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Is Darden's Dividend Safe?

Embattled restaurateur Darden (NYSE:DRI) has seen its stock take off to new highs in the past six months, rallying roughly one-third in that timeframe. Those impressive gains surprised many investors who had written off the struggling conglomerate of eateries after the company posted several pretty sour quarters. But DRI has also been known for several years as an income stock, a distinction it received after aggressively raising its payout beginning in 2006. As of now the yield sits at a meaty 3.6% but in light of DRI's operational issues that have popped up in the past couple of years, is the dividend safe? In this article I'll take a look at DRI's ability to pay and raise the dividend in the next couple of years to see if its status as an income stock may be at…