ORLANDO, Fla., March 30, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, Olive Garden announced that more than half of its 700 plus restaurants across the United States will undergo either an interior or exterior design refresh inspired by the timeless warmth of farmhouses in Tuscany, Italy.
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Within the newly remodeled interior restaurants, guests will find updated decor including new tables, chairs and booths inspired by the warm, rustic tones and design elements of a farmhouse in Tuscany. Other updates include new window treatments and refreshed decor in the dining room and bar area to reflect true, Tuscan-inspired spaces. Outside updates include new front doors surrounded by attractive Tuscan stones and a brick arch, freshly-painted exterior walls and newly-planted Cypress trees to refresh the landscaping.
"We believe the Farmhouse design reinforces our vision by creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere that enhances the genuine Italian experience at Olive Garden," said Dan Kiernan, executive vice president of operations for Olive Garden. "Within the next few years guests will enjoy the same Tuscan-inspired look and feel inside every one of our family of local restaurants across North America."
Olive Garden prides itself on its connection to Italy and strengthening its Italian culinary heritage and credentials. Italy inspires everything Olive Garden does.
For more than a decade, Olive Garden chefs, general managers and restaurant team members have been traveling to Olive Garden's Culinary Institute of Tuscany to learn Italian cooking techniques and to draw inspiration for menu items, promotional entrees and restaurant decor. It is at the Culinary Institute of Tuscany where members of the Olive Garden family learn the secrets of great Italian foods from Italian Master Chefs. Secrets include how to choose the freshest ingredients to create Italian-inspired entrees, how to layer flavors to produce the perfect Italian aroma and taste and how to pair Italian wines with specific Italian dishes and sauces to enhance the dining experience.
"Each year, our Olive Garden development chefs travel throughout Italy to gain inspiration from the latest Italian culinary trends and traditions so they can bring the taste of Italy home to our guests," said Terry Stanley, executive vice president of marketing for Olive Garden. "The Tuscan Farmhouse remodel is an essential element in enhancing the genuine Italian dining experience at Olive Garden."
In addition, as part of a partnership between Darden Restaurants and Habitat for Humanity International, Olive Garden has donated furnishings from its remodeled restaurants to Habitat for Humanity ReStore resale outlets, which sell items to the general public and raise funds for constructing homes in their communities.
"Olive Garden is committed to giving back to the communities where we live and work, and we're proud to partner with Habitat for Humanity and its affiliates' ReStore resale outlets to help continue their efforts of providing homes for those in need," said Kiernan.
This restaurant design refresh also demonstrates Olive Garden's dedication to supporting local communities. In celebration of the newly renovated restaurants, select restaurants nationwide will host complimentary wine tasting events that are open to the public. Led by Olive Garden wine specialists, these interactive events will further educate guests on Italian wines including their origin, body style, aroma, flavor/finish and food pairings. For update information and wine tasting event dates, guests can visit www.Facebook.com/OliveGarden or www.OliveGarden.com/remodel.
About Olive Garden:
Olive Garden is the leading restaurant in the Italian dining segment with more than 700 restaurants, more than 86,000 employees and $3 billion in annual sales. Olive Garden is a part of the Darden family of restaurants (NYSE: DRI), the world's largest company-owned and operated full-service restaurant company. For more information, visit Olive Garden's Web site at www.olivegarden.com.
To learn more about Habitat ReStore resale outlets visit www.habitat.org/restores
SOURCE Olive Garden