Not even a year ago, the activist hedge-fund investors at Starboard Value were making headlines with their 300-page report criticizing Olive Garden management for being wasteful with the free breadsticks, overly generous with the salad dressing, and not selling enough booze. Since then, Starboard has ousted board members at Olive Garden parent company Darden Restaurants and replaced them with their own nominees who have ushered in menu changes like turning those breadsticks into sandwiches. In an attempt to ground the new board members’ decisions in the real world, they all got to spend an evening on the foodservice front line. [More]
You may remember that earlier this summer Darden Restaurants sold off its not-so-profitable Red Lobster chain for $2.1 billion citing slow business. Well, things might not have been so dire for the seafood chain, a new lawsuit pitting a Darden’s shareholder against the board shows. [More]
“Italian Generosity” Means Olive Garden Will Give You As Many Breadsticks As It Wants – Thank You Very Much
The first thing to come to mind when I think of Olive Garden isn’t pasta, it’s breadsticks. Baskets of free, buttery bread – I mean they are practically the cornerstone of the restaurant. So when an investor to the company proposed the idea that maybe the O.G. shouldn’t so willingly, or liberally hand out the carb-filled sticks, we were a little shocked. But fear not, the restaurant wants customers to know that they can still have as many free sticks as they want, because, you know, “Italian generosity” is a thing. [More]
For all of its menu updates and attempted image changes over the decades, Olive Garden has never stopped reminding consumers of the free breadsticks they’ll get when they come in for a bite. But one hedge fund says that the O.G. is hurting itself, and its investors, by not paying enough attention to all the bread they put in those baskets. [More]
As was foretold back in December, Darden Restaurants is chucking its catch back into the sea, and getting a nice chunk of change for it: The company announced that it’s selling seafood chain Red Lobster off to investment firm Golden Gate Capital for $2.1 billion in cash. [More]
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. [More]
There’s a storm a’brewin’ and it’s made of almost 20,000 former and current Darden Restaurants employees who have joined a federal lawsuit against the company. The suit alleges that Darden underpaid workers at 2,000 restaurants in all 50 states. [More]
Before any Red Lobster fans go into some kind of crustacean-related panic, the chain isn’t going away forever. But that being said, it sounds like its parent company Darden Restaurants is trying awfully hard to distance itself from the seafood chain. [More]
Though it’s been a point of concern with employee-rights advocates for years, the use of prepaid debit cards as a substitute for traditional payroll checks is finally getting attention from the powers that be, with the New York state attorney general’s office investigating the practice at some of the nation’s largest employers. [More]
Anyone who hates getting a stranger’s necktie in their plate of reasonably priced pasta will be glad to hear that Olive Garden is getting with the times and changing its servers’ uniforms for the first time since 1982. No more white shirts bearing stained signs of kitchen mishaps, and no more ties dipping into your unending bowl of minestrone. [More]
As more pieces of the Affordable Care Act federal health care law come into effect, employers are evidently beginning to brainstorm ideas to save money and avoid having to provide health care for their employees. Darden Restaurants, owner of chains such as Red Lobster, Olive Garden, and LongHorn Steakhouses is trying out a venerable tactic from the retail industry: keeping employee hours just a hair under “full-time” so they don’t have to provide benefits.
The powers that be at two large U.S. companies — Sears and Darden Restaurants (Olive Garden, Red Lobster, LongHorn Steakhouse, and others) — are looking to transition away from their traditional employer-sponsored health insurance and toward a model that gives employees a fixed amount of money with which to buy coverage.
Darden, parent company of ubiquitous chain restaurants such as Olive Garden, Red Lobster, and LongHorn Steakhouse, likes to cluster its restaurants near each other. So it makes sense that in smaller markets, they would pair a Red Lobster and an Olive Garden in one building, with a shared kitchen, bar, waiting area, and rest rooms. This seemed like totally amazing news until we learned that customers will not be able to order off both menus. Then what’s the point?
Olive Garden is always pushing the “when you’re here, you’re family” slogan, so like any good family member should, they want you eating less fat and sodium.