March 1, 2013 10:15 AM by Smash
Yahoo – Fret not, Olive Garden lovers: The “endless” breadsticks aren’t going away.
But new management has big changes in store for the casual dining chain, which touts family-style Italian food and has struggled with declining sales.
The chain’s president, Dave George, told investors on Tuesday the changes include creating a new logo and toning down its the “Old World Style,” the Tuscan-style stonework and wooden archways that have been a signature part of Olive Garden restaurants since 2000.
“You’re not going to see stainless steel showing up tomorrow in a Tuscan Farmhouse,” George said, according to the Orlando Sentinel.
George, who became Olive Garden’s president in January, said the look would be “more relevant.” Olive Garden is part of the Orlando, Fla.-based Darden Restaurants (DRI) chain that includes Red Lobster and LongHorn Steakhouse.
Obviously the biggest shocker here is that people still go to Olive Garden. Unless you’re going only for unlimited soup, salads, and breadsticks, you’re doing it wrong. I’m guessing these just have to be people in the Midwest that still go and think the Olive Garden is a legit Italian restaurant. Saying Olive Garden is authentic Italian food is the same way someone would call Taco Bell legit Mexican food. At the core, yeah technically it is…but go into a real Italian/Mexican place and it’s just not the same.
I’m all in favor of Olive Garden switching to Olive Garden Express or something. Make small, fast food type places like Panera or Noodles & Company and just serve soup, salad, breadsticks and the top 5 dishes. Done and done. I’d eat the shit out that place. And then they can’t try to say they’re “a taste of Italy” anymore. Win-win.