An Ode to Olive Garden


Before I delve into my defense of Olive Garden, some of you may be wondering why I’m defending it at all. Well, investor Starboard Value of Olive Garden recently made suggestions on how they could change the restaurant. Yes, change is good, but the changes they suggested were just downright ridiculous. The hedge fund’s suggestion of changes ran close to 300 pages long, which was also downright ridiculous. I’m not sure anything needs to be 300 pages long unless it’s a Harry Potter or Game of Thrones book. But I digress. Below are just some of the outrageous points the document made. Too many breadsticks


I know, just typing it out made me sad. Too many breadsticks? Is that the same thing as too many babies? Too many unicorns? Too many smiles? The investor claimed that Olive Garden’s Unlimited Breadstick rule was problematic and they were bringing out too many breadsticks at a time. Starboard said something about the breadsticks getting cold and deteriorating in quality after sitting out for too long. Whenever I go to Olive Garden, I can’t get enough breadsticks. I have to hold myself back so I don’t implode. The breadsticks are always buttery and perfect. So, too many breadsticks? Never.

The Logo


The Olive Garden logo is classic. This investor quoted a tweet from restaurant analyst Howard Penny, where he said the new logo looked like a “second-grader’s cursive handwriting." Although the new logo is different from the classic one we all grew up with, the cursive handwriting is still similar. I’m not sure what kind of cursive the people at Starboard Value were practicing in 2nd grade, but if it looked good enough to put on a national logo, then props to you.

TV Ads

Starboard Value said Olive Garden’s advertising was outdated because they use too many TV commericals. If outdated means every time I see the ad on TV, my stomach growls then what’s the problem? The ads center on family and eating. They usually remind me the 3-course dinner special is back and I need to hop in my car right now. Outdated? More like genius.

Don’t talk about the pasta


The hedge fund also criticized the restaurant for not using salt in the water to boil its pasta. So, Olive Garden’s pasta still tastes like heaven/Christmas Day/birthday all rolled into one without salty water? Then what’s the point? Brb, going to get some Fettuccine Alfredo.

Real TalkBrooke LewisComment