Whatever Happened To Olive Garden?

September 13, 2014 in Daily Bulletin

Olive Garden is now a loss-making business, and a hedge fund just released a presentation outlining everything that the company is doing wrong writes Max Nisen:

  • The quality of food has declined. Pasta dishes, for example, have the sauce dumped on top of them rather than mixed in and evenly distributed, leading to variable levels of heat and taste per spoonful.
  • The chain has also stopped salting the water in which the pasta is cooked in, because it was causing pots to wear out too quickly. Salted water is, of course, crucial to adding flavour to pasta.
  • American burgers and Spanish Tapas are odd menu items for a chain that was once renowned for its Italian authenticity.
  • The endless breadsticks largely go to waste. The hedge fund recommends serving around one breadstick per guest, and then having the server come back with more if they are being eaten, arguing that this increases customer touch points and improves satisfaction.
  • Wine, a key part of the Italian dining experience, and a significant profit driver at restaurants, is hardly marketed.

Ultimately the hedge fund concludes that the chain should take steps which will both drive profits and increase customer satisfaction. Read about the problems with the chain’s frying, its takeout containers, and endless salad over here.

Source: Quartz