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comment by kleinbl00
kleinbl00  ·  514 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: The Absence of Olive Gardens

Olive Garden gets shit on a lot because it's the most disingenuous of all the Darden concepts. "When you're here, you're family." Except you'll never see your server again because their turnover is legendary. They pump their authenticity but they mostly sell frozen oregano-flavored Sysco. Everywhere you look is faux brick and fake ivy and the closer your meal is to the can, the better it's likely to taste.

I remember when Olive Garden came to New Mexico. They had a waiting list two months long. Out in the sticks in the late '80s you could call and get on a list so you could drive 100 miles eight weeks later to eat all you can eat frozen breadsticks. And people did it. This in an area where the indigenous cuisine goes back 400 years, where cities lend their names to Hyundais. And that's because the people waiting two months to eat at Olive Garden? They were the ones who mostly ventured to other places to buy Hard Rock Cafe t-shirts, the ones who didn't eat authentic anything, who were looking for an even blander version of white people food than they could already find.

Buca di Beppo gets just as much slaggish hatred as Olive Garden and I will go out of my way not to eat at Spaghetti Factory either but you wouldn't mistake either franchise's location map with Walmart's.

Olive Garden: it's everywhere you'd rather not be

Their food is not awful - they're no Applebee's. But theirs is a synthetic theme park dining experience and they are both simultaneously the most synthetic and the most dishonest about it.




cgod  ·  514 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Just a brief aside on the chain restaurant business model.

They buy nothing from Sysco. There is one business that owns the restaurant side and another that owns the distribution side. They are owned by the same guys. For all I know there might be a third that manufactures the slop.

Sysco can't provide the the consistency or the product that these stores need at a price they will pay. All the sauces come in jugs, cans or in frozen packets, the sauces are only for that chain. The cooks might need to rehydrate them.

The meat products are easy to handle and perfectly uniform having no variance in size or shape. Sysco dumps garbage on its customers with regularity, changes distributors or what ever it can to make an extra dime, wider variation in size of proteins or a different precooked burger than before. Sysco tells you that you are wrong and their shit is great, deal with it or call FSA.

Chains get exactly what they want at a competive price. The sauce is always the same because it's in the same 200 gallon batch by the same guy every time.

When a chain wants to expand they lower distribution prices and a franchise looks great profit wise. When a chain wants to boost it's stock price it tightens up costs on the distribution side and buys back a few of the franchises that it's stressed out with higher prices.

The chain sets the price on the menu and it sets the price of distribution. It makes all the profit on wholly owned stores, it makes all the money on distribution, it makes it's franchise fee.

A chain can raise distribution fees to lower store profits so that managers can't make their performance goals if they think too much money is going out in bounuses.

I've worked for franchises that were buying higher quality ingredients for a lower price to boost product quality and profits. Mixing three bags of franchise cheese with one bag of better cheese and making sure that the good shit was hard to find in the walk in just in case there was a cooperate inspection. It's the stuff lawsuits were made for.

oyster  ·  514 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    I remember when Olive Garden came to New Mexico. They had a waiting list two months long.

What. The. Fuck. When I think of these kinds of restaurants I think of places where entire kids hockey teams show up without a reservation.

user-inactivated  ·  514 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Do they take off their skates and pads first? How does a ravenous goalie eat never ending breadsticks through a face guard?

oyster  ·  514 days ago  ·  link  ·  

They leave those in the mini vans I assume. It was hilarious actually I worked at a bar 3 restaurant down from my friend who worked at one of these places. Her entire day was just hockey team after hockey team while I servered completely different people. I thought it was similar to the Olive Garden concept but now I’m not so sure. Or is Olive Garden hockey teams were it’s not new and fancy ?

kleinbl00  ·  514 days ago  ·  link  ·  

What can I say. Breakin' Bad country.