Hungry for pasta?

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The first Olive Garden was opened on December 13, 1982, in Orlando, Florida, as a unit of General Mills Inc. By 1989, the chain had grown to 145 restaurants. They were the fastest-growing units in the General Mills restaurant division and eventually became the largest chain of Italian-themed full-service restaurants in the United States.

Olive Garden’s 853 U.S. Locations

Where it began
Launched in 1995 as a stand-alone company, General Mills restaurant holdings were named Darden Restaurants after Bill Darden, founder of Red Lobster.

Another 200  restaurants, coming up!
In February 2011, at a Darden analyst conference, the parent group announced that it intended to add more than 200 Olive Garden locations in within the next few years and that they would be expanding to the Middle East and Asia. The company also announced it would begin offering franchising partnerships, a new initiative for the chain.

Parent company Darden also announced that it would begin co-locating Olive Garden and Red Lobster restaurants, a brand new format for the chains. With separate entrances, dining areas and menus for each restaurant, the buildings would house one kitchen that would serve both.

Pasta, pasta, pasta
From unlimited salad, soup and breadsticks to the Never Ending Pasta Bowl, a pasta feast for $9.99. During the $9.99 pasta bowl event, the restaurant server over 13 million bowls of past. Along with this $9.99 special came the new Olive Garden slogan: We’re all family here. In 2014, the restaurant continued the promotion, but introduced their Never Ending Pasta Pass, which gave the first 1,000 people to purchase the pass online the opportunity to eat their fill of past during a seven-week period. In 2018, the price of the Never Ending Pasta Pass went up to $10.99, still a great price for a great dinner!

Now, that’s a lotta pasta!

Gloria Sauve
Communications and Marketing


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