Olive Garden to add 20 items to menu


Following on the heels of disappointing sales and shareholder discontent, Darden on Tuesday announced a menu overhaul at its largest restaurant division, Olive Garden.

Olive Garden operates restaurants throughout the region, including Springfield, Middletown, Beavercreek, Miami Twp., Butler Twp. and Fairfield.

In its announcement, Olive Garden called the addition of more than 20 new menu items and other changes “the most comprehensive menu evolution in its history.”

The new menu “is designed to give our guests an enhanced experience by giving them new flavors, more variety and everyday value,” said Jay Spenchian, executive vice president of marketing for Olive Garden.

It also allows diners to customize their meals, a trend in dining that was accelerated by the success of Chipotle and other casual dining chains that allow customers to call the shots on what ingredients go into their meal.

Olive Garden’s new “Cucina Mia” offerings give diners the ability to create their own entree from among six pastas and five sauces, for $9.99. Sauce choices include Creamy Garlic Asiago, Primavera, Creamy Sun-Dried Tomato, Spicy Diavolo, or Fresh Tomato Pomodoro. Toppings such as chicken or sausage meatballs or sauteed shrimp can be added at additional cost.

The menu changes come as both Olive Garden and its parent company have struggled. In its most recent quarterly earnings report in December, Darden reported a 31 percent drop in net earnings, to $19.8 million, and said Olive Garden sales dropped 0.6 percent from the previous year. The company announced after its quarterly report that it would seek to spin off or sell its Red Lobster seafood restaurant chain.

Olive Garden operates more than 800 restaurants, employs 96,000 and generates more than $3.6 billion in annual sales. Its parent company, Darden, also operates LongHorn Steakhouse, The Capital Grille and other chains.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Business

Gas price increases could continue in the coming months
Gas price increases could continue in the coming months

DAYTON — Average retail gasoline prices in Dayton have risen 10.4 cents per gallon in the past week, averaging $2.22 per gallon on Sunday, according to GasBuddy's daily survey of 391 gas outlets in Dayton. This compares with the national average that has increased 2.1 cents per gallon in the last week to $2.27 per gallon, according...
Buyers stretch out car loans to record lengths to lower monthly bills
Buyers stretch out car loans to record lengths to lower monthly bills

The length of loans for new vehicles hit an all-time high last month, as buyers took on more debt and stretched their budgets for increasingly expensive cars and trucks.  The average length of an auto loan hit a record of 69.3 months in June, according to research from Edmunds.com, up almost 7 percent compared to five years ago. And Clark County...
New store pursues location in Bethel Township
New store pursues location in Bethel Township

Dollar General attempted to secure a spot in Bethel Twp. in 2015, but concerned residents halted the attempt. Now Dollar General is back, once again looking to build but this time along West National Road in Springfield. Residents originally did not support the building of a Dollar General store in the farmland area originally proposed due to concerns...
Clean audit issued for Clark County economic development nonprofit
Clean audit issued for Clark County economic development nonprofit

A recent report from the Ohio Auditor of State showed a clean audit after a review of the Community Improvement Corp. of Springfield-Clark County. Auditor of State Dave Yost’s office is responsible for auditing all public entities in Ohio. The CIC’s finances are audited annually and it’s been several years since any issues have been...
Chipotle food scare highlights issue that impacts thousands annually
Chipotle food scare highlights issue that impacts thousands annually

Chipotle is grappling with more cases of foodborne illness, an issue that causes one in six Americans to get sick annually after consuming contaminated foods or beverages. The company’s stock has taken a hit this week following foodborne illness issues at a restaurant in Virginia and a report of rodents scurrying around at one of their restaurants...
More Stories