Darden Restaurants, the operator of LongHorn Steakhouse, Olive Garden and Red Lobster, has never been one to look for a short-term pop from using discounts to lure diners into its restaurants, but that strategy can sometimes be tough for investors to swallow.
As consumers begin dining out more, Darden's competitors have been easing off the discounts, and they've been seeing a big boost in their average check. This means it's not so easy for Darden to outshine its rivals, and Darden's shares are taking a hit as a result.
But Chairman and CEO Clarence Otis defended the company's peformance in the latest quarter.
"We feel like we had a very strong quarter," Otis told CNBC in an interview.
Although the company's same-store sales growth failed to dazzle investors, the company's 20-percent earnings growth did top analysts' estimates.