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Tue Jan 3, 2012, 10:39 AM

Sad news for DUers, Olive Garden is in Trouble.

"Sour Olive"
Motley Fool, January 3.

Full-service restaurant operator Darden Restaurants (NYSE: DRI ) came out with second-quarter results that were below analyst expectations. The company has been struggling over the past year with its largest restaurant chain, Olive Garden. Let's take a closer, Foolish look at what's cooking with Darden.

The company dished out a 6.1% increase in second-quarter sales, to $1.83 billion. This included comparable sales growth of 1.8% companywide. Darden served up an unpalatable 28% decline in earnings, mainly due to flagging performance at Olive Garden. ...

Sour olive - For the past year, Darden Restaurants has gone through tumultuous times with Olive Garden. The chain has been witness to falling sales and traffic coupled with promotional failures and heightened competition. The chain's problems include being part of an already overcrowded casual-dining market, coupled with pricing pressures at a time when food prices are going sky high. ...

The chief executive was candid enough to remark that the company was not taking bold enough steps to enhance Olive Garden's popularity. However, he claimed that January would see a change in its promotional approach along with a new menu http://www.fool.com/investing/general/2012/01/03/dardens-olive-garden-needs-some-spicing-up.aspx


Who could have guessed?

28 replies, 3999 views

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Arrow 28 replies Author Time Post
Reply Sad news for DUers, Olive Garden is in Trouble. (Original post)
denem Jan 2012 OP
izquierdista Jan 2012 #1
11 Bravo Jan 2012 #3
NRaleighLiberal Jan 2012 #9
JustAnotherGen Jan 2012 #2
Ichingcarpenter Jan 2012 #4
Cleita Jan 2012 #5
wandy Jan 2012 #11
The Genealogist Jan 2012 #25
FSogol Jan 2012 #6
alcibiades_mystery Jan 2012 #7
Auggie Jan 2012 #8
NRaleighLiberal Jan 2012 #10
closeupready Jan 2012 #12
KansDem Jan 2012 #18
Auggie Jan 2012 #24
wandy Jan 2012 #16
mainer Jan 2012 #22
HopeHoops Jan 2012 #13
tularetom Jan 2012 #14
Broderick Jan 2012 #15
Erose999 Jan 2012 #17
Demonaut Jan 2012 #19
Aleric Jan 2012 #20
Warren Stupidity Jan 2012 #21
Raven Jan 2012 #23
Texasgal Jan 2012 #26
RZM Jan 2012 #27
ellisonz Jan 2012 #28

Response to denem (Original post)

Tue Jan 3, 2012, 10:43 AM

1. Maybe they should add breast milk to the menu?

 

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Response to izquierdista (Reply #1)

Tue Jan 3, 2012, 10:45 AM

3. And perform circumcisions in the kitchen.

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Response to izquierdista (Reply #1)

Tue Jan 3, 2012, 11:11 AM

9. and smoking is mandatory to enter the premises

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Response to denem (Original post)

Tue Jan 3, 2012, 10:45 AM

2. I'd hate to see their employees lose jobs

But my fiance is 'off the plane' from Southern Italy. I can't fathom their existence at all. . . I mean - you aren't (according to the Calabrese) supposed to put cheese with fish (shrimp alfredo) so that in and of itself is a tragedy. *tee hee*

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Response to denem (Original post)

Tue Jan 3, 2012, 10:46 AM

4. The olive garden workers need to wear more 'flair'

its that simple and then sales will pick up.

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Response to denem (Original post)

Tue Jan 3, 2012, 10:50 AM

5. People, who would be patrons of Olive Garden type restaurants, don't have the money

to eat out anymore. Also many of them have lost their jobs and can't find new ones. Trust me the 1% aren't dining out at Olive Garden. So much for the job creators. There isn't enough of them to help out the economy even if they ate at those types of restaurants.

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Response to Cleita (Reply #5)

Tue Jan 3, 2012, 11:15 AM

11. +1 In todays econmeny eating out is not in the budget. Not to mention Olive Garden = BAD Italian.

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Response to Cleita (Reply #5)

Tue Jan 3, 2012, 07:01 PM

25. I am sure this is a huge part of it

There are probably other factors too, like poor management, menu, etc. But many people can't afford Olive Garden anymore, and no doubt many who can are too wary of their jobs to spend lots of money on ho-hum, overpriced Italianish food.

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Response to denem (Original post)

Tue Jan 3, 2012, 10:51 AM

6. Maybe they sent too many "chefs" to Italy?

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Response to denem (Original post)

Tue Jan 3, 2012, 11:03 AM

7. That's because it is terrible, overpriced shit

Just sayin'...

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Response to denem (Original post)

Tue Jan 3, 2012, 11:05 AM

8. Darden Brands:

Red Lobster
Olive Garden
LongHorn Steakhouse
The Capital Grille
Bahama Breeze
Seasons 52

http://www.darden.com/restaurants/

My experience with most chains is the food is pretty disappointing -- much prefer local, family-owned and operated fare.

Support your local diner.

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Response to Auggie (Reply #8)

Tue Jan 3, 2012, 11:13 AM

10. Wow - I am pleased to say I've never eaten at most of them....

just one visit to Bahama Breeze (got a good review in the paper upon opening)....but....bleech! The rest - nada

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Response to Auggie (Reply #8)

Tue Jan 3, 2012, 11:16 AM

12. The reason most chains are disappointing is due to the way MBA's advise them

frequently to cut corners on food quality and ingredients, i.e., people who know as little about cooking as some random person picked out of a hat are advising restaurant chains to use yellow onions instead of leeks, because leeks are more expensive, as an example. Or 'you don't need a sous chef, just have the busboy do it'.

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Response to closeupready (Reply #12)

Tue Jan 3, 2012, 11:32 AM

18. I've grown weary of the restaurants owned by a syndicate somewhere but has an MBA managing it...

...usually wearing corporate polo.

Appleby's
Dos Hombres
Carlos O'Kelly's
Outback
Hoolihan's
Salty Iguana
etc.

Last week my wife and I tried a new restaurant in the shopping center near where we live. It used to be an Appleby's but went out of business after which it became a Mexican restaurant. When that went out, it became another restaurant and lounge with an innocuous name.

Well, the prices seemed about right (we don't eat out very often) and the food was delicious. But what struck me as a little odd was a gentleman in a suit who was serving the diners. I thought, "What’s this all about?"

I asked one of the servers and she said, "Oh, that's the owner."

I thought, "Man! A restaurant where the owner in on the premises? Nice personal touch!" I remember such restaurants when I was growing up and went out to dinner with my parents--owners were on the premises and interacting with the customers to see that everything was all right.

And this guy even came up to our table and introduced himself. He then asked if everything was all right. I think I'll go back to this place again!

(I hope he's presence that evening wasn't a one time event. The restaurant had just opened so I'm wondering if he'll be around when it gets established)

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Response to KansDem (Reply #18)

Tue Jan 3, 2012, 06:24 PM

24. I knew a guy who owned over 240 Burger Kings and about 50 Chevy's Restaurants...

most were in Louisiana but were supervised from an office park in Dublin, California.

He made a ton of money cutting corners wherever he could.

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Response to Auggie (Reply #8)

Tue Jan 3, 2012, 11:21 AM

16. +1 These are places to be avoided. Even if out of town and on expense account.

You can allways find some local places with better food and compairable prices. Fond memories of the Billy Goat in Chagio.

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Response to Auggie (Reply #8)

Tue Jan 3, 2012, 12:42 PM

22. I rather like Longhorn and Capital Grille

when I'm out of town, don't know local restaurants, and hungry for a steak, either will do.

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Response to denem (Original post)

Tue Jan 3, 2012, 11:19 AM

13. They need a new ad campaign - "COME BREAST FEED AT OLIVE GARDEN!!!"

 

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Response to denem (Original post)

Tue Jan 3, 2012, 11:21 AM

14. I've never understood the hostility toward Olive Garden

Sure it's crappy food, but it really isn't any worse than other sort of entry level mid price chain restaurants like Applebee's, Marie Callender, or Red Lobster. It may even be superior to Denny's and IHOP.

I haven't been to OG for years, but with restaurants as with anything else, you get what you pay for.

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Response to denem (Original post)

Tue Jan 3, 2012, 11:21 AM

15. When they removed the picatta from the menu

I stopped going.

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Response to denem (Original post)

Tue Jan 3, 2012, 11:26 AM

17. Its always "promotional failures" that are responsible for the failures of these places...


never the fact that they serve frozen shit trucked in from the other side of the country... and overcharge for it.

I've heard that their whole program of "training in Italy" is little more than sending them to Italy to watch some videos and work in a test kitchen for a day or two.

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Response to Erose999 (Reply #17)

Tue Jan 3, 2012, 11:37 AM

19. +1, even the salads are pre-packaged..seriously, how hard is it to make a ceasar salad from scratch?

bagged salad smells and tastes funny

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Response to denem (Original post)

Tue Jan 3, 2012, 11:41 AM

20. How is this possible?

 

Every time I want to go to one, they are packed to rafters. How can they be losing money?

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Response to denem (Original post)

Tue Jan 3, 2012, 12:23 PM

21. Where will I breast feed my circumcised penis?

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Response to denem (Original post)

Tue Jan 3, 2012, 12:45 PM

23. I've always enjoyed Olive Garden's posts here on DU.

Can we take up a collection for her?

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Response to denem (Original post)

Tue Jan 3, 2012, 07:02 PM

26. Great...

we're doomed!

Whatever will we talk about? DAMN.

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Response to denem (Original post)

Tue Jan 3, 2012, 07:03 PM

27. Last time I went was about 5 years ago

 

I remember noticing that it was in bad shape. The food wasn't good, it was empty, and kind of dirty.

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Response to denem (Original post)

Tue Jan 3, 2012, 07:08 PM

28. They need re-branding to cater to a different demographic.

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