Olive Garden Makeover: New Look, New Logo
By Staff Writer | March 01, 2013 04:17 PM EST
Olive Garden has announced it is getting a makeover in reaction to dwindling sales, according to the restaurant chain's president.
According to Olive Garden president, Dave George, the restaurant is about to undergo a major makeover that will update its look while also keeping prices low.
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The announcement came on Tuesday after the Italian restaurant franchise recorded a 1.2 percent drop in sales during the past fiscal year.
George, who took over as Olive Garden's president in the beginning of the year, told investors this week the makeover is meant to give the restaurant a "more relevant" look. He hopes the new look will help draw in customers.
Olive Garden restaurants currently sport décor reminiscent of an "Old-World Tuscan farmhouse" but George said the stonework and wooden archways will gradually be phased out. The new look of the Italian eatery will be much more modern.
The old-world style only debuted in 2000, but the president said, "We don't think the remodel process as it stands today, the work that was being done up until now, took the brand far enough."
The new styling including stainless steel accents, is reportedly going to look more relevant.
The changes, which also include a brand new logo, will take approximately one year to institute, according to Olive Garden's parent company, Darden Restaurants.
The Orlando-based company also announced customers can expect several other changes including smaller plate sizes with fewer calories and less expensive menu items.
Some new items have already hit the menu. A 420-calorie lasagna primavera with chicken and a lunch calzone and sandwich combo were added in October and come in at a price of $6.95.
Olive Garden employees will also receive a makeover. Soon they will ditch the white shirts and for the new, all-black uniforms.
Furthermore, as with other Darden restaurants, such as Red Lobster, Olive Garden will institute a 1 percent cap on yearly menu price increases.
Olive Garden operates over 800 restaurant franchises and the new makeover budget is reportedly between $600 million and $650 million this year.
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