Now in its 16th year, the award is presented annually by Darden Restaurants to
the top performing general managers and managing partners across the company's restaurant
brands. The award is named in
honor of Joe Lee, who opened the first Red Lobster
in 1968 with company founder
Bill Darden, and who later became Darden's first Chairman
The award recognizes outstanding customer service and top financial performance in the company’s previous fiscal
Ricks joins an elite group of 39 general managers selected from the more than 800 in North America.
In 2013, Darden was named to Fortune Magazine's “100 Best Companies to Work
For” list for the third year in a row, and is the only full-service
restaurant company ever to appear on the list. The company's restaurant brands include Red Lobster, Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse, Bahama Breeze, Seasons
52, The Capital Grille, Eddie V’s and Yard House.