Will new logo help floundering Olive Garden?

The restaurant is in the middle of a broad overhaul, with plans for dark wood floors and a more sophisticated menu. Owner Darden is still under pressure to sell, however.

By InvestorPlace Mar 4, 2014 12:40PM

Credit: © Darden Restaurants Inc/AP

Caption: The new ‘Olive Garden’ logo was released by Darden Restaurants on Monday, March 3, 2013By William White


Darden Restaurants' (DRI) Olive Garden chain is preparing for a sweeping overhaul that will include new food, new decor and even a new (but not necessarily improved) logo.


Darden has released pictures of the redesigned restaurants, which feature dark, wood floors, exposed ceiling beams and long, green couches. The changes will affect 350 of its 800 restaurants. The company still will test new designs through fiscal 2015 (starts in May 2014), reports The Orlando Sentinel.


Meanwhile, the new Olive Garden logo has a brown background with the restaurant chain's name in white font, then "Italian Kitchen" in green underneath. It also features a small, green olive branch.


To say the logo is understated would be . . . well, an understatement. The Consumerist has compared the new logo to what would appear on "a generic package of veggie burgers."

The Orlando Sentinel also notes several other changes coming to Olive Garden, which includes new plates that highlight the food, 20 new menu items, online ordering, carside pickup, and delivery for large orders.


In recent months, Darden has come under increasing pressure to spin off some of its poorly performing chains, including Olive Garden and Red Lobster. While the company has said that it plans to spin off or sell the Red Lobster chain, it appears to be hitching its wagon to an Olive Garden renaissance.


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Tags: DRI
93Comments
Mar 4, 2014 2:06PM
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New decor and a new logo may help, but people go tor the food and reasonable prices.  If they would actually improve the quality of the food including having real, authentic hand made items (as opposed to microwave, pre-processed frozen food), many more people would go there.  Until that happens, I will stick with the local, authentic Italian restaurants.
Mar 4, 2014 2:19PM
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None of the changes address the real problem with Olive Garden: the food.  They serve over priced, low quality pasta.  Until this is fixed, the chain will remain doomed.
Mar 4, 2014 2:18PM
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Way over priced. I do not want to pay for all their advertising.
Mar 4, 2014 2:48PM
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Good food made with fresh ingredients would be a start to put this floundering chain back on the right track. Frozen entrees and micro-waved food is not going to draw customers. Believe me a new logo is not going to help one bit.
Mar 4, 2014 2:10PM
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Floundering? Where I live you always have a wait to get in, anyay of the week
Mar 4, 2014 3:09PM
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Why do businesses do this? It's just like what the retail store, J C Penney did. I know it's a restaurant and not a department store, but the concept is the same. Penneys brought in someone who changed the logo, got rid of the popular brands, sales, and coupons, raised prices, and changed the displays to look more like a high end electronics store than a clothing store. People quit shopping there. They finally wised up, fired the CEO that caused the mess, and are still trying to dig there way out of the grave. Quality and value is what customers want. Not makeovers.
Mar 4, 2014 2:31PM
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Changing the logo is cosmetic.  Improve the food and people will eat at your restaurant.
Mar 4, 2014 2:57PM
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Pouring money into renovation is stupid when the food quality staying the same,artificial. What they need to do is lower their prices unless they are prepared to deliver "fresh" product for what they're charging.
Mar 4, 2014 2:31PM
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Typical response from crap peddlers.  Our food sucks but lets change the sign, maybe that will help.
Mar 4, 2014 2:35PM
Mar 4, 2014 2:36PM
Mar 4, 2014 3:08PM
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How about serving better food which will go a long way to improving business. 
Mar 4, 2014 3:20PM
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The new logo is unimaginative at best.  One might expect to see something like that on a bag of flour.  Why not design something with "Italian flag colors" of green, white and red? 

 

Darden management, (Red Lobster, Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse, Bahama Breeze, Seasons 52, The Capital Grille, Eddie V's, and Yard House), might have lost the focus on quality food at reasonable prices.  Plus, don't they realize that dark wood floors will make the place look more dungeon-like, less festive, and require more maintenance, to keep them looking clean?

 

In 50 years of dining in restaurants, I have always been attracted to a CLEAN food service place, that serves QUALITY food - CONSISTENTLY, and at a Reasonable Price.  That is my "CQCRP concept," of food service management.   The location is not important.  If the food service operator pays strict attention to the CQCRP, the people will find you.

 

By the way, reasonable prices should include the bar beverages and the wine list. 

Mar 4, 2014 3:05PM
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Like putting lipstick on a pig.
Sorry to all you pigs out there.

Mar 4, 2014 2:25PM
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Nothing can fix that POS called Olive Garden.


They refused to let a Veterans Group fly their American Flag during their meeting, a pox on you Olive Garden!


We won't forget OR forgive!

Mar 4, 2014 2:48PM
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It will take more than a new logo. Olive Garden is already dead and just don't know it yet.... It will take a total make-over to do the trick, and that is like a new business. If there are tax advantages to do that and move on then do it!
Mar 4, 2014 3:33PM
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And to add to my last- Most everyone commenting here is right. You can't hide the fact behind a renovation that you are paying for "just OK" Italian themed food. Put the $$ where it will do you the most good (food and service).
Mar 4, 2014 3:10PM
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Olive Garden is a joke anyway. As an Italian person every time I hear someone say "Olive Garden is SOOOOOO good for Italian food!!" I throw up in my mouth a little bit. Then I promptly invite them to my home and cook them REAL Italian food.

I am not sure what they could do to improve their already abysmal menu. Every time a new commercial for the place pops up it's reminiscent of Taco Bell...Another "new" shape for the same damned ingredients. Cheese-stuffed SOMETHING with a creamy garlic and parmesan sauce...or their canned-tasting "marinara" sauce.

Go to an actual Italian restaurant if you want good pasta. Or better yet, go to an Italian friend's place for dinner.
Mar 4, 2014 3:12PM
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I can't wait to go there, and wait 45 min. just to get a seat so I can eat OK italian.  How about getting on the 'Open Table' network or something to allow me to make a reservation.
Mar 4, 2014 3:46PM
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Honestly, I'm Italian-American and my uncle owned a very good, authentic Italian restuarant in Brooklyn many years ago wherein my mom cooked a few days a week for, and I can tell you, Olive Garden's food is like Italian fast food at its worst.  I don't mean to sound snobby or anything, however, the food is terrible and the prices they charge for it are unreal.  If they used better quality ingredients, stopped adding so many different things to the menu so often, and focused on good, fresh, old style as well as a few contemporary "lighter" Italian dishes, they may do better. For every Olive Garden, there is one of those smaller, authentic Italian restaurants serving better quality food at cheaper prices that most would rather eat at if they know and love authentic, delicious Italian food.
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