Olive Garden is delicious again–that’s the main story. The company that owns the popular Olive Garden restaurant chain has seen its stock (DRI) rise 40% since October, when new management took over. But customers care less about that stock and more about the stock that goes into the soups. By all accounts the impressive Olive Garden turnaround is due in large part to a simple new focus: making the Olive Garden food taste better.
Last fall, people were aghast when they found out Olive Garden was no longer even salting the water in its pots for pasta. The horror! Management’s idea was to have the pots last longer–salt corrodes–but this was just one example of how Olive Garden had let its priorities get out of whack. Salted water makes better tasting pasta; better tasting pasta makes happier customers. Now there’s salt in the pots and more tushes in the restaurant seats. Olive Garden just reported a significant increase in same store sales, and it’s selling more desserts and drinks, too. The company also improved its sauces–a key element to so many of its dishes–sparking a very saucy turnaround.