Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat grocerant niche fresh prepared food once again propelled Olive Garden to outperform its peers according to Foodservice Solutions® Grocerant Guru® who added they never should have left the niche but I respect that they were trying something different.
Olive Garden’s same-store sales flew by the casual-dining segment by more than 5 percentage points in its most recent quarter, according to press releases from Darden Restaurants Inc. driven in large part by increased customers adoption of grocerant niche value offerings and to-go service.
Olive Gardens same-store sales at the 842-unit Italian chain rose 2.6 percent in the second quarter ended The same store sales numbers with particularly strong considering sustained struggles at casual-dining restaurants. Wouldn’t you think that other would want to join the grocerant niche by now? Since restaurant customer discontinuity only continues to grow.
Dardens CEO Gene Lee said during the company’s earnings call that Olive Garden’s success was due to a multitude of strategies, including value offers, to-go orders and the company’s emphasis on service. Olive Garden ran two strong value promotions in the second quarter, including a buy-one-take-one offer. Customers received two entrees for the price of one, one of which they could take home with them.
The chain’s Never Ending Pasta Bowl was also successful. In September, Olive Garden put 21,000 Never Ending Pasta Passes up for sale for $100 apiece. The deal let customers eat as much pasta as they’d like in October and November. The Never Ending Pasta Passes sold out in one second, as Foodservice Solutions® team previously reported.
So just how much difference does a good grocerant niche Ready-2-Eat and Heat-N-Eat program make? Looks at these numbers from Olive Garden’s takeout business To-go orders increased 21 percent in the quarter, and have risen 50 percent over three years
Lee continued Darden has “multiple tests going on with all the big players” for single-order delivery. He hinted that negotiations are over the price Darden would have to pay for third parties to deliver its food to customers. “They want us, and we want them,” Lee said. “We have to figure out how to make this work for both parties from a financial standpoint.”
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