Olive Garden has been in the news lately… A lot! After being skewered by investors last year, Darden Restaurants (owner of Olive Garden family of restaurants) is attempting to focus on building the brand, and defining it’s new customer experience. In September of last year, Darden was forced to defend many of it’s policies including (astonishingly) it’s stance on bringing complimentary breadsticks to the table. (I hope they didn’t notice the private jet… Oh wait they did, sorry Darden.)
The fact that folks were talking about this semi-newsworthy tidbit was cause for concern to Olive Garden regulars, and cause for parity in late night talk show circles like Jimmy Fallon’s. Here’s Jimmy’s take on “BreadStickGate”:
Having eaten at Olive Garden a good many times in my day, it looks like a solid bet that they’d be targeting boomers and seniors. Boomers alone are 78 million strong, and they currently make up a good portion of the folks I see when I’m visiting our local establishments. By the way… they’re the ones with the money (and time). In my view, a logical play would be to make the experience better for the obvious target market here… Baby Boomers!
For this reason I was astonished to hear one contributor to the “Motley Fool” mention that after shedding the Red Lobster brand from their portfolio, Darden would do well by targeting a “younger demographic from a much more diverse background” (not exactly sure what that means – maybe he’s inferring boomers but it’s not clear). His comments below:
So who is Olive Garden targeting these days? I can’t imagine that they’re going to go after the Millennials (born 1982 – 2004), or the Generation Y folks (mid 70’s – mid 2000’s). Even Generation X (1965 – 1984) may be a stretch. Try as they might, they’ll likely settle back down to you baby boomers, which is going to be their sweet spot… Or their salty spot if we’re still talking about those tasty (unlimited for now) bread sticks!
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