This fiscal year, Darden plans to open 68 to 72 new restaurants -- a number that the Orlando-based company had previously decreased from original plans calling for between 75 and 80.
In 2010, the number of new restaurants is expected to drop to between 53 and 65, executives said. Darden spokesman Rich Jeffers called the numbers "very preliminary."
LongHorn Steakhouse and Red Lobster are expected to open fewer new restaurants in 2010, while net new units for Olive Garden, Capital Grille and Bahama Breeze openings will stay about the same as this year. Seasons 52 will likely have more openings -- two or three, compared with one planned this year.