Is Olive Garden’s menu changing?

Olive Garden, one of the most popular Italian casual dining restaurant chains, is known for its tasty Italian-American cuisine such as fresh breadsticks, tasty tossed salad, artisanal pastas and handmade sauces. But this restaurant giant seems to be implementing significant changes on its menu.

According to Nation’s Restaurant News, the chain’s sales have been hurting over the past year, and the changes in the menu are an attempt to raise those numbers. Darden Restaurants Inc. reported that store sales at the chain fell 0.6 percent in the most recent quarter.

The new menu
Customers will certainly be able to enjoy the same classic dishes, but now the menu offers much more from which to choose. Its “Tastes of Italy” section has been altered to include new plates and even offer customers lighter, healthier options. For instance, patrons can order the Chicken Abruzzi – a grilled chicken breast coated with a flavorful broth and accompanied by vegetables, kale and cannellini beans. This plate is only 575 calories, making it one of the lighter options on the menu. More calorie-conscious dishes have been implemented as an effort to reflect the eating habits of today. It’s hoped that if there are healthier choices on the menu, more people will dine with Olive Garden.

Another big change to the menu includes a customization program. This allows patrons to craft their own personalized meal by mixing and matching certain pastas and sauces for only $9.99. This customizable option is great for those with certain dietary restrictions, such as a gluten allergy. Patrons can opt for gluten-free pasta and pair it with with anything from a creamy sun-dried tomato sauce to a spicy diavolo dressing. There are also plenty of pasta shapes to pick from, like cavatappi, vegetable penne, bucatini, linguine and more. Customers have the option to add some meat to their dish as well, such as meatballs, chicken, sausage or shrimp.

A new appetizer was also introduced to the menu to encourage customers to order a dish before their meal. These spicy Calabrian wings are tossed with garlic and chili peppers for a bit of a kick and served with gorgonzola dipping sauce. By enrolling in a culinary school online, you can whip up appetizers just like this.

A new logo
To go along with this revamped menu, Olive Garden is also implementing a new logo to win back its customer base. The logo is supposed to reflect a more sophisticated and modern style to attract more patrons to the restaurant. The big menu change and logo alteration are both behind what Darden Restaurants Inc. is calling a “brand renaissance.”

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