Olive Garden Touting Its New Logo As The Symbol For Its “Brand Renaissance”

(Darden)

(Darden)

Olive Garden has been busy trying to convince people it’s not the same fast casual dining experience it’s always been — first with tapas, then a burger and some new menus, and now Darden is pinning its hopes and dreams on a revamped logo as part of its “brand renaissance” efforts.

In a presentation to investors today (you can see the entire slide show in PDF here if that’s your thing), Darden shows off the new logo which my colleague Laura points out looks kind of like a generic package of veggie burgers.

The company is “very excited” about the logo, calling it “clean, fresh and appealing.”

“We started with brand conditioning as the foundation for our initial design,” Dave Pickens, chief restaurant operations officer for Darden, said in the presentation. “We then conducted extensive testing and quantitative research to further shape and validate the new design.”

Executives also dished about new plateware (!) coming in 2015 that “lets the food be the star” and addressed the upcoming spinoff of Red Lobster.

“We believe separation will allow Red Lobster and the rest of Darden to better serve what are increasingly divergent guest targets,” the company said in the presentation. “Separation removes from Darden the high level of same restaurant sales volatility associated with the more promotional nature of the Red Lobster business.”

You can follow MBQ on Twitter to see if she changes her logo for brand renaissance: @marybethquirk

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  1. terin says:

    Can you include the picture of the logo on the side of the building which is on page 28 of the PDF? It’s easy to be quick to judge if you’re just seeing the logo outside of context.

    • GnRJosh says:

      Even after looking at those pictures (thanks for the heads up by the way), it still looks way out-of-place when combined with the “old-world” look of current-standing OG stores. Yes, OG is as close to real Italian as Taco Bell is to Mexican food, but the fact still stands that their stores are supposed to invoke a traditional Italian family dinner and this new logo looks more in touch with some earthy vegetarian bistro. If they plan to remodel all their stores to a color scheme that matches the logo, then it might be a little easier to stomach, but right now, they totally clash.

  2. SingleMaltGeek says:

    The old one has the look and feel of a nice plaque, with that 3D effect and nice texture. The new one looks like the CEO’s nephew discovered Photoshop. Very flat, very bland, even the font is boring.

  3. oomingmak says:

    I don’t think the new logo is completely horrible but that font they chose is truly unfortunate. It looks like something from one of those 500 FREE FONTS! CDs you used to get with your MacWorld magazine subscription.

    I even looked at the PDF to see it in context — it didn’t help.

  4. MarthaGaill says:

    I’m a huge fan of modern, clean logos, but nothing about their new logo makes me want to eat Italian food. I wonder if they’re planning on redesigning the interiors as well. This really doesn’t mesh with their current style. I mean, I get they’re going for a younger hipper crowd, but I don’t know if this is enough.

  5. theocraticjello says:

    I won’t eat there no matter what their logo is. They shaft their employees:

    http://www.inquisitr.com/358886/red-lobster-olive-garden-longhorn-to-cut-employee-hours-blames-obamacare/

  6. RupturedDuck says:

    Well, I actually read the entire presentation to investors report. Lots of graphs, charts and mumbo jumbo words. It still doesn’t change reality that putting new lipstick on a pig means you’re still a pig. The food is still pre-processed and contains way too much salt, the salad is boring iceberg lettuce, and you treat your staff like crap.

  7. Xenotaku says:

    I thoguht OG’s entire schtick was being “old Italy”? The new sign looks like some hip new cafe, not a sit-down restaurant with cultural(ish) foods.

  8. FusioptimaSX says:

    I’m usually all for change and progression. This ain’t it.

    “ooks kind of like a generic package of veggie burgers.” — My thoughts exactly.

    I knew something was wrong from the moment they started serving french fries.