Olive Garden is a brand that’s ripe—no, begging—for innovation, and Darden executives know it. Last year the brand introduced several new menu items, a “Dinner Today & Tomorrow” promotion, and their first new television advertising campaign in 10 years.
The returns from those changes weren’t as big as the company had hoped. At least not in the immediate term. So, during Darden’s last earnings call, the company vowed to continue to revamp is three largest brands, including Olive Garden.
Next up for change: The chain's uniforms.
Olive Garden announced this week that it was “cutting ties” from its uniforms—literally. The new uniforms are all black and consist of black button-down shirts, black pants (or skirts) and black aprons. The new standard will apply to all 50,000 Olive Garden hosts and servers, the Orlando-based company said in a statement.
It’s intended to resonate with guests as a fresh, new look the 800-location Olive Garden brand. The new outfit replaces what Olive Garden employees have worn for 30 years: a white, button-down shirt, black pants, and colorful ties.
"Guests have told us the all-black look is more current and casually sophisticated,” said Dan Kiernan, the company’s executive vice president of operations. “Our service team members are excited about this change as well, which we think will help them deliver an even better dining experience for our guests."
Besides, from a service employee’s perspective, it’s just got to be more comfortable to go to work without a tie on.