Olive Garden unveils new logo, menu changes

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ORLANDO, Fla. — Olive Garden has unveiled its new logo and a revamped menu as part of a “brand renaissance,” executives at Darden Restaurants Inc. expressed during a call with analysts on Monday.

According to the Orlando Sentinel, the restaurant hopes to win back customers with a new logo and more menu changes.

Some of the menu changes include more small dishes and the option for customers to mix and match pastas and sauces.

Last month, Olive Garden announced a new lunch menu that includes all-you-can-eat $6.99 soup, salad and breadsticks offer. For an extra $2.99, customers can add a pasta side, tapas-style small plate or a new salad topping.

Diners can top the salads with Italian meats and cheese or roasted tomato caprese.

There is also an appetizer of chicken wings, tossed with garlic and chili peppers and served with a gorgonzola dipping sauce. Late last year, Olive Garden introduced a burger.

“Our new menu is designed to give our guests an enhanced experience by giving them new flavors, more variety and everyday value,” said Jay Spenchian, executive vice president of marketing for Olive Garden. “We’re staying true to the fresh, simple Italian food, while creating more ways to delight our guests.”

The lunch menu also has more sandwich and flatbread options, with combinations served with unlimited soup or salad and bread sticks.

“We certainly recognize that industry dynamics have changed considerably over past two years,” CEO Clarence Otis said during the call, acknowledging the need to make drastic changes.

Customer traffic declined as much as 13 percent at Olive Garden in December and 19 percent at Red Lobster.

Full list of menu changes (credit: Darden Restaurants)

New Dinner Menu Highlights

  • “Cucina Mia” Section: Introducing a new menu section that gives guests the ability to create their own entree from a variety of six pastas and five made-from-scratch sauces—for only$9.99 every day.
  • Small Plates: Expanding the Tastes of Italy section to include eight small plate dishes for guests who want to explore different flavors.
  • Lighter Italian Fare: Enhancing variety within the under-575-calories menu section by introducing additional dishes for calorie-counting guests.
  • Specialty Entrees: Bringing new culinary-forward entrees to the chicken and seafood sections of the menu, enhanced by preparation on a new Piastra flat-top grill for a more evenly cooked, tender and juicy taste.
  • Antipasti and Caprese Salads: Creating new ways for guests to enjoy Olive Garden’s popular signature salad through the addition of antipasti or caprese toppings.

New Lunch Menu Highlights

  • Lunch Experience: Recognizing the busy schedules of lunch guests, Olive Garden is debuting a new lunch menu and enhanced service steps that provide busy guests with a variety of choices for a quick and satisfying meal.
  • Tuscan Trio CombinationsEnhancing the popular soup, salad and breadsticks lunch by offering guests an additional pasta side, Small Plate or new salad topping.
  • Sandwich & Flatbread Combinations: Giving guests more handheld options with sandwich and flatbread combinations served with unlimited soup or salad and breadsticks.

New Menu Details

New Cucina Mia (“My Kitchen”) for $9.99

  • Choose your pasta: New Large Paccheri, New Tri-Colored Vegetable Penne, Bucatini, New Cavatappi, Whole Wheat Linguine, New Gluten-Free Rotini
  • Choose your made-from-scratch sauce: New Creamy Garlic Asiago, New Primavera, New Creamy Sun-Dried Tomato, New Spicy Diavolo, Fresh Tomato Pomodoro
  • Add a topping (additional cost): New Chicken Meatballs, New Sausage Meatballs, Meatballs, Sauteed Shrimp

New Small Plates

  • Parmesan Olive Fritta – A bite-sized blend of olives and Italian cheeses, rolled together and lightly fried. Served with your choice of a citrus aioli or gorgonzola cream dipping sauce.
  • Polenta Shrimp alla Greca – Sauteed shrimp served on creamy plenta and topped with a fresh blend of olives, capers and tomato sauce.

New Appetizer

  • Spicy Calabrian Wings – Chicken wings tossed with garlic and chili peppers from the Italian region of Calabria, served with gorgonzola dipping sauce. Increase the heat by adding our signature Calabrian chili paste. Available for a limited time.

New Lighter Italian Fare

  • Center Cut Filet Mignon – 6 oz. premium cut filet, seasoned with Italian herbs and grilled. Served with sauteed Italian vegetables and roasted garlic.
  • Chicken Abruzzi (Olive Garden Specialty) – Grilled chicken breast in a savory broth simmered with cannellini beans, kale and garden vegetables.

New Olive Garden Specialties

  • Crab Topped Chicken – Pan-seared chicken breasts topped with crab meat in a lemon cream sauce. Served with fresh spinach and garlic parmesan mashed potatoes.
  • Salmon Bruschetta – Grilled salmon filet topped with bruschetta tomatoes and basil pesto, served on freshly prepared seafood risotto with crab meat.
  • Pappardelle Pescatore – Sauteed shrimp, bay scallops and clams tossed with pappardelle pasta, fresh asparagus and tomatoes in a creamy red pepper seafood sauce.
  • Mediterranean Grilled Trout – 10 oz. filet seasoned with basil and extra-virgin olive oil. Served with pappardelle pasta tossed with garlic, broccoli and fresh tomato sauce.

New Carne/Beef

  • Parmesan Crusted Filet – 6 oz. premium center cut filet, grilled to perfection and topped with a creamy parmesan-alfredo crust. Served with sauteed Italian vegetables and roasted garlic.

New Antipasti and Caprese Salads
Choose a new topping for Olive Garden’s signature garden-fresh salad:

  • Antipasti Italian Meats & Cheese – Hard salami, genoa salami, pepperoni and mozzarella.
  • Roasted Tomato Caprese – Fresh mozzarella bites, roasted tomato, bell pepper, basil, kale and an extra-virgin olive oil drizzle.

New Lunch Combinations & Sandwiches

  • Tuscan Trio Combinations: Start with Soup, Salad & Breadsticks and add a new salad topping, a pasta side or a Small Plate.
  • New Smashed Chicken Meatball Sandwich – Smashed chicken meatballs with roasted bell peppers and mozzarella on a focaccia bun.

New Dessert

  • Salted Caramel Tiramisu – Layers of creamy caramel mousse and vanilla-soaked ladyfingers, topped with salted caramel crumble and chocolate shavings. Available for a limited time.
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