Orlando, Fla.-based Darden Restaurants, operator of the Olive Garden and Red Lobster chains, hopes its recent acquisition of Rare Hospitality's outstanding shares will help it challenge Outback Steakhouse in the steakhouse segment. "It is a huge category, reflecting the fact that Americans eat a lot of steak," said Clarence Otis, Darden chairman and chief executive. "We know that it is competitive, but Italian is competitive. We weren't always No. 1 in Italian."
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