>Darden Raises 2010 Outlook on Higher Traffic

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>The owner of Red Lobster and Olive Garden restaurants, Darden Restaurants (DRI: 40.4075, 1.4075, 3.61%), upped its outlook for profits thanks to heightened consumer traffic. The company now says per-share earnings from continuing operations will be up by 5-8% for its fiscal year ending in May, up from December’s prediction of flat to a 4% rise.

“The signs of sales and traffic improvement we began to see late in the second quarter and discussed during our December conference call with investors continued into January and February,” said Darden CEO Clarence Otis in a statement.

The Orlando, Florida-based company, which also owns LongHorn Steakhouse and Capital Grille restaurants, says it will add between 50 and 55 new restaurants to its roster during the year.

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