Some Restaurant Stocks Prove Healthy Even in a Soft Economy

Darden Restaurants (DRI) came out with an excellent earnings report yesterday. The owner of more than 1,700 casual dining restaurants including Olive Garden, Red Lobster and LongHorn Steakhouse, reported better-than-expected earnings of 90 cents per share. The Street expected 86 cents per share.

I guess consumers are still eating out, even in this soft economy, as long as the value is there.

Here’s what Clarence Otis, chairman and chief executive officer of Darden said, “In a challenging economic environment where consumers have reduced their dining out frequency and there was a significant amount of competitive discounting, our brands performed much better than the industry. This is most evident in our blended same-restaurant sales results, which continued to outpace the industry as measured by the Knapp-Track(TM) benchmark.”

I rate Darden an A, or strong buy.

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