What Olive Garden and Red Lobster tell us about the economy

Source: Neil Irwin - The Washington Post

What can bottomless pasta bowls and cheddar biscuits tell us about the economy? More than you might think. Darden Restaurants, the Orlando-based company that owns Olive Garden, Red Lobster and other mid-scale restaurant chains, on Friday morning reported solid financial results for the quarter ended in August. Revenue was up almost 5 percent from a year earlier, and earnings were up 4 percent. Darden is not alone; other restaurant chains are also reporting solid growth.

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