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(Orlando Sentinel)   In order to survive, the Darden Group must "make sweeping changes" to its restaurants. Though it's hard to improve on Olive Garden   (orlandosentinel.com) divider line 63
    More: Florida, Olive Garden, Investment Technology Group, Capital Group, Dillard's, restaurants, management consults  
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2717 clicks; posted to Business » on 19 Oct 2013 at 3:10 PM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



63 Comments   (+0 »)
   
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2013-10-19 02:35:11 PM  
Dardens should just stick to Olive Garden. Landry has them beaten in the seafood and steakhouse restaurant markets.
 
2013-10-19 02:38:42 PM  
Tell Sysco to cut back on the salt.
 
2013-10-19 03:12:28 PM  
Let me guess?
Cut employee wages by half?
 
2013-10-19 03:15:16 PM  
I know someone that found a worm wriggling in their salad at Olive Garden.

(I heard it from a friend who: heard it from a friend who: had a worm wriggling in the their salad at Olive Garden.
 
2013-10-19 03:16:30 PM  

IronTom: I know someone that found a worm wriggling in their salad at Olive Garden.

(I heard it from a friend who: heard it from a friend who: had a worm wriggling in the their salad at Olive Garden.


So, the salad was fresh, then?
 
2013-10-19 03:21:36 PM  
could not care less about Red Lobster, Olive Garden

but would miss
Longhorn, Season 52s, an Capital Grille

hopefully they sell those to someone else so I can feel less guilty about eating there....
 
2013-10-19 03:24:56 PM  
I'm unrepentant in liking Bahama Breeze.
 
2013-10-19 03:27:23 PM  
What kind of dumbass suggestion is selling land you already own and renting it back? Like TFA says, now you owe rent every month, which will increase with every new lease term until you get kicked out of your profitable location because somebody made a better offer.

Not to mention that if you do want to sell the land when the building is worn out, you miss out on any increase in property values there may have been while you were renting what you used to own.
 
2013-10-19 03:30:07 PM  

Leader O'Cola: could not care less about Red Lobster, Olive Garden

but would miss
Longhorn, Season 52s, an Capital Grille

hopefully they sell those to someone else so I can feel less guilty about eating there....


Saltgrass is better than Longhorn, as is Morton's, Simms,Vic and Anthony's, all Landry's.
 
2013-10-19 03:33:59 PM  

buzzcut73: What kind of dumbass suggestion is selling land you already own and renting it back? Like TFA says, now you owe rent every month, which will increase with every new lease term until you get kicked out of your profitable location because somebody made a better offer.

Not to mention that if you do want to sell the land when the building is worn out, you miss out on any increase in property values there may have been while you were renting what you used to own.


Don't hang around MBA's a lot, do you? The point is to take a capital gain for the land and shift to O&M.Also, most of the chain restaurants depend on other local businesses, so if the area goes to hell, you can move.
 
2013-10-19 03:37:01 PM  

simplicimus: Saltgrass is better than Longhorn, as is Morton's, Simms,Vic and Anthony's, all Landry's.


disagree on the 1st part,

but my bigger comment is that not all exist in all markets
I find the really small markets seem more Darden-loaded.
 
2013-10-19 03:40:02 PM  
The sooner these crappy fern restaurants close the better
 
2013-10-19 03:43:46 PM  
Pretty obvious what is going on here. This company is showing the world why Obamacare is bad, so some leftist investors bought in to the stock and are trying to tank the company.
 
2013-10-19 03:45:32 PM  

Leader O'Cola: simplicimus: Saltgrass is better than Longhorn, as is Morton's, Simms,Vic and Anthony's, all Landry's.

disagree on the 1st part,

but my bigger comment is that not all exist in all markets
I find the really small markets seem more Darden-loaded.


Yes, you can find at least an Olive Garden and a Red Lobster in smaller markets, but outside of the biscuits, what's really outstanding at Red Lobster? I think Dardens was thinking of opening combo restaurants, one building, OG on one side, RL on the other.
 
2013-10-19 03:47:00 PM  

Leader O'Cola: simplicimus: Saltgrass is better than Longhorn, as is Morton's, Simms,Vic and Anthony's, all Landry's.

disagree on the 1st part,

but my bigger comment is that not all exist in all markets
I find the really small markets seem more Darden-loaded.


I think Lawrence has only one Darden restaurant in the entire town of about 90,000. I don't mind it. Our local places tend to beat the crap out of the chains anyway.
 
2013-10-19 03:50:20 PM  

Bullseyed: Pretty obvious what is going on here. This company is showing the world why Obamacare is bad, so some leftist investors bought in to the stock and are trying to tank the company.


1/10
 
2013-10-19 03:54:26 PM  

Serious Black: Leader O'Cola: simplicimus: Saltgrass is better than Longhorn, as is Morton's, Simms,Vic and Anthony's, all Landry's.

disagree on the 1st part,

but my bigger comment is that not all exist in all markets
I find the really small markets seem more Darden-loaded.

I think Lawrence has only one Darden restaurant in the entire town of about 90,000. I don't mind it. Our local places tend to beat the crap out of the chains anyway.


Here in the Houston area, there's not much Darden presence. Much more Landry's, and the local steakhouses, and the Pappa's family of restaurants.
 
2013-10-19 03:55:31 PM  
Maybe not charging 16 dollars for stuffed chicken breast would help out a bit? We were out, I paid it because I was hungry, but it still makes me feel like an asshole paying 16 dollars for Stuffed Chicken Marsala and a side of Mashed Potatoes
 
2013-10-19 03:56:25 PM  

simplicimus: Yes, you can find at least an Olive Garden and a Red Lobster in smaller markets, but outside of the biscuits, what's really outstanding at Red Lobster? I think Dardens was thinking of opening combo restaurants, one building, OG on one side, RL on the other.


Im not saying OG or RL is worth eating at, I was saying I like Longhorn more than Saltgrass, and at least where I live/travel,  I see a lot more of them (Longhorn) than the Landry steak umbrella combined.  While I like supporting mom and pops, if I'm driving , hungry, and see a Longhorn I expect it to be at least 'ok'.
No idea about places I haven't eaten at yet.
 
2013-10-19 04:00:31 PM  

ThatDarkFellow: Maybe not charging 16 dollars for stuffed chicken breast would help out a bit? We were out, I paid it because I was hungry, but it still makes me feel like an asshole paying 16 dollars for Stuffed Chicken Marsala and a side of Mashed Potatoes


What godforsaken restaurant would come up with Stuffed Chicken Marsala in the first place, then pair it with potatoes?
 
2013-10-19 04:00:48 PM  

Peter von Nostrand: The sooner these crappy fern restaurants close the better


What a fern restaurant might look like:

www.thefiddleheadrestaurant.com

/Decidedly NOT crappy
//The crappy ones can close, though, I'm okay with that.
 
2013-10-19 04:02:03 PM  

ThatDarkFellow: Maybe not charging 16 dollars for stuffed chicken breast would help out a bit? We were out, I paid it because I was hungry, but it still makes me feel like an asshole paying 16 dollars for Stuffed Chicken Marsala and a side of Mashed Potatoes


You aren't paying for the food.  You're paying for the staff who has to boil the bag your food came in.
 
2013-10-19 04:22:38 PM  

HotIgneous Intruder: Let me guess?
Cut employees wages by half?


FTFY.
 
2013-10-19 04:24:49 PM  
Couldn't get a decent meal for two on a $50 gift card two months ago. We won't be going back. I noticed this with Red Lobster too; way overpriced for the quality. Kill the gimmicks, get back to the food, and lose the lousy waitstaff (seriously, 15 minutes before drinks, and he didn't even take our order then??).

/I really had a thing for their build-your-own pizzas, so much so that I would fight off family for the leftovers. Then they got rid of the artichoke hearts. Then they started charging you for the alfredo on the side. Sorry. This consumer only takes so much before she takes her business elsewhere.
 
2013-10-19 04:26:57 PM  
Olive Garden has serious competition these days from similar "Italian" chains:

img689.imageshack.us
 
2013-10-19 05:12:57 PM  

MrEricSir: Olive Garden has serious competition these days from similar "Italian" chains:

[img689.imageshack.us image 598x320]


There is a difference between getting some canned tomatoes, dried herbs, and choice cuts of beef to grind up to make a bolognese from the sysco as opposed to getting sauce thats boiled in a bag that is loaded with salt, corn syrup and mystery meat from the sysco truck.
 
2013-10-19 05:16:47 PM  
What burns me is that it is a group of stock owners that prompting reviews of change. Not the company itself apparently.

I want to rant about how destructive the stock market has become to American companies. About how publicly traded companies are willing to screw over employees, customers and even the environment in order to improve the 'bottom line'. And how the market lives and breathes for that next record profit quarter as its only measurement if the company is successful.

But if the company is in the process of driving itself out of business on its own, then I loose my reason to complain.

Could care less about Olive Garden and Red Lobster but I like the food at Longhorn
 
2013-10-19 05:18:38 PM  

simplicimus: Serious Black: Leader O'Cola: simplicimus: Saltgrass is better than Longhorn, as is Morton's, Simms,Vic and Anthony's, all Landry's.

disagree on the 1st part,

but my bigger comment is that not all exist in all markets
I find the really small markets seem more Darden-loaded.

I think Lawrence has only one Darden restaurant in the entire town of about 90,000. I don't mind it. Our local places tend to beat the crap out of the chains anyway.

Here in the Houston area, there's not much Darden presence. Much more Landry's, and the local steakhouses, and the Pappa's family of restaurants.


Ooooh, Pappas, how I miss that family's magic with foodstuffs.  Seriously - in the Houston metro, if the name of the restaurant starts off 'Pappa,' you won't go wrong.  Unless you're a vegetarian or vegan.
 
2013-10-19 05:41:23 PM  
So a ~2% ownership stake allows you to dictate terms?  Of course those terms are "screw your employees just a little bit more" and while you're at it see if you can fleece your franchisees a bit too so we can bump this quarters numbers a few %, dump this stock and move on to our next target,

Starting to think I could totally get behind an exchange where the bare minimum amount of time you can own the stock is 2 years.
 
2013-10-19 05:41:31 PM  
You know when third-world-farkers claim they could never live in NYC, these threads like these explain why NYC Farkers can never live in the third world.
 
2013-10-19 06:23:08 PM  

dionysusaur: simplicimus: Serious Black: Leader O'Cola: simplicimus: Saltgrass is better than Longhorn, as is Morton's, Simms,Vic and Anthony's, all Landry's.

disagree on the 1st part,

but my bigger comment is that not all exist in all markets
I find the really small markets seem more Darden-loaded.

I think Lawrence has only one Darden restaurant in the entire town of about 90,000. I don't mind it. Our local places tend to beat the crap out of the chains anyway.

Here in the Houston area, there's not much Darden presence. Much more Landry's, and the local steakhouses, and the Pappa's family of restaurants.

Ooooh, Pappas, how I miss that family's magic with foodstuffs.  Seriously - in the Houston metro, if the name of the restaurant starts off 'Pappa,' you won't go wrong.  Unless you're a vegetarian or vegan.




Pappas got nailed with the biggest fine ever from DHS for all the undocumented workers they employed. It was noted in the trial that they built in places for workers to hide when immigration showed up.

Darden could learn a lot from the Pappas brothers.
 
2013-10-19 06:32:55 PM  

Komplex: You know when third-world-farkers claim they could never live in NYC, these threads like these explain why NYC Farkers can never live in the third world.


Eh, here near Houston, I can still get Boarshead pastrami and corned beef, Hebrew National Hot dogs, fresh bagels, packaged lox (nova scotia only, no alaskan) and fresh kaiser rolls, so I can survive.
 
2013-10-19 06:40:35 PM  

Fizpez: So a ~2% ownership stake allows you to dictate terms?  Of course those terms are "screw your employees just a little bit more" and while you're at it see if you can fleece your franchisees a bit too so we can bump this quarters numbers a few %, dump this stock and move on to our next target,

Starting to think I could totally get behind an exchange where the bare minimum amount of time you can own the stock is 2 years.


Was about to mention that, using this sentence from the article: Barington has a history of buying stock in companies such as Dillard's and Pep Boys and pushing for changes.

Makes me irate to know that companies in companies short term have a long term influence in the way businesses are run and turn around and wonder why those same businesses fail; when employees are paid less and in turn care less on what is happening with customer service and quality of products sold.
 
2013-10-19 06:41:28 PM  
99% of what they sell at Olive Garden is crap, but you can pry my chicken scampi out of my cold dead hands.  I've tried making it at home from recipes on those "just like in the restaurant" web sites, but it's not the same.
 
2013-10-19 06:48:28 PM  

tillerman35: 99% of what they sell at Olive Garden is crap, but you can pry my chicken scampi out of my cold dead hands.  I've tried making it at home from recipes on those "just like in the restaurant" web sites, but it's not the same.


You can usually find 10lb bags of MSG at your local international foods market. Try putting a teaspoon of that in each recipe and you'll be close.
 
2013-10-19 07:46:21 PM  
That was a serious WTF article, "please spin off Olive Garden and Red Lobster, and maybe sell Bahama Breeze and Seasons 52 as well".  That's like what, 2/3 to 3/4 ot the company?
 
2013-10-19 07:48:33 PM  

HotIgneous Intruder: Let me guess?
Cut employee wages by half?


Add 18% service charge that customers think is the tip, but just goes to the bottom line.
 
2013-10-19 07:48:44 PM  
Longhorn used to be so good before they were sold to Darden.
 
2013-10-19 07:50:45 PM  
I much prefer to eat at restaurants where there is only one of them, or if there is more than one of them, very damn few of them.
 
2013-10-19 07:58:08 PM  
Red Lobster - dump, and no pay. Hey, tip out your bartender, busser and Manager.

olive garden - sh*thole, lousy food, and run by assholes.
 
2013-10-19 09:00:32 PM  
I've heard so many people rave about the Olive Garden breadsticks. I thought they were more like hot dog buns sprinkled with garlic powder...
 
2013-10-19 09:14:05 PM  

finnished: I've heard so many people rave about the Olive Garden breadsticks. I thought they were more like hot dog buns sprinkled with garlic powder...


I always preferred Fazollis
 
2013-10-19 09:21:04 PM  
But where would people go to eat if Olive Garden and Red Lobster go out of business?
 
2013-10-19 09:35:26 PM  

Funk Brothers: But where would people go to eat if Olive Garden and Red Lobster go out of business?


media.northjersey.com
 
2013-10-19 10:43:08 PM  
Clear Lake (southeast Houston/NASA area) just got a Longhorn Steakhouse a short time ago, I have heard it's good, haven't been... We have had a Red Lobster FOREVER and I ignore we have an Olive Garden..
But, I also avoid all Landry's restaurants (Tilman is an extraordinary douche and all his restaurants taste the same), so I don't go to one side of Kemah...
I chose local seafood places that I know gets their fish from the Gulf, not from China
Pappa's isn't too bad, but not a fan of Pappacito's.. I don't like "fancy" mexican food.. give me a tacoria (spell?) any day...
 
2013-10-19 11:00:46 PM  

dionysusaur: Ooooh, Pappas, how I miss that family's magic with foodstuffs.  Seriously - in the Houston metro, if the name of the restaurant starts off 'Pappa,' you won't go wrong.  Unless you're a vegetarian or vegan.


I used to wait tables at Pappadeaux in Sugar Land.  My boss (John Brock? IIRC) was the one who invented the Pappadeaux concept and presented it to the Pappas family.  It's now their most popular restaurant and the first one they build when they go to a new city, apparently.  He gets 1% of all receipts, I heard.  That must be a mint.

I agree they are good food.  My Pappadeaux favorites are the Shrimp en Brochette and the Fried Crawfish / Etoufee combo.  My Pappasito's favorite is the fajitas and ribs, perfect for sharing.  I moved away from Houston after high school so I don't get back there as much as I'd like.
 
2013-10-19 11:06:05 PM  

Harry_Seldon: HotIgneous Intruder: Let me guess?
Cut employee wages by half?

Add 18% service charge that customers think is the tip, but just goes to the bottom line.


Im surprised more corporate restaurants dont do this.  I guess there is some IRS small print that would prohibit this but they would make a mint on the "white guilt" people that think they have to leave some cash on the table to prove their worth.

/see also: every Fark tipping thread ever created.
 
2013-10-19 11:45:05 PM  
There are literally 4 Red Lobsters in all of the state of Louisiana (1 in SELA).

There are 4 Red Lobsters in New England.

The two locations in America that actually know something about seafood. That's all you need to know about the seafood quality there. I suppose if you live in an area that has crap seafood it's better than the freezer section of the local store.
 
2013-10-20 12:37:57 AM  
I put Olive Garden in the same camp as Subway: made obsolete by 10 other far superior restaurants in that category.  Even with chain Italian restaurants, they are faaar better than Olive Garden's shiat.

The only thing I like from OG is the soups and salads.  But, I'm not paying $15 for something I could make at home.
 
2013-10-20 03:07:15 AM  
I used to, occasionally, eat at the local Olive Garden. Not because of the food, which was mediocre and bland at best, but because the best waitress on the planet worked there. She was practically psychic; she'd show up with what you wanted a split-second before you realized that you wanted it, and then she'd disappear (no hovering about while you were trying to have a conversation). Always very polite with a sincere smile. I always tipped 25-30%.

As for Red Lobster; I live 5 miles from the ocean and can get fresh seafood at a reasonable price. No way I'd eat there.
 
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