Darden Restaurants (DRI) boasts a unique position due to its strong value proposition, menu improvements and excellent unit-level execution with differentiated brands. The company’s balanced portfolio provides a greater diversification in sales and cost synergies.

The company is also one of the few casual dining operators expanding during the sluggish economic environment, though it has not altogether been immune, as it registered sagging blended comparable restaurant sales for several quarters.

However, comparable sales in third-quarter 2010 showed a drastic improvement, which prompted Darden to lift its fiscal 2010 earnings guidance. As such, we have an Outperform recommendation on the stock.Zacks Investment Research