While Starboard Value found the time to write a 300 page presentation criticizing the management (and food) of Darden Restaurants, Darden has decided that 24 pages suffice. The company has responded to the activist hedge fund with a new press release – see the full presentation below.

We have had numerous conversations with our shareholders, including Starboard, over the past several months regarding
Darden’s operating plan and the Olive Garden Brand Renaissance
• Olive Garden’s turnaround is underway, with signs of improvement acknowledged by many members of the analyst
community:
– New menu items have reinforced value, expanded variety, and supported increased demand from key customer
segments, including millennials
– Technology?enabled online ordering is in place and strengthening take out business
– Guest experience and satisfaction scores are improving
– Testing of tablet technology is underway and generating encouraging results
• LongHorn continues to achieve tremendous growth with same?restaurant sales exceeding the industry by 3.8% in fiscal
2014 and guest counts exceeding the industry for the 19th consecutive quarter in first quarter, fiscal 2015
• Our Specialty Restaurants continue to provide strong unit growth and competitively superior same?restaurant sales
growth
• In fiscal 2015, our cost saving efforts resulted in SG&A expense planned at less than 9.0% and total G&A spend of
approximately 5.0%, with the potential for further reductions going forward
• As Starboard’s plan adopts many of these Darden initiatives as its own, we are pleased that Starboard agrees with the actions
we are taking to reinvigorate restaurant performance, reduce costs, and drive growth
• Darden’s recommendation of a new Board, a new independent Chairman, new Board committees, and a new CEO will lead to substantial, positive change

Darden restuarants
Darden restuarants

Investor-Presentation_2014-Sep-15