Darden Restaurants

Topics: Darden Restaurants, Red Lobster, Orlando, Florida Pages: 4 (1320 words) Published: April 16, 2011
1. Based on the articles, “Darden Restaurants” and “Why America is Addicted to Olive Garden,” the Darden Company has a market orientation and adheres to the marketing concept. According to MKTG “market orientation is a philosophy that assumes that a sale does not depend on an aggressive sales force but rather on a customer’s decision to purchase product.” The “marketing concept is the idea that the social and economic justification for an organization’s existence is the satisfaction of customer wants and needs while meeting organizational objective.” Darden Restaurants focus on the customer’s expectations and building long-term relationships. David Pickens, the president of Olive Garden, begins staff meetings with his managers by reading and listening to letters from customers. Pickens is truly interested in the customers experience at Olive Garden. Managers read letters from customers who have had reunions, celebrations, proposals, or just dinner with a friend; these letters are shared with staff members as well. Pickens goal is for Olive Garden’s customers to be satisfied with their meal and be emotionally satisfied when leaving the restaurant. Employees are treated like family and are trained to treat customers as if they were family. Darden turned to research in the 1990’s when Olive Garden’s menu had become “stale and sales were in decline.” The outcome of the research revealed customers want to enjoy a good meal and feel emotionally satisfied. Executives implemented the slogan, “When you’re here, you’re family.” A joint venture was pursued with Italians, Olive Garden’s Culinary Institute of Tuscany (CIT). Fourteen employees were sent to Italy to spend a week with “Sergio and Daniela Zingarelli, a husband and wife who operate a restaurant, winery, and inn.” The employees are exposed to the Italian experts to learn their process for creating an Italian feast. Some of the chefs work in local restaurants. Thus, the employees return to...
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