ORLANDO Fla. Darden Restaurants Inc., operator of 1,404 casual-dining restaurants, posted a 20-percent year-over-year surge in its first-quarter profit on revenue that increased 7.9 percent from a year ago to $1.47 billion. The company’s “strong operating results” despite a “challenging environment” were attributed to increased same-stores sales at its two flagship brands, Red Lobster and Olive Garden, as well as new unit development, Darden said.The company earned $105.9 million, or ...

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