Starboard Value — the investor group/killjoys that took issue with Olive Garden's unlimited breadstick policy — has now managed to piss off Olive Garden's employees. According to the New York Post, workers are not happy with Starboard's over-the-top treatise of everything the chain is doing wrong, namely the section that suggests "cutting labor spending." Recommendations included eliminating prep cooks and forcing "waitstaff to do jobs previously done by bussers and food runners." One employee tells the NYP: "We're people, we aren't assets to be sold off."
Olive Garden and its parent company Darden has, for the most part, done a good job of sticking up for itself. Darden responded to the breadstick backlash by noting that the policy conveys "Italian generosity." The company also noted in a separate statement that Starboard's "hyper-detailed demands amount to 'micromanaging'" which could dampen the company's growth. First they try to crush Italian generosity, and now they're attacking Italian hospitality? For shame.