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Posts Tagged ‘Olive Garden’

Date Night? Olive Garden Will Take Care of the Kids

olivegarden

When you’re here, you’re family … so leave those brats with us.

In restaurant circles, it’s the rumor that Darden‘s fun Italiano concept Olive Garden is hurting for your money. To wit, it came up with what they think is a genius marketing campaign to get your butts in their seats — the restaurant will spring for your babysitter.

In a world of hypersensitive parents, child predators and sick freaks around every corner, this has to be a great PR idea, right?

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Hot On the Heels of Taco Bell’s Success, Is Olive Garden Setting Itself Up For Failure?

Olive Garden has a plan to turn around its lagging fortunes: the chain is bringing tapas to its menu in an effort to reach millennials. The OG (as I like to call it), which normally specializes in neverending meals is now betting that the exact opposite — small bites — will bring in the younger crowd and more profits. The company says its been testing the tapas in Atlanta, Los Angeles and Grand Rapids, MI and, so far, in three random places, they’ve been well-received.

The restaurant is normally the place for families and older diners. Olive Garden has run on tough times as more people opt for fast food because of the recession and competition from other chains like Applebee’s and Outback heats up. Those restaurants have been introducing low-priced menu options and alcohol-fueled parties to get the young diners in the door.

So of all things, one wonders why Olive Garden would go for small plates to remedy its problems. They say tapas make it easier for the youths to text and eat at the same time. Oh geez.

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Olive Garden’s Comped Receipt PR Win: Real or Fake?

Social media has recently taught us that restaurant receipts, when posted and shared online, can provide brands with a lot of press that can be either very good or very bad. This week The Consumerist asks: are some restaurants now attempting to hijack that trend by posting complementary receipts online themselves in the hope of earning some great PR? Here’s the Reddit photo that prompted the question:

Notice that every item has been comped. According to the user’s story, he was out for dinner at Olive Garden when his three-year-old daughter responded to the restaurant manager’s “how is everything” query by telling him that her grandparents’ house had just burned down. The manager then effectively gave the party a free meal. Sounds like great customer service, right? Maybe not.

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Applebee’s, Olive Garden Paying for a Round of Drinks

Don’t they card people to avoid these sorts of mistakes? Maybe the sippy cups should’ve been a sign that these customers were underage?

Olive Garden and Applebee’s are feeling the fever because they’ve served alcohol to small kids. They say it was just a crazy oversight, but as  publicist Katherine Paine tells USA Today, “The problem is, it’s too good a story. It’s got babies, alcohol and food.” All things that get massive amounts of attention.

The USA Today story includes a few tips for avoiding this sort of error in the future. “Retrain staff. ’Every employee is a PR rep,’ says crisis guru Jonathan Bernstein. ‘These incidents prove how many crises start with line workers,’” reads one of the bullets. And both restaurants say they’ve changed their policies. Now they have to keep getting the word out that they’re sorry, they’ve changed, and ride out the media frenzy.

[Image via]