Olive Gardens New Makeover- Good or bad move?

ImageDue to Olive Gardens 13 percent drop in customer traffic and decline in revenues for the year 2013, they decided it was time for a makeover. By rebranding themselves with a new logo and change in menu they hope to drive in more customers. But will giving Olive Garden a facelift and more trendy image be enough?

Olive Garden is not the only one suffering; other well known, fast moving companies have been in a downfall this past year. Darden inc. is a multi-brand restaurant operator, and the owner of Olive Garden. They also own and operate: Red Lobster, Bahama Breeze, Longhorn Steakhouse, Yard House, Seasons52, Eddie V’s Prime Seafood, and Capital Grille.  

“We’re making a transformation to the brand,” Olive Garden spokesman Justin Sikora told The Huffington Post by phone. “We’re moving away from some of the things we’ve done in the past — traditional Tuscan warmth — and embracing a more contemporary Italy.”

According to an Olive Garden spokesman, Justin Sikora, the old beige and forest green logo with swirly font and a 3D grapevine just screams the 90s. They are trying to bring a more light and modern look to their company.  Along with this new and improved rebranding, they plan to start renovating the restaurants; avoiding the old “Tuscan Farmhouse” looks by bringing in a more contemporary style. Lastly, more important than their style is their food, Olive Garden plans to revamp their menu; offering “more protein-forward items” and small dishes on the “lighter Italian fare menu”. For all those pasta and breadstick lovers, don’t worry, the breadsticks, salad and alfredo are all safe!

From a pr perspective I am curious how the abrupt change will affect their traffic and sales. I personally like the old logo more, but perhaps that is because I am all too familiar with the restaurants old style. It is a place my family and I go for everyone’s birthday, following their old slogan “when you’re here you’re family”. Most big chain, family restaurants thrive off of -loyal customers, so will changing their current image push-away current regulars? It’s a risk they are willing to take.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/01/olive-garden-changes-menu-design_n_2791869.html

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