Olive Garden rolling out new restaurant design, online To Go platform

BY Marianne Wilson

ORLANDO, Fla. — Olive Garden has begun the the roll out of a new restaurant remodel design and logo. The company, a division of Darden Restaurants Inc., is also launching an updated web experience and an online to-go platform for desktop and mobile computer users at all its U.S. restaurants.

The updated design will be implemented at more than 75 Olive Garden locations during the next year. The look is more open and vibrant, designed to create an atmosphere that promotes togetherness, while maintaining the chain’s casual warmth and family-friendly nature.

Features of the new design includes the removal of walls to create a more open and inviting atmosphere; distinctive decor in each dining area for a more homelike feel; a striking, more modern lobby and bar area; flexible seating that better accommodates large parties; and more vibrant colors, fabrics and textures.

Olive Garden also is introducing a redesigned web experience that includes the national launch of online To Go, where guests can order meals via Olive Garden’s website for pick-up at restaurant locations across the country. Guests can pre-pay for their purchase online or when picking up at the restaurant and redeem coupons with their order. They also have the option to save their favorite orders for future transactions and order meals days in advance.

Olive Garden’s new logo will be featured on remodeled restaurants, Olive Garden’s new website and social media pages, as well as on menus and other marketing communications. All restaurant signage in remodel markets also will be converted to feature the new logo. This marks the first time Olive Garden has significantly evolved its logo in more than 15 years and is a physical indicator of the significant changes the restaurant is making to update its brand, the company said.

"We’ve done a lot of work during the past year to evolve the experience we deliver to our guests, from offering more choice and variety on our menu to creating a more flexible service approach that puts our guests’ needs first," said Jay Spenchian, Olive Garden’s executive VP of marketing. "As we continue to update our brand experience, we needed to send a strong signal to our guests that there’s something new and exciting at Olive Garden, and our new remodel design, web experience and logo are designed to do just that."ma

Olive Garden also is testing a new menu design and format in more than 30 restaurants with plans to roll out nationwide later this year. In addition to this test, all remodeled restaurants will feature a new leather-bound menu with an updated look and streamlined format that’s easier to navigate and consistent with Olive Garden’s new brand merchandising and logo.

During the past year, Olive Garden said, it has simplified its culinary operations to focus on food quality, evolved its service approach to be more flexible and personal to anticipate customers needs, and expanded its menu with more than 20 new items.

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FINANCE

Coupon activity increased 3.4% during the first six months of 2014

BY Marianne Wilson

Minneapolis — Free standing Insert (FSI) coupon activity increased 3.4% t based on coupons dropped during the first six months of 2014 versus the year ago period, according to Marx, a Kantar Media solution. Coupons dropped within non-food categories increased 8.2% to represent 65% of the 158 billion FSI coupons distributed during this period.

“Increases in FSI coupon activity within the non-food segment were driven by the health care and the personal care areas, which continue to leverage FSI coupons to effectively deliver advertising impact, purchase incentives and retailer merchandising support for their brands,” said Dan Kitrell, VP account solutions at Marx.

During the first six months of 2014, food categories distributed 55.9 billion coupons, a decrease of 3.9% with the refrigerated foods area reporting the largest actual decrease.

Retailer promotion pages increased 26.8% to more than 14.5 billion pages in the first half of 2014. The number of manufacturers participating in retailer promotions increased from 236 in the first half of 2013 to 335 during the first half of 2014. The number of retailers also increased, from 107 in 2013 to 125 in 2014. Retailers from mass (Walmart, Target), drug (Walgreens, CVS), value (Family Dollar, Dollar General) and food (Safeway, Kroger, Publix, and Vons retail banners) comprised the top ten retailers.

Walmart continued to hold the top spot based on number of pages circulated with an increase of 45.9% to more than 5.2 billion pages, which was the largest actual increase among the top ten retailers. These trends reflect the overall growth of retailer promotion within traditional FSI vehicles to reach shoppers in the home to drive trips, transactions, and profits across channels and retail formats.

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REAL ESTATE

Ross Dress for Less to open new stores in Georgia, Kentucky

BY Staff Writer

Dublin, Calif. — Ross Dress for Less will open two new stores in the Southeast on July 19th. The store openings are in The Village on Pooler Parkway in Pooler, Georgia, and Dixie Valley Shopping Center in Southwest Louisville, Kentucky. These new openings are part of the retailer’s 2014 expansion program, totaling approximately 75 new locations during the year.

Together, Ross Dress for Less and dd’s Discounts currently operate over 1,300 off-price apparel and home fashion stores in 33 states, the District of Columbia and Guam.

Ross Stores, Inc. is an S&P 500, Fortune 500 and Nasdaq 100 (ROST) company headquartered in Dublin, California, with fiscal 2013 revenues of $10.2 billion. Currently, the company operates Ross Dress for Less (“Ross”), the largest off-price apparel and home fashion chain in the United States with stores in 33 states, the District of Columbia.

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