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Darden’s Specialty Restaurant Group: The Capital Grille

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Mar. 19 2015, Updated 6:05 p.m. ET

Specialty Restaurant Group

Darden Restaurants’s (DRI) Specialty Restaurant Group contributed about 20% of Darden’s revenues in fiscal 2014. Specialty Restaurant Group debuted when Darden Restaurants (DRI) acquired RARE Hospitality International in 2007, which at the time included The Capital Grille, Seasons 52, and Bahama Breeze. Eddie V’s Prime Seafood and The Yard House later joined this group of restaurants.

As of fiscal 2014, revenue from Specialty Restaurant Group was $1,230 million, or 19.5% of the total revenue for Darden Restaurants.

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The Capital Grille

The Capital Grille is a full-service premium steakhouse with a “relaxed and elegant” ambiance, according to the company. The Capital Grille has an upscale atmosphere, offering appetizers, seafood, steaks, specialty Wagyu burgers, and salad, as well as a full bar featuring more than 350 wines.

The Capital Grille’s dinner menu also features the Chef’s Suggestions, with seasonal and specialty items. The Capital Grille offers a private dining area for small or large groups. As of fiscal 2014, The Capital Grille had 54 locations throughout the US.

Competition

Fleming’s Steakhouse, which is part of Bloomin’ Brands, is a fine dining steakhouse that competes with The Capital Grille. Fleming’s serves USDA Prime corn-fed beef, wet- and dry-aged beef, and a variety of premium cuts and sizes. Fleming’s Steakhouse also offers about 100 locally selected wines to pair with its steak dishes at its nationwide locations.

USDA Prime beef comes from well-fed, young beef cattle, and it costs more than Choice or Select grades. Prime beef is not typically served by fast food restaurants such as McDonald’s (MCD), Wendy’s (WEN), or Burger King (BKW). McDonald’s makes up about 4% of the ETF Consumer Discretionary Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLY).

In the next part of this series, we’ll discuss the remaining brands under Specialty Restaurant Group.

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