Cherished pillar of Italian cuisine Olive Garden is getting some interesting new advice from its corporate overlords. According to Bloomberg, parent company Darden is now dictating that all Olive Garden restaurants reduce their carpet-cleaning efforts to once a month. (Seems many restaurants were — gasp — shampooing their carpets twice monthly.)
CEO Gene Lee took the time to address the measure in Olive Garden's most recent earnings call, saying, "There’s a protocol that you clean carpets once a month. If you do it more than that, you end up actually destroying the carpet — and really not a whole lot of benefit there."
It may seem like an oddly specific initiative for the Never Ending Pasta Pass hawker, but the effort to scrimp and save wherever possible is just another aspect of investor Starboard Value's effort to to turn around the flailing company. The chain's sales have skyrocketed recently, so perhaps it's working? (And certainly cleaning the carpets less is a better idea than messing with the generous free breadstick policy.) In other news, famed North Dakota food critic Marilyn Hagerty did really enjoy Olive Garden's new chicken parmigiana breadstick sandwich.