Darden Restaurants owns and operates more than 1,500 restaurants including Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse, Bahama Breeze, Seasons 52, The Capital Grille and others. Darden employs more than 150,000 people, serves more than 320 million meals a year, and is the #1 casual-dining operator by revenue.
As a leading food provider, Darden has a unique opportunity and responsibility to use its considerable purchasing power and industry influence to support a healthier, fairer and more sustainable food system! We want it to purchase more healthy, fairly produced food, as well as raise the salary of workers in its restaurants to a sustainable level.
Please join us and our partners the Food Chain Workers Alliance, Restaurant Opportunities Centers United, Friends of the Earth, the Center for Biological Diversity, Food Democracy Now!, and Green America to demand Darden Restaurants serve good food that is healthy, sustainable, safe and fair!
We urge Darden to adopt greener menus that support the well-being of its customers, its workers, farmers, animals and our environment. Specifically, we urge Darden to ensure at least 20% of its food purchases adhere to the Good Food Purchasing Principles* by 2020.
These include supporting:
1. Local Economies: Purchase food at fair prices from local and regional small and medium-sized food producers;
2. Environmental Sustainability: Reduce meat and dairy purchases by 20 percent, including serving smaller portion sizes and adding meat/dairy-free entree options; sourcing from organically certified food producers (including, no factory farms/CAFOs) and purchasing 100 percent of meat raised without the routine use of antibiotics;
3. Animal Welfare: Source meat from producers that adhere to verifiable high-welfare standards: Animal Welfare Approved, Global Animal Partnership (at least step 2) and/or Certified Humane Raised and Handled;
4. Good Nutrition: Include generous portions of fruits and vegetables, legumes, whole grains; and by reducing salt, added sugar, fat, and red and processed meat; and
5. A Valued Workforce: Ensure living wage and sustainable working conditions, both in your supply chain and for all the employees in your restaurants.
*These principles, which were approved by the LA Food Policy Council in and LA Unified School District in 2012 govern those entities purchasing (including 127 million meals at LAUSD).