Darden Restaurants Inc. reported a 29% drop in quarterly earnings Tuesday as a decline in customers hurt sales and food and acquisition costs rose.
The Orlando, Fla.-based parent of the Olive Garden and Red Lobster restaurant chains also scaled back its profit growth target for the year because a weak U.S. dollar made imported products more expensive.
"We were unable to meet our expectations for earnings growth," Chief Executive Clarence Otis said in a statement.
Second-quarter net income slid to $43.5 million, or 30 cents a share, in the fiscal second quarter ended Nov. 25, from $61.7 million, or 41 cents, a year earlier.
The company, which has more than 1,700 full-service restaurants, said costs from its acquisition of Rare Hospitality International Inc. and a legal settlement reduced earnings by 12 cents a share in the most recent period.
Many restaurant chains have struggled this year as consumers spent less eating out because of higher gasoline and food prices and a lackluster housing market.