Hedge Fund Be Damned, Olive Garden Will Never Stop Innovating (Re: Breadsticks)

The restaurant chain has raised a middle finger-shaped breadstick at Starboard Value.
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As those of you who keep up with carbohydrate-related feuds between activist hedge funds and chain restaurants may recall, back in September 2014, Starboard Value released a 294 page presentation detailing the many ways Olive Garden wasted food, money, and customers' time. One of them was the fakakta breadstick policy, wherein diners were pelted with breadsticks upon arrival. Instead of an average of 3 per person, Starboard urged the chain to implement a strict rule of 1 each, unless more were requested, and estimated a cost savings of $4-5 million, in addition to an improved customer experience of not having breadsticks shoved down one's throat.

And while the hedge fund was ultimately successful in its overall quest, replacing the entire board of the OG's parent company, Darden Restaurants, when it came to the 'sticks, the response was swift: go f*ck yourselves. Not only would the place where everyone is family continue to make it rain breadsticks, it would redouble its efforts at the Olive Garden Breadsticks Lab, where teams of people work around the clock to create new and exciting breadstick offerings.

From the AP:

Olive Garden isn't finished dreaming up new ways to use its breadsticks. The Italian restaurant chain said earlier this month it would introduce "breadstick sandwiches" as part of a broader menu revamp intended to play up its most popular offerings. The sandwiches don't arrive until June 1, but Olive Garden already has a follow-up act planned with "breadstick crostini" in August. The "breadstick crostini" — or toasted bread — will be sliced and used as part of an appetizer, said Jose Duenas, Olive Garden's executive vice president of marketing.

Could a pasta dish made entirely out of breadsticks, that you eat with a breadstick shaped like a fork, be far behind? Clearly the answer is no.

Olive Garden: At least 1 more breadstick creation on the way [AP]

Earlier: Hedge Fund To Olive Garden: You Wanna Make Some Real Money? Cut The Breadstick Bull Sh*t

Related

Here’s One Way The Olive Garden Saved Money

It has nothing to do with breadsticks (but it does have to do with slaves).

Going All Gestapo On The Breadsticks, Forcing Darden Board Members To Work The Dinner Rush At Olive Garden PAID OFF

To say nothing of the fact that said suits can now add "knows his bucatini from his cavatelli" to their résumés.

Zen Gardens That Never Were: Vikram Pandit Doesn't Have To Put Up With This Shit Anymore

As you may have heard, earlier today, Citigroup announced that CEO Vikram Pandit would be resigning from his post at the bank, effective immediately, along with several longtime lieutenants. While the news came as a shock to Wall Street, it was assumed that on the inside, employees had been given some advanced warning and time to get used to the idea of life without Uncle Vik. That he hadn't just left in the middle of the night. That those hugs on the elevator Monday hadn't been their last. That he'd stashed something away for them to remember him by. A good-bye note. A glossy 8X10 photo to keep on their desks. SOMETHING. Apparently though, not so much. The news of Mr. Pandit's departure after five years atop the company came as a shock to Citigroup employees, including senior executives. In the firm's London office, some executives emerged from a meeting and read the news on their computers and Bloomberg terminals, well before the bank's internal memo was released. Soon a dozen employees were crowded in front of television monitors, following the story on financial business shows. Others were seen around a water cooler on the trading floor, discussing the news. Still others retreated to their desks to parse Citigroup's recent earnings release, looking for hints of internal conflict. "There's shock," said a Citigroup executive based in New York. "Even senior people were surprised." And while early reports suggested that Count Vikula had simply decided that Citigroup had come so far since he'd taken the gig five years ago that his work was done, and that while it was time to move onto the next stage of his life, he'd cherish the memories and the people he met at Citi, it now sounds like the split was a bit more acrimonious than that. Pandit abruptly stepped down following a clash with the New York company's board over strategy and operating performance at businesses including its institutional clients group, according to people with knowledge of the bank. At this time, some questions that need answering: * Does today's news change Meredith Whitney's opinion of the Big C, which, as of last April was that the thought of it still sickened her? * Where is the comment from Prince Alwaleed, AKA Citi's largest individual shareholder and Vikram's number one fan? * Is Sheila Bair happy? * Will Citi's food services employees treat new CEO Mike Corbat in the manner he's grown accustomed? The ladies who serve and prepare the food at Currier House all have crushes on senior Mike Corbat. The woman who checks off the names--the one sitting at the desk--smiles and winks at him. Then the greyish, plump one who serves the french onion dip giggles, when Corbat quips something that's not-so-funny. And during lunch, a man who also works in the dining room--he's the aged guy, with a slightly arched back who stands around in his red coat--comes over to Corbat and gives him some present all wrapped up in tinfoil. The guy in the red coat paternally pats him on the shoulder and walks away. "I just give them tickets to some of the games," he explains. You see, Mike Corbat is a 6-ft, 3-m, 230 pound dear. Whatever the case. Corbat--an all-Ivy offensive guard on the Harvard football team--may be a dear to the people who work in the dining hall, but he certainly isn't dear to his opponents. People who are dears on the field don't get contacted by at least a half-dozen teams informing him of the possibilities of his playing in the National Football League. * Could all of this have been different if those cheap fucks has just given him his Zen Garden? Citigroup CEO Vikram Pandit Resigns [WSJ] Mike Corbat: All-Ivy And A Perfect Team Player [Crimson via Counterparties] Earlier: Vikram Pandit: HAPPY.AS.A.CLAM Related: "...certain design elements have been nixed since the initial planning phase, including a Zen garden."