Olive Garden, Darden's Slightly Sagging Star, Needs a Renaissance

As Darden Restaurants remains on track to spin off its struggling seafood chain, Red Lobster, most of the company’s hopes will soon lie within Olive Garden. Yet the casual Italian chain—which now represents nearly 40 percent of Darden’s 2,100 restaurants—has struggled, too. Same-store sales dropped 1.2 percent in fiscal 2012, followed by a further 1.5 percent drop last year. To reverse the trend, Darden has plotted a “brand renaissance” that will include a new logo and menu, with a focus on “today’s Italy.”

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