Olive Garden: Cheap eats aren’t always enough


Olive Garden has conceded it needs to make changes to address lackluster sales figures for five quarters in a row.

Although the chain offers “affordable Italian food,” which should be a plus in this economy, it has been suffering from competition from fast-casual chains like Panera Bread and Chipotle Mexican Grill, Motley Fool reports.

One person says Olive Garden plays Dean Martin music and expects that to provide an Italian atmosphere, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Company officials have acknowledged the need to make changes, and plan to introduce healthier, low-cost meals, Yahoo Finance reports. Other changes will include remodeled restaurants and a new ad campaign.

I agree with what one person posted in comment boards on Yahoo Finance: Olive Garden needs to focus on the food. Americans are demanding more healthy, fresh food, not frozen. If you have good food at a reasonable price, you have most of the components in place (along with good marketing to tout these changes). I recently dined at Carrabba’s with my wife, and the food was delicious, and the atmosphere was pleasant.

Oh, and I would ditch Dean Martin for authentic Italian music. Sorry Dean, but the Rat Pack needs a vacation.

Advertisements

Getting paid to drink coffee


I got paid today at a local coffee house for the second time this week.

I found a handful of change in the drive-through at the coffee house while walking to the front entrance: 42 cents in dimes and pennies.

I found 17 cents the other day.

On top of this great find, I’m getting free coffee this month from the coffee chain because I bought into a promotion–buy a particular travel mug, get free coffee in January. That’s what brought me to that coffee house this afternoon. That was a sweet deal!

You may say that 59 cents is just change. Yes, it is. But it adds up over time. I don’t recall ever finding this much change at once, but I always pick up pennies or other change whenever I see them (unless it means risking my life in traffic). I’ve only been fortunate to find dollar bills a few times. My Dad used to find $20 bills, and once, a $100 bill, but that’s been years ago.

My point is this: Paying attention can pay off, literally, whether it’s picking up change from the ground, or paying attention to the details at work. One of my former newspaper employers had a saying: Details make the difference.Your customers expect — and deserve — for you to pay attention to the details. If you take care of the details, you will have happy customers.

My Dad draws industrial blueprints, and companies from around the world demand that he handle their multimillion-dollar projects because he pays attention to the details; the customers know their orders will be taken care of when my Dad handles their project.

And if you don’t want to bother picking up change from the ground, that’s fine by me–it’s your loss and my gain!

Four key senators abandon online piracy bills amid web protests – The Hill’s Hillicon Valley


Four key senators abandon online piracy bills amid web protests – The Hill’s Hillicon Valley.

 

This is good news for the First Amendment, but it’ll be interesting to see what happens in 2013 once the elections are over.

Stop #SOPA and #PIPA


Two bills before Congress, the Protect IP Act (PIPA) in the Senate and the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the House, would censor the Web and trample the First Amendment. These bills would impose harmful regulations on American business and would block legitimate uses of the Internet. It’s yet again another power grab by the government against individual liberty.

The Senate will begin voting on January 24th.

Wikipedia has removed its content for a 24-hour period today in protest of censorship. If you try to conduct a search on the site, you’re taken to a page where you can search for your Congress representative by ZIP code.

A number of websites have either blacked themselves out today or have posted other commentary concerning SOPA and PIPA. A number of sites provide petitions to urge Congress members to vote down these bills, including:

Here’s a good story about the issue by the New York Times.

The Whopper on wheels


USA Today reports Burger King is doing a test drive of home delivery.

That’s right, the Whopper has its own set of wheels.

But what about cold fries, you ask?

The burger restaurateur has invented a proprietary thermal packaging unit, USA Today reports, to ensure the order stays hot.

If you live in the boonies (as my papaw used to say) and love the Whopper but hate driving to town, don’t start counting your fries before they’re out of the deep-fryer. This is only a test, and Burger King may decide the concept does not work. The test is being conducted in a limited area. And deliveries are limited to within a 10-minute drive from a restaurant.

But hopefully, this test drive will translate into a success. This is a smart business move by Burger King to capture more business from a culture that loves convenience and home delivery of everything from pizzas to videos.

New blog focuses on heart healthy meals


Jason’s Marketing Primer now has a sister blog: Heart Healthy Meals.

While Jason’s Marketing Primer is dedicated to marketing, leadership and other business news, Heart Healthy Meals is my effort to write about a whole new topic. The new blog is dedicated to providing readers with recipes that are low in sodium and low in saturated fat, as well as tips for living healthy. The first two blog entries are for a turkey meatloaf recipe and a how-to on reading nutrition labels for sodium content.

If you’re at all interested in eating healthy food, check out Heart Healthy Meals today.

Customer DISsatisfaction — when surveys create disgruntled clients


Recently I wrote a blog about people taking time off from all things digital (Facebook, mobile phones, etc. Read the blog here).

I have also been reading about people complaining about customer satisfaction surveys. Common complaints include the surveys taking too long to complete, asking generic questions, and phrasing questions to lead the participant into saying positive things about the company. I read an interesting blog here about internal surveys that are impersonal, and the writer says, impersonal.

I believe there is another problem with surveys — there are too many of them.

I began thinking about the glut of surveys when I received an email request to fill out a survey for a writing group meeting I attended. I already was getting bombarded with emails regarding meeting dates for other area writing groups, and I got upset to receive yet another email, this one asking me to rate my experience from the meeting. Writing groups are voluntary events. You go if you want to go, and you don’t go if you do not want to go. If you’re going to ask someone to rate a writing group experience, what’s next, creating a survey for a Little League game?

Thinking of the absurdity of being asked to comment on this experience led me to remember another absurd survey experience. About a month ago I received a phone call from a company doing a survey on behalf of a hospital where I was treated for a medical emergency. The caller said the survey would take five minutes; I agreed to take the survey because I was very satisfied with my hospital stay. While I did not time the length of the call, the survey dragged on and on to the point where I was tempted to just end the call (I believe it took longer than the promised time). Many of the questions were repetitive, and some were worded to lead the respondent into saying what a great place the hospital was (can you say cheesy PR campaign?).

%d bloggers like this: