Promotion at Olive Garden
Darden Restaurants (DRI) will run its Never Ending Pasta Bowl for $9.99 campaign as part of its Brand Renaissance program during the fall to boost sales at Olive Garden. Olive Garden launched the unlimited pasta campaign in September, selling 1,000 passes for $100. The pass enables a pass holder to enjoy unlimited pasta, breadsticks, and soda for 49 days, according to Fox News.
The company also remodeled three of its restaurants with new logos, menus, plateware, and signage. Let’s look at this, along with Darden’s unit growth and penetration.
Promotion at LongHorn Steakhouse
The company ran two campaigns during the quarter—Grilled Tastes of Summer and Steaks Across America.
- The Grilled Tastes of Summer campaign offered entrées that are seasonally appropriate. The menu included items such as Fire-Grilled Hawaiian Ribeye, Grilled Lobster Chops, Grilled Shrimp, and Brown Butter Lemon Tilapia.
- The Steaks Across America campaign offered Texas 3-Chili Pepper Ribeye, Kansas City BBQ Sirloin, and Manhattan stuffed Mushroom Filet starting at $12.99.
Despite these campaigns, the same-store sales were 2.8% compared to 3.2% year-over-year (or YoY).
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An increase in customer traffic through promotional campaigns put pressure on the operations at the restaurant and kitchen level. To mitigate this, the company stated that it has worked on staffing and scheduling and on improving the cooking processes, just as we saw in the Chipotle Mexican Grill (CMG) series.
The company also plans to outsource some of its production work so as not to affect its existing staff. Related to this, it’ll run tests in the next three to six months.
Let’s now look at Darden’s digital strategy and other initiatives.