Olive Garden Dishes Up Online Ordering Option

Olive Garden guests will soon be able to order the Tour of Italy and other fancy dishes before they even take a seat at the table, according to a report from the Orlando Sentinel.

Darden Restaurants, the parent company of Olive Garden, has plans to unveil an online-based ordering platform for the Italian restaurant chain. This new technology was tested last year, and Olive Garden is scheduled to have a complete rollout in restaurants nationwide come August.

Olive Garden has 830 units in the United States and six in Canada. Darden did not release any information on which locations will receive it first.

The company also tested its car-side delivery service with the new technology. However, Darden said that it is unlikely that Olive Garden will have that service available in the expanded rollout.

Olive Garden is not the only restaurant that is looking to go for an online option in the near future. Darden has plans to test web-based reservations with Longhorn Steakhouse in June. This will allow guests to check wait times online, as well as put their names down for reservation. Once customers arrive to their location and check in, they’ll be notified via text when a table becomes available.

Darden will also be testing out computer tablets at Longhorn this summer. This allows servers to swipe credit cards at the table. This method is already being used at Chili’s, and diners can use the tablets to place orders; pay bills; or play games.

These upgrades to the technology being used at Darden-owned restaurants, like Olive Garden and Longhorn Steakhouse, were already being planned before the company decided to “spin or sell off” its 706 Red Lobster units, according to a report from Nation’s Restaurant News. Clarence Otis Jr., the chief executive and chairman for Darden, said the company was cutting $50 million in administrative expenses, but no cuts were affected what they had set aside for technology.

Otis said that for Olive Garden and the company’s other restaurants, they feel that their current investments are what need to be examined in order to “stay relevant to our guests as their lifestyles change.”

“We’re continuing to invest in making our technology platform more robust, for example, so we can better engage with our customers from a digital perspective,” he said. “It also sets up, we think, our opportunity to do a much more segmented, targeted, one-on-one marketing with our customers.”

There are currently no updates planned for Red Lobster.

This news comes as Olive Garden recently began offering 3-course dinners for $9.99. A report from The Inquisitr said the offer is only available for a limited time, but no end date was announced.