Darden Restaurants, the parent company of the stalwart chain, saw a substantial downturn in business during the height of COVID-19, though all indicators show a strong recovery. Why then, are rumors of LongHorn Steakhouse closings appearing online?
This article is based on corporate postings and accredited media reports. Linked information within this article is attributed to the following outlets: FranchiseDarden.com, Wikipedia.org, ScrapeHero.com, and Investor.Darden.com.
Earlier today, NewsBreak published my article entitled “Fact-Check: Is Olive Garden Going Out of Business in 2022?” The article addressed a recent spate of rumors regarding the long-term health of the perennial chain, which is owned by the same entity, Darden Restaurants.
The article touched upon the financial health of the parent company, as a possible explanation for the rumors, though that company is also healthy: In terms of Darden itself closing, the Olive Garden parent also owns the following companies per FranchiseDarden.com: LongHorn Steakhouse, Cheddar's Scratch Kitchen, Yard House, The Capital Grille, Seasons 52, Bahama Breeze and Eddie V's. Olive Garden remains their largest entity in terms of location count and financials, followed by LongHorn Steakhouse, and none of the listed companies have been noted as going out of business.
However, as with rumors of Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse is also bearing the brunt of social media chatter of imminent closure.
Let us explore further.
Longhorn Steakhouse, 2022
Wikipedia features a comprehensive overview of the LongHorn Steakhouse chain: LongHorn Steakhouse is an American casual dining restaurant chain owned and operated by Darden Restaurants, Inc., headquartered in Orlando Florida… LongHorn Steakhouse was founded in 1981 by George McKerrow, Jr. and his best friend Brian. McKerrow was a former manager at Quinn's Mill Restaurant, a subsidiary of Victoria Station, a San Francisco-based concept with railroad cars used as dining areas that was popular in the US during the 70's and 80's. The first location, originally called LongHorn Steaks Restaurant & Saloon, opened on Peachtree Street in Atlanta, Georgia.
According to ScrapeHero.com: There are 572 LongHorn Steakhouse locations in the United States as of September 07, 2022. The state with the most number of LongHorn Steakhouse locations in the US is Florida, with 75 locations, which is 13% of all LongHorn Steakhouse locations in America.
The company on the surface appears financially healthy. Indeed, under the Darden umbrella, the company is second in terms of business metrics to Olive Garden. For specifics regarding Darden revenue across all sectors, including LongHorn Steakhouse trends, see here for comprehensive Investor.Darden.com report.
The source of the rumors appears to have started around June of 2020. An archived report from SeafoodSource.com, from that period, is representative of those initial news stories. “Restaurant Losses Called ‘Catastrophic’ as Darden’s Sales Plummet,” as published in SeafoodSource.com, stated the following: Adding to the industry’s woes, Darden reported a steep drop in quarterly sales and said some of the company’s restaurants will be closed. Orlando, Florida-based Darden said its fiscal fourth quarter 2020 sales dropped 43 percent to USD 1.27 billion. Its same-restaurant sales plummeted 62.5 percent for The Capital Grille, 65.2 percent for Eddie V’s, 70.7 percent for Yard House, 69.9 percent for Seasons 52, 66 percent for Bahama Breeze, 45.3 percent for Longhorn Steakhouse, and 30 percent for Olive Garden.
However, this downturn in the restaurant industry was global during the height of COVID-19. Darden, as per the investor link above, has not only recovered but has sustained since.
The rumors of LongHorn Steakhouse closing are false.
Darden continues to do well, having picked up considerably, and now sustaining, since its pandemic-height financial woes, and LongHorn Steakhouse remains its second-highest revenue generator.
Although rumors of LongHorn Steakhouse and other Darden holdings shuttering remain rampant online, no new locations have been announced as closing this year at the time of this writing.
Thank you for reading.