Darden Restaurants Recognizes SWS for its “Outstanding Performance” in 2006
For Immediate Release                        Contact: Brad Vassar
                                                             Executive Vice President, General Manager
                                                             Southern Wine & Spirits of America, Inc.
                                                             Telephone: (305) 625-4171
                                                             

Darden Restaurants, Inc. Recognizes Southern Wine & Spirits of America, Inc. for its “Outstanding Performance” in 2006 

Company’s National Accounts Team is a Member of Select 5 Percent Group of Darden’s Suppliers to Red Lobster, Olive Garden, Bahama Breeze and             Smoky Bones Restaurants

MIAMI -- June 1, 2007 – Southern Wine & Spirits of America, Inc., the nation’s leading wine and spirits distributor with a tradition of delivering the highest levels of service excellence since 1968, today announced that the Company’s National Accounts Group has received recognition for its “Outstanding Performance” in 2006 as a supplier to Darden Restaurants, Inc., the world’s largest casual dining restaurant company, which is based in Orlando, Florida, according to Brad Vassar, Executive Vice President, General Manager of Southern Wine & Spirits of America, Inc.

     According to Darden’s internal evaluation process, only the top five percent [5%] of the company’s suppliers are recognized in this annual recognition program, and Mr. Vassar said on behalf of the Company’s National Accounts Team how honored it is be distinguished for its excellent service by the world’s largest casual dining restaurant company, which operates nearly 1,400 locations in North America.

     In a May 1, 2007 letter from Darden Restaurants addressed to Southern Wine &   Spirits of America, Jim Lawrence, Senior Vice President, Supply Management & Purchasing, and Tracey Randall, Manager, Total Beverage & Commodities Purchasing, wrote: “Using [Darden’s] Supplier Performance Evaluation scores, the winners were chosen based on the following criteria: Top 5% of Overall Scores; [and] Continuous Improvement for Increased Overall Score in three or more consecutive rating periods. ”

     In their congratulatory letter to Southern, the two Darden executives go on to state: “Your success in this rating period was based on strong performance in the key areas that Darden rates: Relationship, Service, Quality and Innovation.”

     Mr. Vassar said, “On behalf of our entire Company, Wayne E. Chaplin, our President and Chief Operating Officer, and Harvey R. Chaplin, our Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, I want to applaud the hard work and high professional standards of our National Accounts Team. Their efforts on behalf of, and in service to, Darden Restaurants are emblematic of our Company’s tradition of service excellence and our industry-leading innovative programs we create for every sales channel and customer, both large and small, with which we are privileged to work. I also want to recognize both Bill Edwards, Vice President, Eastern Region, National Accounts and Ken Kribel, Vice President, National Accounts and their entire team at Southern Wine & Spirits of America, for going the extra mile in their work with Darden and all our on-premise national chain customers around the country. This is an honor we are all proud of receiving from Darden Restaurants.”

About Darden Restaurants, Inc.:

Darden Restaurants, Inc. (NYSE: DRI) of Orlando, Fla., is the nation's largest casual dining restaurant company in sales and market share,. The company owns and operates nearly 1,400 Red Lobster, Olive Garden, Bahama Breeze, Smokey Bones Barbeque & Grill and Seasons 52 restaurants in North America, employing more than 150,000 people who serve 300 million meals annually. For more information, please log onto: http://www.darden.com/

About Southern Wine & Spirits of America, Inc.:

     Southern Wine & Spirits of America, Inc., the nation’s leading wine and spirits distributor with a tradition of delivering the highest levels of service excellence since 1968, currently conducts business in 27 states. The Company operates in Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Kentucky, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Vermont, Virginia, and West Virginia.  The Company has a strategic partnership with Alaska Distributors Co. of Seattle, Washington, called Southern Wine/Spirits West, a joint venture that has wine and spirits brokerage operations across the Northwest Control States of Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.  On a national basis, Southern Wine & Spirits of America, Inc. employs more than 10,000 team members.

     For more information, please log on to: www.southernwine.com

 

 


Posted on Tuesday, June 05, 2007 (Archive on Tuesday, June 12, 2007)
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