olive_garden_1

A TALE OF TWO LOGOS

Bruce McArthur Bleidner, Facebook, Fast food, Marketing, Olive Garden, Social Media, Social Networks

Olive Garden recently changed their logo from this:

to this:

But more about logos later.

According to Forbes, Olive Garden’s revenues are plummeting. There are a zillion reasons why – the economy,  people have less time to eat, and so on.

Out of curiosity, we had a look at Olive Garden’s social media. It doesn’t seem to be helping the bottom line. In fact, it may be a major contributor to plunging revenues. Audience engagement is at less than 1% and that engagement is often negative. Make that vituperative, furious, I-hate-your-guts negative. Here are a few quotations – direct from  Olive Garden’s Facebook page: HATE this place!       $10. For a plate of noodles !!! Lmfao no thanx     the drinking glasses feel dirty        I haven’t spoken to a single person who has had good food at Olive Garden.  And that’s just a small sample. So what’s the problem?

The problem is, Olive garden uses social media to sell entrees and appetizers.  BIG MISTAKE. Social media is NOT a newspaper or a magazine. In a  newspaper, you get interesting content, and ads are mixed in, in hope you will read and respond. For those who still read Sunday newspapers, what do you do with that stack of circulars from discount drug stores and car dealers and sporting goods stores? Unless you’re looking – at THAT moment – for a deal on aspirin or an automobile or a tennis racquet – you never even open them. They are nowhere near the edit, so they end up lining bird cages.

When Olive Garden isn’t hawking breadsticks, they’re trying to soothe angry customers. Another common error – social media is not and should not be deployed as an alternate customer service channel.

So what good is social media to the Olive Garden? The way they currently use it,  none whatsoever. Professionally managed, it could help fix a lot of their problems. Maybe more than a logo change.

Back to the logo. The original one, in bas relief on a warm slab of stone looked pretty good. It was substantial, evoking thoughts of grape arbors in the golden Tuscan sun. The new one looks… like 2nd runner up in a grammar school art project.

We don’t mean to offend, we call them as we see them. But we hear the bread sticks are good.

LARRY BLEIDNER