With an increased concern about the role high sodium levels play in high blood pressure, kidney disease and other health issues, a number of restaurant chains have been attempting to cut back on the salt in recent years. A new review of meals from 17 of the nation’s most popular fast food and family eateries shows that most chains are slowly reducing the amounts of sodium in their food (though it’s still very high), while a small number of others have actually gone the other direction. [More]
Most of us are fully aware when we step into an American-style, sort-of-Italian restaurant like Olive Garden, Carraba’s, Maggiano’s, or Macaroni Grill that we’re going to leave in worse shape than we entered. But while the calorie counts vary greatly from menu item to menu item, almost everything you’ll get at one of these chain eateries is full of sodium. [More]
Raphael recently went out to eat at Olive Garden, the food and service were, he says, “fine.” He was less delighted when he looked at the receipt, though. It provided useful suggested tips for 15%, 18%, and 20%. Only these suggestions weren’t actually 15-20% of his before-tax dinner tab, which is what you’re supposed to base tips on. Or are things different on Planet Darden? [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]
Either Olive Garden is feeling helpful or just really, really wants customers to walk in its doors and sit down and eat. In any case, the casual dining chain is serving up free babysitting for any parents who eat dinner one of its participating locations around the country for free on Feb. 7. [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]
Would 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.
Many restaurants have a policy of automatically adding a 15-20% tip for large groups of diners, but that practice may be going the way of the dinosaur as a new revision to IRS income tax rules will make such auto-gratuities less attractive to servers and management. [More]
We’re all tired of customer service platitudes and the same spiels that every restaurant server gives. When someone finds a way to make the experience fresh and funny, it gets customers’ attention, for better or worse. One Olive Garden waiter writes that he decided to mix things up by pretending to be a favorite TV character: the title character from the BBC’s Doctor Who. [More]
Taking some of the guess-work out of figuring out why your stomach may currently be turned inside out, the Food and Drug Administration has confirmed that salads linked to a cyclospora outbreak that’s sickened at least 400 people have been tied to four restaurants in Iowa and Nebraska, including Olive Garden and Red Lobster. [More]
Earlier today, we told you about a receipt posted by an Olive Garden diner whose meal was comped, and about all the doubters that came out of the woodwork to claim it was a fake. We weren’t sure — we certainly wouldn’t put it past a clever marketing department — so we asked the man who originally published the much-debated pic. [More]
When a restaurant receipt story gets wildly popular online, it’s usually because a horrible customer leaves a rude message or because a restaurant staffer insults a diner, but occasionally it’s a happy story about an eatery doing something nice. Question is, are restaurants beginning to fake these stories for positive PR? [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]
Say the word “gift card” around Consumerist HQ and hackles will raise at an alarming rate. Which is why we’re greeting the news of a new gift card offered by Facebook with what one might call, “extreme wariness and trepidation.” Building on the social network’s recent launch of Facebook Gifts, these cards will be able to hold balances for multiple retailers and are reusable. [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.
Handy Video Explains Exactly How To Opt Out Of Olive Garden's Invasive Unlimited Breadsticks Program
As consumers, we value our personal space and carefully guard the right to make our own choices. So perhaps Olive Garden’s tactic of offering unlimited breadsticks to whoever happens to walk through its doors could be seen as invasive to some diners. In a handy video from The Onion discussing exactly how to opt out of the breadsticks program, we learn how to say no to the Olive Garden and its blatantly pro-bread agenda.