Another Wasteful Expense At Olive Garden: Excessive Carpet Shampooing

The table-waiting, breadstick-hoarding board of directors over at Darden, parent company of Olive Garden, has some more extremely practical advice for its restaurants on the ground: they need to shampoo their carpets less. This is an example of an actual cost-saving measure proposed by the company’s CEO.

That might seem minor to you or me, since we only have one house full of carpet. Olive Garden, has more than 800 restaurants that are carpeted, and when they’re paying someone to shampoo that carpet and to replace it when it wears out from too-frequent shampooing, that adds up.

CEO Gene Lee explained during a recent conference call with investors that the normal protocol for carpets is to clean them once a month, and any more than that “you end up actually destroying the carpet,” with no benefit in the meantime.

Darden’s board was recently taken over by dissident investors who were unhappy with how the restaurant was run, from salted pasta rusting out pasta pans to excessive breadstick use. It’s that board that is now scrutinizing every invoice to look for expenses to cut.

It’s not all salted spaghetti and carpet wear patterns, though: Darden announced today that it plans to sell restaurant buildings that it owns to a real estate investment trust, which would help the company pay debt and free up some cash.

Olive Garden’s Latest Cost-Cutting Plan: Clean Carpet Less Often [Bloomberg News]

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