As filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on May 20, 2004.

                             Washington, D.C. 20549

                                    FORM 8-K

                                 CURRENT REPORT
                     Pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the
                         Securities Exchange Act of 1934

                Date of Report (Date of earliest event reported):
                                  May 20, 2004

                            Darden Restaurants, Inc.
             (Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)

         Florida                       1-13666                    59-3305930
(State or other jurisdiction     (Commission file number)       (IRS employer
     of incorporation)                                       identification No.)

                 5900 Lake Ellenor Drive, Orlando, Florida 32809
                    (Address of principal executive offices)

               Registrant's telephone number,including area code:
                                 (407) 245-4000

                                 Not Applicable
          (Former name or former address, if changed since last report)

Item 5.           Other Events.

                  On May 20, 2004, the Company issued a news release entitled
                  "Darden Restaurants Announces New Red Lobster Leadership," a
                  copy of which is being filed herewith as Exhibit 99.



     Pursuant to the  requirements  of the Securities  Exchange Act of 1934, the
Registrant  has duly  caused  this  Report  to be  signed  on its  behalf by the
undersigned hereunto duly authorized.

Dated:  May 20, 2004              DARDEN RESTAURANTS, INC.

                                  By:      /s/ Paula J. Shives
                                          Paula J. Shives
                                          Senior Vice President and
                                          General Counsel


                                INDEX TO EXHIBITS

Exhibit Number          Description of Exhibit

         99             Press Release dated May 20,2004, entitled "Darden
                        Restaurants Announces New Red Lobster Leadership."


                                                                      EXHIBIT 99
Red Lobster(R)Olive Garden(R)Bahama Breeze(R)Smokey Bones(R)
                                                            Corporate Relations
                                                            P.O. Box 593330
                                                            Orlando, FL  32859
                                (Analysts) Matthew Stroud (407) 245-6458
                                (Media)    Jim DeSimone   (407) 245-4567
May 20, 2004
10:00 AM ET

                          DARDEN RESTAURANTS ANNOUNCES
                           NEW RED LOBSTER LEADERSHIP

     ORLANDO, FL - Darden Restaurants,  Inc., (NYSE: DRI) today reported that it
has promoted  Kim Lopdrup to President of Red Lobster and Senior Vice  President
of Darden from his position as  Executive  Vice  President of Marketing  for Red
Lobster. In addition, the Company announced that Kelly Baltes, a regional Senior
Vice President of Operations in Atlanta with Olive Garden,  is being promoted to
the position of Red Lobster Executive Vice President of Operations. Jane Diange,
a regional  Senior Vice  President  of  Operations  in Orlando,  will assume the
position of Red Lobster Senior Vice President of Human Resources. After 28 years
of service to Red Lobster, Phil Robinson, Executive Vice President of Operations
for Red Lobster,  has  announced his  retirement.  Robinson will remain with the
company  through  September  to  ensure a smooth  transition.  All  changes  are
effective May 31, 2004.
     "I am pleased to announce these well deserved promotions," said Joe R. Lee,
Chairman and Chief Executive  Officer of Darden  Restaurants.  "Kim is a proven,
outstanding  leader who has been in the  restaurant  industry  since  1985.  His
dedication,  knowledge and enthusiasm for our business are contagious. He is the
right leader for Red Lobster as the company  continues  its  progress  towards a
return to historical financial  performance levels. Kelly Baltes and Jane Diange
are outstanding  operations  leaders who have been successful  throughout  their
restaurant  careers.  Phil Robinson has served Red Lobster  admirably during his
28-year  career.  He will be greatly missed by all of us at Darden,  and we wish
him well as he begins a much deserved retirement."
     Kim  Lopdrup,  46,  joined Red Lobster in 2003.  Previously,  he worked for
Burger  King  Corporation,  where he served as Chief  Operating  Officer,  North
America  and  for  Allied  Domecq  Quick  Service  Restaurants,  where  he  held
increasingly  senior  positions in  marketing  and  operations  and led a highly
successful turnaround of Allied's 3,500-unit International Division as its Chief
Executive Officer. Prior to Allied Domecq, he was employed by Procter & Gamble.
     Kelly Baltes,  38,  joined Olive Garden in 2001.  He is a 19-year  industry
veteran who  previously  worked for Uno Restaurant  Corporation  for seven years
where he was a Divisional  Vice President of Operations and a Regional  Director
of Operations.
     Jane Diange, 48, joined Olive Garden in 1996 as Director of Employment. She
held various human  resources,  staffing and  leadership  development  positions
before  being  promoted  to  her  current  role  as  Senior  Vice  President  of
Operations. Prior to joining Olive Garden, she worked for Host Marriott Services
for nine years in various human resources positions.



     Phil  Robinson  joined  Red  Lobster  in  1976  as  an  Associate  Manager.
Throughout his 28-year career, he has held increasingly responsible positions in
operations and human resources.
     "We have a tremendous opportunity at Red Lobster," said Lopdrup. "This is a
great brand with a great team that is  committed  to  providing  an  outstanding
dining  experience  to every  guest.  We have made great  progress  recently  at
improving  both  guest  satisfaction  and  operating  efficiency.  We have  also
strengthened our marketing discipline and hired a world-class  marketing partner
in The Richards  Group.  All of us at Red Lobster are focused on making  further
improvements in our operations, marketing and value position."
     Darden Restaurants,  Inc.,  headquartered in Orlando, FL, owns and operates
over 1,300 Red Lobster,  Olive Garden,  Bahama Breeze, Smokey Bones, and Seasons
52 restaurants with annual sales of over $4.7 billion.

Forward-looking statements in this news release, if any, are made under the Safe
Harbor  provisions  of the  Private  Securities  Litigation  Reform Act of 1995.
Certain  important  factors could cause results to differ  materially from those
anticipated by the forward-looking statements,  including the impact of changing
economic or business conditions, the impact of competition,  the availability of
favorable  credit  and  trade  terms,  the  impact  of  changes  in the  cost or
availability of food and real estate, government regulation, construction costs,
weather  conditions  and other  factors  discussed  from time to time in reports
filed by the Company with the Securities and Exchange Commission.