I was watching CNN the other night and saw a disturbing business report by the former Ms.CNBC Street Sweetie, Erin Burnett. She was wondering why no one was eating at the Olive Garden anymore. It seems they’ve posted sales losses for three months in a row now; the latest, November, a whopping 5.7% loss.
Another case of a restaurant becoming so crowded that nobody goes there anymore?
Restaurant stocks have benefited from solid consumer spending so far this year, and analysts stressed Darden’s woes were company specific, as other consumer discretionary stocks escaped unharmed.
So, since other restaurants are doing OK, what’s different about Darden’s Olive Garden?
For our next clue, we need to reach back into the way-back machine:
Darden Restaurants, the world's largest full-service restaurant company, whose brands include Red Lobster, Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse and Bahama Breeze, today announced the most comprehensive health and wellness commitment in the restaurant industry to date. Darden has committed to reduce its calorie and sodium footprints and to provide greater choice and variety on its children's menus.
At her Pay-to-Play seminar yesterday Lady M deftly demonstrated the “quo” part of quid pro quo. If you think the Darden restaurant chain just came up with the idea on their own to offer their customers something they hadn’t asked for, don’t want and undoubtedly won’t like, in order to “reduce its calorie and sodium footprints” – well, think again.
Darden restaurants, you may recall, received one of those coveted Obamacare waivers from the administration. In return, all they had to do was support Lady M’s Healthy Eating Initiative by providing some healthy low calorie, low sodium menu offerings. Lady M made the official, historic announcement at a local Olive Garden in September.
Let’s see: September, October, November – why, that’s…3 months. The exact same time frame as Olive Garden’s sales slump! Coincidence? I report, you deride.
So what have we learned today, boys and girls?
- Everyone has the right to sell their soul
- The value may not be what you think it is
- Past performance is no guarantee of future results
- All results are final
Or, as analyst Rachel Rothman so succinctly noted:
“When concepts lose their resonance with customers it doesn’t come back quickly,”
Now, onto a more festive topic: there has been a New York Times update on Mikki Taylor’s new blockbuster, Lady M’s Big Book of Stylin’:
Subtitled, “Every woman’s guide to managing her style like a first lady,” the book is not so much a how-to guide as it is an inspirational look book filled with perky little prescriptions that Ms. Taylor calls “Mikki-isms.” A typical pointer: “Your hair should be so fly that it looks as though you have a pro on speed dial.”
Get out! On speed dial? Ours is a live-in.
Butt seriously, what is “fly” as it refers to hair?
Is it like this?
or this, this and this:
Or maybe it’s something simpler - more like these:
Butt after examining all of the available options, I’m pretty sure that what Mikki means by “fly” hair is this:
Oh yeah…definitely super-fly.