THE NEWS: Darden Restaurants Inc. reported a better-than-expected profit for its fiscal first-quarter as new restaurants boosted total sales and the company paid less in income taxes.
THE DETAILS: Taken together, sales at restaurants open at least a year dipped for its three largest chains — Olive Garden, Red Lobster and Longhorn Steakhouse. But the company noted that it's retooling its menus and marketing message, with major changes planned for the months ahead.
THE FUTURE: At Olive Garden, the company plans more light dishes to meet changing tastes. At Red Lobster, more chicken and beef dishes will be added to the menu to widen the chain's appeal beyond seafood lovers. Value will be a focus at both chains.