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Darden’s Restaurants Ranked #99 in Fortune’s List of 100 Best Companies To Work For

Darden Restaurants, Inc., the company behind full-service restaurants Olive Garden, Red Lobster, LongHorn Steakhouse, The Capital Grille, Bahama Breeze and Seasons 52, has once again been recognized by Fortune Magazine as part of the “100 Best Companies to Work For.”

Having ranked #99, the multi-brand restaurant operator was also recognized as the largest employer in Fortune’s list, with a total of 169,516 U.S. employees and 3,304 workers outside of the country. It opened 5,137 new jobs last year, with only 3% voluntary turnover. This year, as of January 2, 2012, its entire job openings total to 5,190.

Other than being the lone full-service operator to have appeared in the magazine’s list, Darden’s also holds the prestige of being recognized as a “diversity champion”: 30% of its restaurant managers are minorities while 41% of it is women.

In choosing the companies that made it to their Top 100 List, Fortune partnered with research and training firm Great Place to Work Institute to carry-out an extensive employee survey of 280 firms in America, where over 246,000 employees became respondents to the survey designed by the institute. Two-thirds of a certain company’s score is based on the study’s Trust Index poll–questions about the employees’ views towards management credibility, camaraderie and job satisfaction. The remaining one-third of a company’s score is based on Culture Audit—questions about compensation benefit programs, hiring practices, training, internal communication methods, diversity efforts and recognition programs. Firms that have existed for at least five years and retain more than one thousand U.S. employees can be evaluated as a possible contender to Fortune’s list.

“We are once again honored to have made it to the Fortune list, this being our second time,” said Darden’s Chairman and CEO Clarence Otis. “Service-oriented companies like us appreciate the discretionary effort that our employees in outstanding restaurant uniforms exert, as we realize that such effort is what makes a guest’s good experience different from an extraordinary one. We make sure that our employees are aware that who they are, what they do, who they are with and what they learn matters to us.”

“We believe that our strong commitment to maintain a durable, people-focused company culture plays a large role why our restaurants continue to succeed in the food-service arena,” he added.

Along with their constant goal to hit bottom lines, Darden Restaurants, Inc. Also continuously aims to improve their workforce, especially their restaurant staff in their elegant restaurant uniforms. As company president and COO Drew Madsen said, “Just as we aim to continually give our guests an outstanding experience every time they visit any of our restaurants, our firm is equally focused to help each of the 180,000 employees that we have, as we hope to provide them with opportunities to accomplish their professional and personal dreams.”