us salad and garlic breadsticks (worth going just for that).  In a rather short amount of time the entrees arrived.  Actually, a little too soon but the food was hot and by the time I finished grazing on salad and breadsticks the food was still nice and warm.  I like a good 15 minutes to eat my salad before my entrée arrives.

The food was delicious.  The portions were just right and nicely presented.  My Seafood Alfredo was full of shrimp and scallops.  My friend’s braised beef was tender and delicious.  She used a bread stick to clean out her bowl.  We both made happy plates.

Mayra also refilled our salad bowl and was generous with the grated cheese!  My friend remarked several times that the coffee was delicious.  They bring you an urn so you can refill your cup at your convenience.  Mayra also kept my iced tea glass full.  She got points for that.

The ambience and décor were very nice.  Everything was clean and the staff was efficient.  All in all a very pleasant dining experience.

I give two thumbs up and look forward to a return visit!