Darden Restaurants Earnings Call Nuggets: Free Cash Flow and Program Spending Cuts

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Darden Restaurants Inc (NYSE:DRI) recently reported its first quarter earnings and discussed the following topics in its earnings conference call.

Free Cash Flow

Matthew DiFrisco – Lazard: My questions with respect to, I guess, just looking at the free cash flow. I might have missed this, if you gave some guidance on that or updated the guidance on it. I heard you mentioned that in the second half of fiscal ’14, you are going to resume the Olive Garden remodel and if there is a 100 more remodels of Red Lobster. So, can you give us an update as far as how that might affect your free cash flow and your CapEx budget in aggregate?

C. Bradford Richmond – SVP and CFO: Yeah. Matt, this is Brad. The guidance we’ve given before in terms of our total cash flow and in this case, our CapEx really incorporates that we had some testing funds for Olive Garden. So, they will continue that and Red Lobster will continue on their plans. So, there is really no change in our overall cap expectations. We bounce a little bit around here in there, but no major change there.

Matthew DiFrisco – Lazard: Then I guess I had a question with respect to the specialty division, G&A, I think, you mentioned that there was the Yard House, some integration issues. I guess, looking at the comp was that primarily the reason for the comp going negative or are there some regional things maybe specific to its Southern California regional exposure?

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