Olive Garden Will Start Serving Burgers And Fries Because Why Not

italiano burgerWould you buy a plate of ravioli from McDonald’s? How about the complete reverse of that: a burger from Olive Garden? The freshest idea from the chain eatery is a “Burger Italiano” intended to compete with quick-serve rivals like Chili’s. Will it work? Um, probably not.

The idea came from market research that Olive Garden performed to figure out where its customers were going. Turns out that some potential diners looked deep inside their hearts and decided that they’d rather have a burger. Instead of choosing Olive Garden, they go to another casual chain restaurant oasis in the vast strip mall wasteland.

Of course, serving burgers isn’t necessarily the solution to this problem. Sometimes customers just want a burger, and they’re not going to think of Olive Garden when that craving hits. “It would be the same as McDonald’s trying to do some sort of pasta meal. I’m not seeing it,” one analyst told Bloomberg.

The burger does have an Italian spin: toppings include mozzarella, prosciutto, arugula, pesto, tomatoes, and garlic aioli spread.

We do find one thing about this plan intriguing: Olive Garden plans to offer parmesan-garlic fries with the new burger, and they’ll go with the rest of the chain’s sandwiches as well. In other news, Olive Garden serves sandwiches.

Olive Garden Challenges Chili’s Burgers With Six-Ouncer [Bloomberg] (Thanks, Wayne!)

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  1. FusioptimaSX says:

    Never in my life will I ever get a burger from Olive Garden. I actually heard just yesterday they offer sandwich lunch combos which come with fries and unlimited soup. If they want to serve steak and “Italian” it up, so be it, but I won’t be buying a burger. I guess it’s for families that have extremely picky eaters. This may very well give them some extra business they wouldn’t otherwise receive.

  2. SingleMaltGeek says:

    Where’s the survey answer “I wouldn’t eat there unless you paid me?” I’m not being snobby, but if I want a decent burger I’d go to Five Guys or In-N-Out or Cheeburger Cheeburger. Usually we like to find small local places instead of chains anyway, just to see what the local specialties are. But if I had no other choices other than OG and no time to research or look around, I’d probably get their pasta.

  3. Xenotaku says:

    Had to vote “yes”, because there wasn’t a “maybe”. I’m a picky burger eater (meat, cheese, bun. Nothing else), so it would depend on the price and thickness of the burger, cheeses available, etc.

    It would also depend on the Lasagna Frittas not being available. Because I pretty much only order those. They’re too good.

  4. Alecto67 says:

    Red Lobster did a similar menu expansion last year. Their reasoning was to get the groups of people who are trying to decide on a restaurant. They didn’t want someone vetoing that choice of a restaurant because “they don’t want fish”, causing the group of 3 other people who were fine with italian-ish food to end up somewhere else.

    • Seli says:

      Yes, this is exactly it. You have a family or a group of friends large enough and there’s always going to be someone who’s vegetarian or a the girl who just wants a bowl of plain pasta or someone who only eats burgers and fries. (One time at a place called Tortilla Sam’s the food runner made fun of Mr.Seli as she was serving the group.. “And who here orders the burger at a Mexican restaurant?”) If the chain restaurants want to be competitive they’re going to have to make those kinds of accommodations.

      • LauraNorthrup says:

        I’m infamous in my family for ordering a grilled cheese sandwich at a restaurant on the Maine coast that pretty much just serves lobster.

  5. PhillyDom says:

    There are two ways this makes sense: for picky eaters whose parents dragged them to Olive Garden, and the people who go along with a group decision to go to Olive Garden even though they don’t like Italian food.

    But I won’t be trying the burger. I’m Italian-American, and no self-respecting Italian-American would eat at a faux Italian joint like Olive Garden.

  6. Kakkorotto says:

    I would try it because it does seem interesting. I can see it also for the group setting. I like all foods so I’d try it to try it.