This recent blog post on Slate.com recaps a report detailing how Olive Garden has lost its brand focus (the report is from hedge fund Starboard Value and there are links in the post that get you to more details). It’s an important reminder about the importance of brand engagement at all levels of an organization.
Say what you will about the food, at its heart Olive Garden is an Italian restaurant. From Slate.com: ” ‘According to Darden management, Darden decided to stop salting the water to get an extended warranty on their pots,’ Starboard, which is in a proxy fight for control over Darden’s board, explains. ‘Pasta is Olive Garden’s core dish and must be prepared properly. This example shows how disconnected Darden management is from restaurant operations and how little regard Darden management has for the guest experience. If you Google ‘how to cook pasta,’ the first step of Pasta 101 is to salt the water.’ “