Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Failed promotions are not Darden's problem

Darden Restaurants is citing failed promotions and a backlash to their response to the new health care law as a result of a projected decline in revenues for next year.

Darden isn't the first company to make moronic statements regarding the minimal changes they will face due to the health care law, but that's not their problem.

Failed promotions is also another scapegoat for projections for decreased revenues.

Their real problem is cutting corners in ways that are painfully obvious to their customers.

I used to frequent their main restaurants, such as Red Lobster, Olive Garden and Longhorn Steakhouse each a few times per year. Certainly not all of the time, but enough to have a good feel for how things go from a customer's perspective.

The changes were most pronounced at Olive Garden, but still noticeable at the other two restaurants. What was going on? A sharp decline in the quality of the food while also increasing their prices. Reduced skill in the staff. A tiresome atmosphere and less attention paid to cleanliness throughout the establishments.

I'm not a food expert by any means, but if these problems are noticeable to me, I'm sure there are others that notice these things too and have taken their dining dollars elsewhere.

These problems are easy to fix and don't cost much money. Hopefully Darden is smart enough to notice these issues and takes the necessary steps to correct. Otherwise, their decline may continue and keep getting worse.

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