Olive Garden

Olive Garden

Olive Garden, a popular American casual dining restaurant chain, focuses on serving Italian-American cuisine. It operates as a subsidiary of Darden Restaurants, Inc., with its headquarters located in Orange County, Florida.

In the year 2022, Olive Garden contributed $4.5 billion to the overall revenue of its parent company, Darden, which amounted to $9.63 billion.

The Olive Garden, originally a unit of General Mills, opened its first restaurant in Orlando, Florida on December 13, 1982. It quickly became the fastest-growing unit in General Mills’ restaurant division, with 145 locations by 1989.

The popularity of Olive Garden restaurants led to their per-store sales matching those of former sister company Red Lobster.

Eventually, the Olive Garden became the largest chain of Italian-themed full-service restaurants in the United States. In 1995, General Mills spun off its restaurant holdings as Darden Restaurants, which included Olive Garden.

In 1998, Olive Garden underwent a rebranding, removing “The” from its name and introducing the slogan “When you’re here, you’re family.”

Despite facing some challenges in sales, the company continued to expand and announced plans to add over 200 new Olive Garden locations in the coming years.

Additionally, the company planned to expand into international markets and explore franchising partnerships, marking a new direction for the chain.

Darden made an announcement in 2011 that it would start co-locating Olive Garden and Red Lobster locations in smaller markets. The new restaurants had separate entrances and dining areas, but shared kitchen and support areas.

However, in 2014, Darden decided to sell Red Lobster, close two co-located restaurants in Georgia and South Carolina, and convert the remaining four into standalone Olive Garden restaurants.

Olive Garden’s sales decreased in 2012, prompting the company to introduce a three-course meal for $12.95 to try to stop the decline. In 2011, Olive Garden implemented a mandatory tip-out program and in 2012, it tested converting most of its staff to part-time to limit the cost of paying for health care benefits for full-time employees.

In 2014, Olive Garden launched a new logo and restaurant design, which included online ordering and smaller lunch portions. In 2019, Darden denied false claims that Olive Garden was financing Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *