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TMCNet:  Olive Garden servers get dressed-in-black look

[February 11, 2013]

Olive Garden servers get dressed-in-black look

Feb 11, 2013 (Orlando Sentinel - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- Olive Garden's employees have a new look.

Starting Monday, the chain's 50,000 servers and hosts began wearing an all-black ensemble, replacing a 30-year-old uniform of button-down white shirts and colorful ties with black pants.

The switch is one of several that Olive Garden is making as it tries to reverse slipping sales at the chain owned by Orlando-based Darden Restaurants.

"We were looking for a dramatic change," spokeswoman Tara Gray said. "You can't get much more dramatic than from white to black. It's a much more contemporary look." A solid black outfit also was recently adopted at Darden's Bahama Breeze chain, where servers had previously worn floral-print shirts. Servers at Darden's Seasons 52 chain wear all black as well.

Olive Garden servers now wear button-down shirts, pants and an apron. Hostesses will have more flexibility because they can choose to wear sweater sets or dresses.

Olive Garden does not provide attire for the employees.

Other changes Olive Garden has made recently include a new advertising campaign that launched in October. It is also remodeling older restaurants.

The chain also now groups several entrees with fewer than 575 calories into a special "lighter fare" section. The lighter-fare menu includes one new dish, lasagna primavera with grilled chicken, and capellini pomodoro made with a new recipe that gets it under 575 calories.

But chain has also added some heavier dishes, including new calzones and a shrimp scampi fritta sandwich.

The mustard-colored menus with Tuscan scenes have been replaced by a more modern menu design.

spedicini@tribune.com or 407-420-5240 ___ (c)2013 The Orlando Sentinel (Orlando, Fla.) Visit The Orlando Sentinel (Orlando, Fla.) at www.OrlandoSentinel.com Distributed by MCT Information Services

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