The Olive Backyard is without doubt one of the most well-established informal eating eating places in America, with about 880 places.
Based in late 1982, this yr marks the fortieth that the corporate has been welcoming diners to sit down down and revel in plentiful servings of pasta, salad, and, in fact, the famed breadsticks.
However the chain has its share of detractors, as evidenced by even the quickest look at feedback on any mainstream social media platform. For instance, one latest Tweet from a consumer named Lil Kimchi learn: “Nearly every part at Olive Backyard will get microwaved.” One other, from a consumer referred to as Sandy Joe Karpetz learn: “It pains me that my very Final Meal in a restaurant earlier than the pandemic was at an Olive Backyard.”
Then again, loads of folks love the place. Sufficient that the chain generated $3.59 billion in 2021 regardless of occasional closures pressured by COVID-19, although the gross sales had been nonetheless under the $4.01 billion in 2020 and $4.29 billion from 2019, in response to Statista.
Whether or not you like or hate it, there are some things the restaurant would fairly you did not know.
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Olive Backyard’s President and COO Rick Cardenas lately hinted at the truth that the chain could by no means deliver again its By no means-Ending Pasta Bowl, which netted a diner as a lot pasta as she or he might eat for simply $10.99. The promotional deal had been provided time and time once more, however its now two-year hiatus and Olive Backyard’s continued development throughout that interval appears to have given the chain the affirmation that bottomless pasta could be retired with out main backlash.
“We all know [Never-Ending Pasta Bowl] was a detrimental impression over time . . . And so we determined to cut back [our] dependency on [it] this yr,” mentioned Rick Cardenas, president and COO of Darden Eating places, Olive Backyard’s father or mother firm. “As we glance ahead, we do not know if we’ll deliver and after we’ll deliver By no means-Ending Pasta Bowl again.”
The Olive Backyard likes to tout the truth that it has a cooking faculty in Tuscany, Italy. Nevertheless it does not–not an actual cooking faculty corresponding to, say, the Culinary Institute of America or Le Cordon Bleu. Based on Eater, what truly occurs is that the corporate rents out a Tuscan lodge and restaurant for a time frame throughout its low season and sends a handful of managers there to eat some Italian meals and have a little bit of interplay with native cooks.
Although a perennially well-liked Olive Backyard menu merchandise, the chain’s Hen and Gnocchi soup is one to skip when you worth your well being. It is filled with 1,290 milligrams of sodium, which is properly over half the doctor-recommended most for a complete day. And it is also fairly excessive in saturated fats.
Sure, the breadsticks on the Olive Backyard are endless, however you may need to be fairly affected person if you wish to refill on them. Based on Reader’s Digest, waiters are obliged to deliver only one breadstick per diner per basket delivered, with the one exception being one further breadstick within the first basket.
Within the eyes of most cooks, making ready pasta in salted boiling water is solely the way in which to do it, there isn’t any query within the matter. However in response to Enterprise Insider, Olive Backyard staff are expressly prohibited from salting the water as a result of it causes put on and tear on the pots, breaking them down too rapidly and impacting the underside line.
A former Olive Backyard worker opened up about a few of the chain’s kitchen practices in a Quora Q&A discussion board and revealed that the pasta is rarely cooked contemporary. In reality, the cooks boil enormous parts of pasta to an al dente end each morning, then toss it into ice water baths. When a buyer orders a dish, they place sufficient for the serving again into boiling water to quickly end the cooking.
Final yr, a former worker of the chain revealed a number of behind-the-scenes secrets and techniques about Olive Backyard on Tiktok. One of many issues she talked about is that Olive Backyard makes use of microwaves to warmth up pre-made gadgets. “Sure, they do use a microwave,” the previous server is alleged to have alleged about Olive Backyard. “Your potatoes, your veggies, sure sauces, and a few of your meats are simply microwaved and put in your plate.”
The identical worker mentioned the chain’s rooster is lower than top-notch. “All throughout the board, they modified their rooster about six years in the past from good rooster to rooster that is not so nice,” Newsweek reported the previous worker saying. “It isn’t one hundred pc rooster, and the rooster that comes on the endless pasta bowl is definitely canned rooster. Or, canned thriller rooster.”
Nonetheless, Olive Backyard advised Eat This, Not That! the claims about canned rooster aren’t true and that completely not one of the rooster served on the restaurant comes from a can.
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