Darden Eating places CEO Rick Cardenas bought a query on a latest earnings name that even the trade analyst asking it thought was odd.
The analyst needed to find out about what impact diabetes and urge for food suppressant medication akin to Ozempic would have on restaurant demand. Cardenas heads the corporate that owns Olive Backyard, house to “unending” soup, salad and breadsticks.
“Full-service eating events are pushed by a want to attach with household and pals,” Cardenas answered on the earnings name final month, noting he didn’t count on a “significant impression” for his Orlando-based firm.
Regardless of all these breadsticks at Olive Backyard, Cardenas mentioned Darden has spent a number of time through the years creating menus to offer friends a variety of selections.
“If it suppresses urge for food somewhat bit, they’re nonetheless going to eat,” Cardenas mentioned. “So we’re going to be there for them once they do.”
Darden has 1,998 eating places together with Olive Backyard, LongHorn Steakhouse, Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen and Ruth’s Chris Steak Home.
However it’s not simply at Darden the place these sorts of questions are developing. Walmart U.S. CEO John Furner advised Bloomberg that the corporate has seen a “slight pullback” from customers taking these medicines.
GLP-1 medication akin to Ozempic are Kind 2 diabetes medicines that assist with blood sugar and may also assist with weight reduction. In keeping with the Mayo Clinic, the medication seem to help in subduing starvation.
Nonetheless, restaurant and retail consultants say it’s too quickly to know for positive what is going to occur.
“It’s extra of a Wall Avenue story versus a shopper story as a result of if it turns into an enormous shopper story it could take so lengthy to work its manner by way of all of the totally different customers,” San Diego-based restaurant analyst John Gordon advised the Orlando Sentinel. “I feel it could take years to achieve mainstream protection and adaptation.”
One unknown for eating places, Gordon mentioned, is that if the prescription may imply various things for various sorts of eateries, akin to Denny’s versus Darden’s The Capital Grille, a positive eating chain.
“It’s a difficulty that people who observe shares day in and time out … would possibly discover to be a catalyst, and a catalyst is one thing that’s new information which may drive shares both up or down,” Gordon mentioned.
However conventional grocers akin to Lakeland-based Publix might be extra uncovered than retailers akin to Walmart or Goal that supply greater than meals, mentioned Amanda Lai, a director at Chicago-based retail consulting agency McMillanDoolittle.
“Retailers like grocers which are extra food-centric would possible be extra impacted if the development of pulling again on searching for meals because of urge for food suppressant medication continues to develop,” Lai mentioned.
Lai additionally famous customers have been tightening their wallets for a wholly totally different purpose: excessive inflation in recent times.
“Since we’re simply listening to among the preliminary findings from retailers, it’s nonetheless pretty early to attract definitive conclusions,” Lai mentioned.
When requested concerning the feedback from Walmart and what, if any, results Publix had seen or expects to see from customers who is likely to be on these medicines, spokeswoman Maria Brous mentioned in an e mail the corporate didn’t have “direct information that will correlate or help this concept.”
Publix has greater than 1,350 shops within the Southeast and 859 shops in Florida.
Lai mentioned the problem may put “the onus on meals firms to proceed to innovate their choices.”