Cheddar's Scratch Kitchen operates 165 locations across 28 states

ORLANDO, Fla. – Darden Restaurants Inc. will soon be adding another restaurant to its portfolio. The Orlando-based company that owns and operates more than 1,500 restaurants and generates $7 billion in annual sales will soon be adding Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen to its list of brands. Darden announced March 27 that it will acquire Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen for $780 million in an all-cash transaction from its stockholders including private equity firms L Catterton and Oak Investment Partners.

Gene Lee, president and CEO of Darden

“Cheddar’s is an undisputed casual dining value leader with broad appeal and strong average restaurant volumes,” said Darden CEO Gene Lee. “Cheddar’s is a great fit in the Darden portfolio because it complements our existing brands. This addition will also enable Darden to further strengthen two of our most important competitive advantages: our significant scale and our extensive data and insights.”

Founded in 1970 in Arlington, Texas, Cheddar’s now has 165 locations, including 140 owned and 25 franchised, across 28 states. The average annual restaurant volumes are $4.4 million.

Ian Baines, current CEO of Cheddar’s, will remain president of Cheddar’s and will report to Lee.

Ian Baines
Ian Baines, CEO of Cheddar's

“We are excited about the opportunity to be a part of Darden,” Baines said. “Our operating philosophy and values are similar and we believe this transaction provides a great opportunity for our team members to continue to grow and develop in their careers. Additionally, Darden’s expertise will enable us to further capitalize on our growth potential.” 

The transaction is expected to be completed during Darden’s fiscal 2017 fourth quarter and is subject to customary closing conditions.