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(BusinessWeek)   Olive Garden restaurants decide that their authentic upscale Italian cuisine needs authentic upscale Italian servers uniforms   (businessweek.com) divider line 64
    More: Interesting, Olive Garden, Italian cuisine, Italians, button-down shirt, dress codes  
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5141 clicks; posted to Business » on 12 Feb 2013 at 8:52 AM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-02-12 07:47:16 AM
Olive Garden thread? Time to get one of these started:

i.imgur.com
 
2013-02-12 07:58:43 AM
I had dinner at an Olive Garden once and it was a huge mistake. The dinner was fine but I was with my client's receptionist and we went back to my hotel and OH GOD NOOOOOOOOOOOOO.

/stupid Olive Garden
 
2013-02-12 08:07:36 AM
Thank Bob there's pics.
 
2013-02-12 08:20:48 AM
Meh, it's no Red Lobster.
 
2013-02-12 08:23:34 AM
I think it needs a breadstick bandolier.
 
2013-02-12 08:25:14 AM
The last time I went to an OG was because I was craving bread sticks.  So I got a thing of bread sticks and a chicken caesar salad to go, and yeah...they somehow managed to make it not that delish.  That was easily 5 years ago.

I feel like a snob, I suspect it is because I have spent so much time in fine dining both on the floor and in the kitchen, and the fact that I can afford to eat at places other than chain restaurants.  I mean, I know how to cook, and I know how to cook well.  I just...I just cannot do chain restaurants.  Plus I like supporting local business as much as I can.

Every once and a while, like maybe once a quarter, the wife and I will go to a chain place out, usually it is because one of my wife's students parents will give her a $50 gift card to a chain place.  Every time we are either bothered by the service (look, I am forgiving, formally being in the biz, but lazy waiters drive me nuts) or the quality of the food.  I think I can honestly say, my issue with most American chain restaurants is the portion size.  I feel so wasteful when I only eat a quarter of the dish, and I feel so cheep when my wife and I split, but I just do not like wasting food.

I have no idea where I am going with my ramblings...I guess I will leave with this:  The (attractive) waitresses could be topless and giving away handys and blowjays with every "never ending pasta dish" order and I still would have no compelling reason to walk into an OG.
 
2013-02-12 08:27:24 AM

Endive Wombat: The last time I went to an OG was because I was craving bread sticks.  So I got a thing of bread sticks and a chicken caesar salad to go, and yeah...they somehow managed to make it not that delish.  That was easily 5 years ago.

I feel like a snob, I suspect it is because I have spent so much time in fine dining both on the floor and in the kitchen, and the fact that I can afford to eat at places other than chain restaurants.  I mean, I know how to cook, and I know how to cook well.  I just...I just cannot do chain restaurants.  Plus I like supporting local business as much as I can.

Every once and a while, like maybe once a quarter, the wife and I will go to a chain place out, usually it is because one of my wife's students parents will give her a $50 gift card to a chain place.  Every time we are either bothered by the service (look, I am forgiving, formally being in the biz, but lazy waiters drive me nuts) or the quality of the food.  I think I can honestly say, my issue with most American chain restaurants is the portion size.  I feel so wasteful when I only eat a quarter of the dish, and I feel so cheep when my wife and I split, but I just do not like wasting food.

I have no idea where I am going with my ramblings...I guess I will leave with this:  The (attractive) waitresses could be topless and giving away handys and blowjays with every "never ending pasta dish" order and I still would have no compelling reason to walk into an OG.


Okay, I was with you until you went nuts there...
 
2013-02-12 08:38:28 AM

jchic: Okay, I was with you until you went nuts there...


You know what I mean...

A uniform change is not enough for me to go in there.  I mean, look at some of the strange news stories that have popped up about OG over the years and how their marketing department functions.  They purposely "over-Americanize" many dishes to appease as many people as possible by making them salty, creamy and somewhat bland.  I have no idea if they serve this, but I cannot imagine them serving a proper puttanesca sauce as it would be too pungent for too many of their customer base.  I fully recognize that my wife and I are not their target customer, so they do not give a shiat about my opinion.
 
2013-02-12 08:41:59 AM

Endive Wombat: I feel like a snob, I suspect it is because I have spent so much time in fine dining both on the floor and in the kitchen, and the fact that I can afford to eat at places other than chain restaurants. I mean, I know how to cook, and I know how to cook well. I just...I just cannot do chain restaurants. Plus I like supporting local business as much as I can.


There is nothing snobbish about that. Chain restaurants have a place in the dining landscape, they are when you take a date when you are 17 or possibly in college. The food is 'safe' in that people with narrow tastes can usually find something they will eat on the menu, and know what to expect.  What starts to become a problem is when adults still think of them as 'nice'. When I moved to this area I was complaining about the lack of good restaurants. One of my new employees informed me to try a nearby town because they have 'a Jungle Jims, a Swiss Chalet, a Boston Pizza, and oh yeah and there is this 100% local food restaurant in the middle of a blueberry field that is only open during the summer but it's not that great.'

Guess which one is actually good. Hint:not one of the ones that you put an 'a' in front of.

/We've also since discovered 5 or 6 more local restaurants ranging from not bad to outstanding.
//also Swiss Chalet isn't all that bad either, sometimes you just want rotisserie chicken
 
2013-02-12 08:47:08 AM
www.klassiskgitar.net

Festive!
 
2013-02-12 08:49:06 AM
Today Olive Garden is ditching its traditional white liveries and embracing "Sprockets,"

I'm not sure all that monkey touching would pass the health department inspection
 
2013-02-12 09:05:58 AM

Endive Wombat: jchic: Okay, I was with you until you went nuts there...

You know what I mean...

A uniform change is not enough for me to go in there.  I mean, look at some of the strange news stories that have popped up about OG over the years and how their marketing department functions.  They purposely "over-Americanize" many dishes to appease as many people as possible by making them salty, creamy and somewhat bland.  I have no idea if they serve this, but I cannot imagine them serving a proper puttanesca sauce as it would be too pungent for too many of their customer base.  I fully recognize that my wife and I are not their target customer, so they do not give a shiat about my opinion.


I just made some puttanesca on Sunday, and I agree, they would never serve that in an Olive Garden, it is far too good and unique for an American chain restaurant.  But their business plan isn't to serve good food, their plan is to serve food that is bland and average while passing it off as good Italian food...
 
2013-02-12 09:11:36 AM
Thank god someone figured out that making your servers wear a long-sleeved white shirt while schlepping around plates coated in marinara sauce isn't a grand idea. Especially after they send the bus boys home for the night and you're clearing filthy plates on your own.

I used to end a dinner shift at that place looking like I'd murdered a hobo.
 
2013-02-12 09:12:56 AM
A tip for OG employees:  My company's work shirts are black; that is they were black until my city switched to chloramine in our water supply. Now they are a nice shade of charcoal gray even though I use detergent for dark clothes. I am now adding  Sodium Metabisulfite (used in aquariums) to the wash & rinse cycles to keep them from bleaching out completely.

/Who am I kidding? Farkers don't set foot in OG, much less work there.
 
2013-02-12 09:15:20 AM
They're dressed in all black.
"Would you like our all you can eat soup and salad?"
content7.flixster.com
 
2013-02-12 09:17:17 AM
only eaten there twice and both times the food was about as good as the better frozen supermarket italian dinners. waiters sucked. i don't want to have a conversion with them or have them call my gray haired mother mammie. just serve the food and don't look snotty when we say we only want water to drink and sit at the next table while taking our order or squat and rest your pad on our table.. it shouldn't take 30 minutes to get a pasta dish.
 
2013-02-12 09:17:30 AM
authentic upscale Italian servers uniforms

Yeah, that's what it needs....
 
2013-02-12 09:24:04 AM
If they also had the technology to make you forget eating there, you might come back more often:

www.bottomlinebusinessinsights.com
 
2013-02-12 09:33:41 AM
Italian food is incredibly easy to make at home. If I got out for Italian food, it better be something I can't make at home if I tried my hardest. Olive Garden is food I can make at home while drunk, high, sleep deprived, with a 103 degree fever. And since I start out with better ingredients, it would still be better.
 
2013-02-12 09:34:16 AM
got=go
 
2013-02-12 09:43:04 AM

PC LOAD LETTER: Italian food is incredibly easy to make at home. If I got out for Italian food, it better be something I can't make at home if I tried my hardest.


THIS 1000%.  A good marinara sauce can be whipped up very fast.  I blame the Food Network, movies (Eat Pray Love), the Travel Channel, and stupid marketing departments for making Italian food look mysterious and complicated.  They've over-romanticized Italian food to the highest degree.  A sauce is not going to taste better because some geriatric from the old country stood in front of the stove for 7 hours stirring the damn thing.

I will say, as relatively easy is lasagna is to make, Costco makes a damn good, frozen lasagna.
 
2013-02-12 09:45:20 AM

Endive Wombat: A sauce is not going to taste better because some geriatric from the old country stood in front of the stove for 7 hours stirring the damn thing.


Tuberculosis is the secret ingredient.
 
2013-02-12 09:48:06 AM

PC LOAD LETTER: Italian food is incredibly easy to make at home. If I got out for Italian food, it better be something I can't make at home if I tried my hardest. Olive Garden is food I can make at home while drunk, high, sleep deprived, with a 103 degree fever. And since I start out with better ingredients, it would still be better.


A block of good parmagiano cheese, olives, a baguette, some cured meat, and a glass of red wine and I am fine.  If I want to go gourmet, maybe some unsalted spanish almonds and some dark chocalate.

Of course I hate cooking and this requires none. So it's a mainstay part of my workday evenings after a long  ass workday.
 
2013-02-12 09:57:30 AM

Tarl3k: Endive Wombat: jchic: Okay, I was with you until you went nuts there...

You know what I mean...

A uniform change is not enough for me to go in there.  I mean, look at some of the strange news stories that have popped up about OG over the years and how their marketing department functions.  They purposely "over-Americanize" many dishes to appease as many people as possible by making them salty, creamy and somewhat bland.  I have no idea if they serve this, but I cannot imagine them serving a proper puttanesca sauce as it would be too pungent for too many of their customer base.  I fully recognize that my wife and I are not their target customer, so they do not give a shiat about my opinion.

I just made some puttanesca on Sunday, and I agree, they would never serve that in an Olive Garden, it is far too good and unique for an American chain restaurant.  But their business plan isn't to serve good food, their plan is to serve food that is bland and average while passing it off as good Italian food...


I have eaten at olive gardens with better Italian food then food I had at resturaunts when I was actually IN Italy.
 
2013-02-12 10:13:20 AM

Endive Wombat: PC LOAD LETTER: Italian food is incredibly easy to make at home. If I got out for Italian food, it better be something I can't make at home if I tried my hardest.

THIS 1000%.  A good marinara sauce can be whipped up very fast.  I blame the Food Network, movies (Eat Pray Love), the Travel Channel, and stupid marketing departments for making Italian food look mysterious and complicated.  They've over-romanticized Italian food to the highest degree.  A sauce is not going to taste better because some geriatric from the old country stood in front of the stove for 7 hours stirring the damn thing.

I will say, as relatively easy is lasagna is to make, Costco makes a damn good, frozen lasagna.


You're goddamned right it is. Open jar of Prego, pour.

/Okay I kid. I can make my own marinara. Takes 10 minutes.
 
2013-02-12 10:17:55 AM
What authentic Italian uniforms might look like:

littlegreentracs.typepad.com
 
2013-02-12 10:22:29 AM
i.imgur.com
i.imgur.com
What the new authentic uniforms might look like.
 
2013-02-12 10:23:57 AM

Foundling: What authentic Italian uniforms might look like:

[littlegreentracs.typepad.com image 800x403]


Would those be Italian or Swiss?
 
2013-02-12 10:30:49 AM
Is this why the Pope quit?
 
2013-02-12 10:37:38 AM

starlost: only eaten there twice and both times the food was about as good as the better frozen supermarket italian dinners. waiters sucked. i don't want to have a conversion with them or have them call my gray haired mother mammie. just serve the food and don't look snotty when we say we only want water to drink and sit at the next table while taking our order or squat and rest your pad on our table.. it shouldn't take 30 minutes to get a pasta dish.


Those things should happen at Olive Garden.  Because it is Olive Garden.

It's important to manage expectations.

Want better food and/or service?  Pay for it.
 
2013-02-12 10:38:20 AM

Endive Wombat: one of my wife's students parents will give her a $50 gift card


How is that even remotely ethical?
 
2013-02-12 10:41:31 AM

Egoy3k: There is nothing snobbish about that. Chain restaurants have a place in the dining landscape, they are when you take a date when you are 17 or possibly in college. The food is 'safe' in that people with narrow tastes can usually find something they will eat on the menu, and know what to expect.  What starts to become a problem is when adults still think of them as 'nice'. When I moved to this area I was complaining about the lack of good restaurants. One of my new employees informed me to try a nearby town because they have 'a Jungle Jims, a Swiss Chalet, a Boston Pizza, and oh yeah and there is this 100% local food restaurant in the middle of a blueberry field that is only open during the summer but it's not that great.'

Guess which one is actually good. Hint:not one of the ones that you put an 'a' in front of.

/We've also since discovered 5 or 6 more local restaurants ranging from not bad to outstanding.
//also Swiss Chalet isn't all that bad either, sometimes you just want rotisserie chicken


Local restaurants are overrated in most cases.  There is a reason most of them go out of business.  Its because they are horrible.  I live in a new area and we've been burning through every local non-chain restaurant over the last few months.   About half are pure shiat.  Another quarter are worth going back and better than our average chain restaurant any day of the week.  And another quarter are outstanding and we've become regulars.  That requires money and effort to do that.  But the payoff is there.

/meanwhile my parents are coming to visit and they've insisted on Red Lobster
//the rotisserie chicken from the local super market is fark'n awesome
 
2013-02-12 10:43:19 AM

theinsultabot9000: I have eaten at olive gardens with better Italian food then food I had at resturaunts when I was actually IN Italy.


The best and worse Italian food I've ever had was in London.

/but then again Italian food is highly diverse and means different things to different people
 
2013-02-12 10:50:27 AM
They're going for the real European look.

3.bp.blogspot.com
 
2013-02-12 11:06:39 AM

gingerjet: Local restaurants are overrated in most cases.


Notice I never claimed that all the local places were good only 5 or 6 of them.
 
2013-02-12 11:23:17 AM

Diogenes: Foundling: What authentic Italian uniforms might look like:

[littlegreentracs.typepad.com image 800x403]

Would those be Italian or Swiss?


Swiss obviously.
 
2013-02-12 11:32:12 AM

Pants_Optional: Diogenes: Foundling: What authentic Italian uniforms might look like:

[littlegreentracs.typepad.com image 800x403]

Would those be Italian or Swiss?

Swiss obviously.


I say since it's a cuisine thread, we can call it "fusion."
 
2013-02-12 11:36:54 AM

H31N0US: Endive Wombat: one of my wife's students parents will give her a $50 gift card

How is that even remotely ethical?


Private music studio - Occasional extra "Thank yous".  Typically Christmas, her birthday, Valentines Day, Easter, and end of the school year.
 
2013-02-12 11:43:01 AM
Fortunately, the one time we visited an Olive Garden, we left after waiting 15 minutes for menus/water/anything. Lots of "servers" wandering around doing nothing, the place wasn't busy.
 
2013-02-12 12:18:57 PM
So they're copying California Pizza Kitchen...Got it.
 
2013-02-12 12:31:45 PM

TeddyRooseveltsMustache: So they're copying California Pizza Kitchen...Got it.


At least CPK doesn't pretend to be "authentic".
 
2013-02-12 12:49:00 PM

gingerjet: Local restaurants are overrated in most cases. There is a reason most of them go out of business. Its because they are horrible. I live in a new area and we've been burning through every local non-chain restaurant over the last few months. About half are pure shiat. Another quarter are worth going back and better than our average chain restaurant any day of the week. And another quarter are outstanding and we've become regulars. That requires money and effort to do that. But the payoff is there.


I would go so far as to say that almost any local Asian cuisine restaurant, especially Chinese, that resides in a city that doesn't have a large Asian immigrant community will almost inevitably be horrible.   Especially when the menu involves a conglomerate of Asian cuisines consisting of the "Greatest Hits" of Americanized stad-bys.   I always cringe when I visit friends and family in other cities who take me to their local Chinese place that I "simply just try", and as soon as I open the menu I see General Tso's next to the Pad Thai next to the Beef&Broc.
 
2013-02-12 12:51:11 PM

sendtodave: starlost: only eaten there twice and both times the food was about as good as the better frozen supermarket italian dinners. waiters sucked. i don't want to have a conversion with them or have them call my gray haired mother mammie. just serve the food and don't look snotty when we say we only want water to drink and sit at the next table while taking our order or squat and rest your pad on our table.. it shouldn't take 30 minutes to get a pasta dish.

Those things should happen at Olive Garden.  Because it is Olive Garden.

It's important to manage expectations.

Want better food and/or service?  Pay for it.


I would suspect that a large portion of patrons of Olive Garden go specifically because it's like the frozen lasagne that mom makes, but it's just that Mom is too tired to cook that night.
 
2013-02-12 12:54:52 PM

InmanRoshi: gingerjet: Local restaurants are overrated in most cases. There is a reason most of them go out of business. Its because they are horrible. I live in a new area and we've been burning through every local non-chain restaurant over the last few months. About half are pure shiat. Another quarter are worth going back and better than our average chain restaurant any day of the week. And another quarter are outstanding and we've become regulars. That requires money and effort to do that. But the payoff is there.

I would go so far as to say that almost any local Asian cuisine restaurant, especially Chinese, that resides in a city that doesn't have a large Asian immigrant community will almost inevitably be horrible.   Especially when the menu involves a conglomerate of Asian cuisines consisting of the "Greatest Hits" of Americanized stad-bys.   I always cringe when I visit friends and family in other cities who take me to their local Chinese place that I "simply just try", and as soon as I open the menu I see General Tso's next to the Pad Thai next to the Beef&Broc.


"Chinese food" as interpreted by Mexican cooks and served in American size portions
"Italian food" as interpreted by Mexican cooks and served in American size portions
...etc
 
2013-02-12 01:00:53 PM

ThatGuyFromTheInternet: TeddyRooseveltsMustache: So they're copying California Pizza Kitchen...Got it.

At least CPK doesn't pretend to be "authentic".


Some of the stuff they make isn't even pizza.
 
2013-02-12 01:06:56 PM
One day I was waiting for a bus when I noticed some random guy walk by wearing a distinctive purple dress shirt. Then another guy walked by wearing a similar shirt. Then another and another.

I was freaking out. All I could think about was those people in that cult who killed themselves because they believed they were going to hitch a ride on a comet.

Then I realized they were all waiters coming in for work in the restaurant behind me.

/csb
 
2013-02-12 01:32:01 PM

Barfmaker: I had dinner at an Olive Garden once and it was a huge mistake. The dinner was fine but I was with my client's receptionist and we went back to my hotel and OH GOD NOOOOOOOOOOOOO.

/stupid Olive Garden


Was she hot?
 
2013-02-12 01:44:01 PM

airsupport: Barfmaker: I had dinner at an Olive Garden once and it was a huge mistake. The dinner was fine but I was with my client's receptionist and we went back to my hotel and OH GOD NOOOOOOOOOOOOO.

/stupid Olive Garden

Was she hot?

4chandata.org

The problem was the award winning level of awkwardness the next day when I returned to the client's office.
 
2013-02-12 01:51:48 PM

theurge14: InmanRoshi: gingerjet: Local restaurants are overrated in most cases. There is a reason most of them go out of business. Its because they are horrible. I live in a new area and we've been burning through every local non-chain restaurant over the last few months. About half are pure shiat. Another quarter are worth going back and better than our average chain restaurant any day of the week. And another quarter are outstanding and we've become regulars. That requires money and effort to do that. But the payoff is there.

I would go so far as to say that almost any local Asian cuisine restaurant, especially Chinese, that resides in a city that doesn't have a large Asian immigrant community will almost inevitably be horrible.   Especially when the menu involves a conglomerate of Asian cuisines consisting of the "Greatest Hits" of Americanized stad-bys.   I always cringe when I visit friends and family in other cities who take me to their local Chinese place that I "simply just try", and as soon as I open the menu I see General Tso's next to the Pad Thai next to the Beef&Broc.

"Chinese food" as interpreted by Mexican cooks and served in American size portions
"Italian food" as interpreted by Mexican cooks and served in American size portions
...etc


The thing is, there are a lot of horrible local mom and pop Chinese family run restaurants.   I'm sure a lot of it has to do with having to bastardize your native cuisine to meet the palate demands of mainstream America, but I also wonder how many of them actually have a natural inclination towards cooking food well or whether they just got into the restaurant business because it was a familiar and established entrepreneurial path for 1st or 2nd generation immigrants.
 
2013-02-12 01:56:39 PM
Tell me, Italians, how much more ersatz "Italiano!" shiat does Olive Garden have to make up before it's considered a hate crime?

It's like they think they're the Disneyland of Italian culture. Everything is a caricature of what an old white guy thinks of Italian culture, exploited specifically to sell mediocre food in a "family environment."
 
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