Dave George was named Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Darden Restaurants in January 2018. He is a seasoned and trusted leader who consistently delivers strong results. In this role, Dave has strategic and operational responsibility for Olive Garden, Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen, Seasons 52 and Bahama Breeze, as well as functional responsibility for International Franchising.
Darden owns and operates more than 1,700 Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse, Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen, Yard House, The Capital Grille, Seasons 52, Bahama Breeze and Eddie V’s restaurants in North America, employing more than 180,000 people and serving nearly 390 million guests annually.
Prior to his current role, Dave served as president of Olive Garden for five years. During that time, he led Olive Garden’s Brand Renaissance, returning the brand to a position of industry leadership. Previously, Dave served as president of LongHorn Steakhouse for nine years. Dave joined LongHorn in April 1998 as Vice President of Operations, North. Two years later, he was promoted to Vice President of Operations for The Capital Grille, a division of LongHorn’s former parent company, RARE Hospitality International. He returned to LongHorn in October 2001 as Senior Vice President of Operations and was named President in 2003. He remained in that capacity following Darden’s acquisition of RARE in October 2007.
Earlier in his career, Dave served as Vice President of Operations for Tripps Restaurants. He began his restaurant career straight out of college as an Assistant Manager with Houlihans. During his 12 years with Houlihans, he held positions of increasing responsibility including Area Director of Operations for eight restaurants.
Dave earned a bachelor’s degree in Hotel, Restaurant and Institutional Management from Michigan State University.