Darden Restaurants recently announced the recipients of its annual “William B. Darden Distinguished Supplier Awards.” The award, named for the company’s late founder, recognizes suppliers who continuously exceed expectations by providing innovative products and services that contribute to the success of the company. The awards were presented at a dinner in Orlando last month.

The following companies were acknowledged:

Anova (San Diego, California)—for their contributions as a forward-thinking partner bringing new innovations in seafood traceability and quality.

Curly’s (Sioux City, Iowa)—for their commitment to innovation and partnership in providing three Darden businesses, LongHorn Steakhouse, Bahama Breeze and Yard House, with new products that contributed to highly successful core and promotional menu offerings.

Custom Foods of America (Knoxville, Tennessee)—for the development of two ready-to-use culinary products that allow LongHorn Steakhouse to create craveable, differentiated menu items for its guests, plus their all-around culinary support and speed to market.

Palm Bay International (Boca Raton, Florida)—for the development of Olive Garden’s highly successful proprietary wine brands and their work to help reinvigorate the Olive Garden wine culture.

Rana (Oak Brook, Illinois)—for the development and support of Olive Garden’s successful proprietary lobster ravioli and effectively meeting the heightened volume demands of the promotion, in addition to their collaboration with Olive Garden’s culinary team to help innovate new menu items.

“Outstanding supplier partners are integral to our ability to create memorable guest experiences while serving nearly 1 million meals per day in more than 1,500 restaurants across the country,” says Doug Milanes, chief supply chain officer for Darden Restaurants. “We are thankful for a strong, dedicated network of suppliers and we are pleased to recognize these five exceptional partners in this way.”

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