Skip to content

Your Favorite Italian Restaurant Chain is Struggling to Survive

Millions of dollars in profits were lost during the pandemic.

It's safe to assume that restaurants will never be the same after the coronavirus. The CDC guidelines in place to protect people from passing and catching the illness mean masks, sanitizer, and of course, lots of social distancing. This means your favorite restaurants already look different. Plus, the immediate closing of dining rooms hurt a lot of them. One family favorite is still struggling, even with dining rooms opening back up.

Unlimited soup, salad, and breadsticks make this Italian restaurant a super popular place for dining in. But although they were open for take out, Olive Garden profits in the first quarter of 2020 were down significantly.

Related: You'll Never Drink Alcohol at Restaurants the Same Way Again

Darden, the company that owns Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse, and other restaurants, says sales volume fell 39% for the week ending on June 7. Company-wide and Olive Garden profits were also down $480 million during Q1, according to the Wall Street Journal. The company also says it's too early to tell if sales after reopening are higher, but that they have spent $5 million on safety measures for stores and employees.

To make dining safer at the more than 90 locations that are open, barriers will be placed between tables. In the future, the company says they will look at restaurant designs to make sure social distancing isn't an issue.

Be sure to check out the menu at your local Olive Garden before dining (in or out). Darden says they are sticking with a smaller food selection for a little while longer. Gene Lee, the chief executive, told the Wall Street Journal that cutting the menu to streamline operations for staff was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to take a look at what they offer.

Other restaurants are doing the same. You won't find salads on McDonald's menu anytime soon or all-day breakfast, or chicken tenders. Here are 15 other Fast-Food Menu Items You Might Never See Again.

Eat This, Not That! is constantly monitoring the latest food news as it relates to COVID-19 in order to keep you healthy, safe, and informed (and answer your most urgent questions). Here are the precautions you should be taking at the grocery store, the foods you should have on hand, the meal delivery services and restaurant chains offering takeout you need to know about, and ways you can help support those in need. We will continue to update these as new information develops. Click here for all of our COVID-19 coverage, and sign up for our newsletter to stay up-to-date.
Amanda McDonald
Amanda has a master's degree in journalism from Northwestern University and a bachelor's degree in digital journalism from Loyola University Chicago. Read more about Amanda