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Darden enters SE Asia

Florida-based restaurant company Darden is to enter Southeast Asia.

Darden Restaurants has signed an agreement with Asian restaurant operator Secret Recipe to develop Red Lobster, Olive Garden and LongHorn Steakhouse brands in Malaysia.

The company will initially develop 13 units under Darden’s Red Lobster, Olive Garden and LongHorn Steakhouse brands in Malaysia with the option for additional brands and locations in the future.

The deal complements Darden’s other recent development agreements in the Middle East and Latin America.

Darden says it remains committed to owning and operating its restaurants domestically and believes the best way to expand internationally is to partner with local chain restaurant operators, such as Secret Recipe, to benefit from their existing infrastructure, market knowledge and relationships.

Secret Recipe, founded in 1997, has become one of the fastest growing lifestyle cafe chains in Asia with 300 Secret Recipe Cakes & Cafe units in Malaysia, China, Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore, the Philippines, Brunei, Cambodia, India and Australia.

“Darden’s restaurant brands and values fit very well with our own operating principles, which include fine-quality food and distinctive service,” said Secret Recipe group CEO Dato’ Steven Sim.

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