Darden Restaurants has entered into a formal area development agreement with CMR to develop and operate Darden’s Red Lobster, Olive Garden and The Capital Grille brands in Mexico. The agreement calls for CMR to initially develop a minimum of 37 restaurants in Mexico over the next five years.
“Last month we celebrated the opening of Red Lobster in Dubai, our first restaurant in the Middle East,” said Kim Lopdrup, senior vice president of Business Development for Darden. “Today, we’re excited to build upon that milestone with the announcement of our agreement with CMR, the leading full-service restaurant operator and franchisor in Mexico. With its growing middle class and strong affinity for American brands, Mexico is an attractive growth market for Darden.
“As we’ve stated previously, Darden remains committed to owning and operating its restaurants domestically. However we believe the best way for us to expand the reach of our portfolio internationally is by selecting the right partners, like CMR, with outstanding operations experience, local market knowledge, and the commitment to delivering our brands’ experience with excellence.”
CMR is Mexico’s leading casual dining company, with more than 100 restaurants in 26 cities throughout the country. For more than 40 years, the company has operated a variety of company-owned and franchised concepts within the casual dining and fine dining sectors, including: Fonda Mexicana, Destilería, Elago and Chili’s, among others.
“We are delighted to welcome Red Lobster, Olive Garden and The Capital Grille to our family,” said CMR Chairman of the Board Joaquín Vargas Guajardo. “The addition of these three highly regarded brands to our portfolio is a huge step towards our vision: ‘In casual dining, bring the best of the world to Mexico and share the best of Mexico with the world.'”