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Darden Restaurants, Inc. Message Board

  • nateislate nateislate Aug 12, 2003 9:28 AM Flag

    Final report from OG

    Sunday was my last day working at OG. It was never a "real" job for me anyway, and I have some big things lined up elsewhere for the fall. With 6 months on the inside (OK, 5 months were 1 day/week), I offer some observations.

    1) People seem to like OG. Here's a telling account from Sunday afternoon: Walking out the front door to smoke a cigarette, I followed a married couple and their two 10-ish-year-old daughters. The daughters were carrying balloons from the balloon guy -- a sword and a hat, I think. The parents were carrying styrofoam to-go containers. The family looked happy, and one of the daughters said, "we need to come here more often." Straight out of a commercial, I tell you.

    2) At the restaurant level, employee costs are negligible. The food is pre-packaged and "cooked" (which really means heated up and/or combined in certain pre-determined ratios) by a team of minimum-wage Mexicans. Servers earn $2.14/hour. The only salaries of consequence are managers ($50k + bonus, or so) and bartenders ($10/hour or so).

    3) Red Lobster & Smoky Bones provide good synergy. For instance, the "famous" OG salad comes in a box labeled "pre-packaged salad mix - Olive Garden and Red Lobster." On a recent trip to the suburbs, which I normally avoid at all costs, I drove past a new big box store. On the street front was a new OG, a new SB & a new RL. I'm sure the lease on space for 3 buildings together is less than 3 separate parcels.

    Personally, I hate chain restaurants and I hope I never again eat at OG, SB or RL. But I'm in the minority, and there's a wait to eat at all these places every weekend.

    I'm not sure how this translates to the corporation or the stock, but at the restaurant level this seems like a solid company. Good luck all.

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