Bigger deal than it sounds: Darden ends affiliation with Florida restaurant trade group

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Darden Restaurants is ending its affiliation with the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association, the Orlando Sentinel reports.

The Orlando-based restaurant company, which owns Olive Garden and Red Lobster restaurant chains, notified the association that it would not be renewing its membership when it expires at the end of the year, but would not give a reason for ending the relationship, according to the Sentinel.

Restaurant experts said a disagreement concerning one or more of FRLA’s legislative positions could have played a role in Darden’s decision to end its relationship with the association. Darden previously announced it was against a bill drafted by the association that would have cut minimum wage for Florida workers who earn tips on top of earning $2.13 an hour, the Sentinel reports.

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Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including,,, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.