As far as I know, the only absolutes in life are Death, Taxes, and dipping as many goddamn breadsticks as you want in that insane Olive Garden dressing that they put on their unlimited salads. You think people go to the O.G. for the entrees, or food promo gimmicks? I say thee nay. I grew up near some of the best Italian Food in the world, but I love me some Olive Garden. Their policy of salad and breadsticks are a huge part of that, a trademark of the restaurant chain based on “Italian generosity.”
Unfortunately, it turns out that there’s a few people that AREN’T too happy with Olive Garden’s “generosity”: Starboard Value, a hedge fund which seeks to gain control of Olive Garden’s parent company’s board of directors, released a nearly 300-page criticism of the chain restaurant, attacking them on a number of issues, including such nitpicking as the length of asparagus they serve, their failure to salt the water they use to boil their pasta, and, most notably, the distribution of those sweet, delicious breadsticks.
Darden Restaurants, Inc., the parent company of Olive Garden, gave a 24-page response to Starboard’s criticisms:
“The company is already implementing a variety of strategies to improve Olive Garden’s performance. The company says it has introduced new menu items to underscore value, for instance, and is testing ordering technologies using table-top tablets.”
In its response Monday, Darden said that “Olive Garden’s salad and breadsticks have been an icon of brand equity since 1982.” They say it’s a part of their trademark “Italian Generosity” that has been a cornerstone of the company’s policies. Starboard clarified that they were not criticizing the policy of giving out unlimited breadsticks, per se, but rather, servers were giving out too many breadsticks at once, leading to cold, wasted breadsticks, and wanted to see better-trained servers that would stick to the company policy of “one breadstick per customer, plus an extra for the table” at a time.
Personally, I’ve never seen a “wasted breadstick” in all my years of being an Olive Garden customer. While Starboard’s intentions are good, this is how it starts. First they control how many breadsticks they bring out at once. Then they give you more, but say you can only get one basket per visit. Soon enough, you’ll be paying $2.99 for 6 breadsticks. $2.99? What is this, a REAL Italian restaurant?
It’s time to draw a line in the sand and say no to Starboard and their fascist stance on the regulation of breadstick distribution. DEREGULATION OF BREADSTICKS FOR ALL! In fact, Darden Restaurants, if you’re reading this, say “eff you” to Starboard and make me a board member for Olive Garden. I’ll protect the incredible reputation of the O.G. I’ll promise a salad on every table and six breadsticks in every basket. Nay…make that seven.
[via Florida Today]