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.
Being a Culinary manager for the OG I would have to say that only a few things are pre packaged. Salad, Meatballs,dressings to name a few. All the soups, sauces and saute items are made each day. All produce is brought in fresh and used daily. This person is miss leading you to think all is pre packaged.