This paper, Supply Chain Management in Darden Restaurants, looks at the processes of supply chain management in Darden Restaurants (aka: Red Lobster, Olive Garden, Longhorn Steakhouse, etc.). The paper shows how the supply chain side coupled with logistics of the Darden chain and how they operate is the theme of the paper. This author describes that if the company is to survive, the restaurant chain must continue to cut costs and keep on being creative by implementing different ways to run the business. Also, this paper describes how the management, managers and everybody at Darden can benefit from the company keeping the costs low while they think about the customer. This paper would be beneficial to read should someone see how a major restaurant chain like Darden’s keeps on staying in business in all of these different countries as well as here at home.

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Darden Restaurant buys $2.5 billion in food products from two thousand suppliers in thirty-five countries every year. The Supply Chain Management is run, from the top down, at one of the greatest companies in the world.

Everything from water, energy and natural resources is what is used to process the foods required in these restaurants. In addition, packaging and transportation of the food to warehouses and distributors worldwide also has an effect on Darden’s bottom line (2).

One key to Darden’s success is that they focus on and have a good understanding of management issues in the supply chain management and continually look for ways to influence for positive changes on a regular basis and continually engage the suppliers on issues regarding sustainability. Darden pays attention to human rights abuses as well as animal rights issues and seafood sustainability. Darden’s goal is to carry on long-term relationships with suppliers that are mutually beneficial to all parties and find a constructive way to improve their approach to performance (2). Finally, there is the whole concept of packaging and the waste production associated with the very important function of business operations at Darden. The restaurant owners have utilized a Supplier Packaging Optimization Program (2). This program works with surplus to reduce the amount of waste as well as the amount of materials required to use in their packaging operations. The more that Darden can reduce in costs related to packaging the more they can save in fuel expenses transporting the packages of food that generates throughout daily operations (2).

Pertaining to a food distribution system, Darden has the very best idea. It is called “Darden Direct” (2) which increases the productivity and efficiency of logistics and distribution necessities. Financially speaking, it is cheaper because it results in fewer miles driven in Darden transportation trucks which cuts back on fuel consumption and emissions (2). As part of their innovation in saving fuel costs with the tractor trailers, the owners can research alternative fuel vehicle fleets which could save the company even more money.

The management as well as the mangers of Darden can benefit from all of this cost cutting is that as these programs and ideas get implemented, they can find ways to make more money and trickle the money from the top level executives, down to and including the managers, and finally the minimum wage and below minimum wage workers at Darden restaurants. The company on the whole will also keep running for many more years to come assuming that they can keep people coming into their restaurants.

This author’s prediction is that Darden will continue to remain at the top of their game and maybe even open more restaurants in the United States and abroad. The consumers will be able to keep going to Darden restaurants and enjoying the excellent food while the managers keep on implementing their cost saving measures.