Olive Garden is an American casual dining restaurant chain specializing in Italian-American cuisine. It is a subsidiary of Darden Restaurants, Inc., which is headquartered in unincorporated Orange County, Florida, near Orlando. As of 2012, Olive Garden restaurants account for 45% of the sales generated by Darden. Olive Garden operates more than 750 locations globally. The first Olive Garden was opened by General Mills on December 13, 1982, in Orlando. By 1989, General Mills had opened 145 restaurants, making it one of the fastest-growing units in the company's restaurant holdings. While not a critical success, it was popular, and its per-store sales soon matched sister company Red Lobster. The company eventually became the largest chain of Italian-themed full-service restaurants in the United States. General Mills spun off its restaurant holdings as Darden Restaurants, a stand-alone company, in 1995.
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