Olive Garden Project
Marketing Plan: Phase I
During week two, Learning Team B will take a thorough look at the Olive Garden Italian Restaurant chain. Team B has decided that a new appetizer item should be added to the restaurant menu. The appetizer item being considered is cheese filled breadsticks served with Marinara sauce. The team will begin this marketing plan by giving an overview of the Olive Garden Restaurant, along with a detailed description of the new menu item being considered. They will also explain why marketing plays an important role in the restaurants success. A SWOTT analysis will be given to introduce all the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats, and trends that should be considered prior to introducing this new appetizer to their menu. Finally, a marketing research approach will be decided upon and used to develop the marketing strategy and tactics for this new appetizer item.
Olive Garden Restaurant
General Mills originally created the Olive Garden restaurants in 1982. In June of 1995, General Mills moved the Olive Garden division to its newly developed Darden Restaurants, Inc. Olive Garden has quickly become the largest casual dining restaurant company in the world. Olive Garden uses Italy as its basis of inspiration and attempts to focus on hospitality and a pleasing dining experience. In 1999, Darden Restaurants, Inc. established its cooking school in the Tuscany region of Italy known as the Olive Garden’s Culinary Institute of Tuscany. Olive Garden creates all of its principles from two specific ideas: hold us to high standards and treat us with respect (Darden, 2011).
Olive Garden believes there are five essentials to good, hospitable Italian cooking: olive oil, pasta, cheese, bread, and wine (Darden, 2011). With these ingredients in mind, what better product could be made than combining some of these? We propose to combine cheese and bread to create a new appetizer menu item. Olive Garden currently offers breadsticks that can be paired with the restaurant’s dipping sauces. Olive Garden’s current breadsticks will be filled with a choice of the cheeses that Olive Garden currently uses such as: smoked mozzarella, provolone, asiago, gorgonzola, pecorino Romano, grana padano or a combination of these. Once they have been blended with cheese, they may then be served with either marinara or alfredo dipping sauces as an appetizer known as “Cheesy Breadsticks with Dipping Sauces”. Once this new menu item has performed accordingly, it could be transitioned in the future to be filled with other choices such as spinach and cheese, meat and cheese, or even have the sauces cooked in the breadsticks. The possibilities are endless!
Many people travel to Olive Garden because of their love for the breadsticks. Introducing a new type of breadstick to the Olive Garden menu could cause some concern to their customers. It is imperative to market the new stuffed breadstick correctly. If the marketing is done effectively, Olive Garden could profit more money and customers could have more food options at the restaurant.
Olive Garden is, “…focused on delighting every guest with a genuine Italian dining experience.” (Olive Garden, 2011). Since the main goal for Olive Garden is to please every customer, it is important to introduce a new menu item in the right manner. Customers are interested in trying new foods as long as they know it will meet the Olive Garden standards. New foods will bring customers back to the restaurant and give the restaurant more marketing through word of mouth. Effective marketing of the new breadstick will create product awareness. Once customers start becoming aware of the stuffed breadstick, it will become more popular and hopefully land a spot on the permanent Olive Garden menu.
Marketing is important to the new stuffed breadstick, because there are already...
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