HOME > Chowhound > Chains >


This is like Voltron ... Red Lobster and Olive Garden join forces!

From the Orlando Sentinal: "Darden Restaurants tests combo Olive Garden/Red Lobster for smaller markets"

The title sort of says it all, but if you must, you can read the full article here: http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/2...

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Ummm... AWESOME header. Sorry, not too chowish response but I guess if I have to eat mall food these are the 2 I'd pick.

    1. Something to be excited about if you're an Olive Garden and Red Lobster fan....Jim Cramer of Mad Money should be ecstatic.

      4 Replies
      1. re: monku

        I suppose it's one way to minimize real estate prices ...

        1. re: ipsedixit

          ....and minimize fixed and variable costs...using the same microwave to cook for both kitchens.

          1. re: monku

            Takes the whole notion of "cross-contamination" to new, unexpected levels ...

        2. They are both owned by Darden and seem to attract the same people so I can see why it would makes sense.

          3 Replies
          1. re: redfish62

            Maybe they got the idea from the fast food industry, some fast food places operate two different companies under the same roof.
            I know at some hotels I've been to will have two different restaurants that share the same kitchen.

            1. re: monku

              I've seen lots of Togos and Baskin Robbins combos.

              1. re: ipsedixit

                Definitely not the whole is equal to the sum of it's parts.
                I can't be too critical of B&R, that was my first job in 7th grade. I went through the whole menu and all the 31+ flavors there several times.(another thread)

          2. more like marvel team up or two in one......

            voltron was five lion robots that joined into one big one....

            if u want to keep with comic/cartoon theme...


            1 Reply
            1. re: srsone

              If you've already got menu creep with two of the Darden brands, then no reason not to start adding in items from other Darden entities like Longhorn Steakhouse and Bahama Breeze, bringing it up to four parts of the lion. Because the world is, like, just crying out for a high concept 'Italian'/Caribbean fusion menu.

              "Would you like a side order of crab bisque with your mango lobster caccitore pasta tonight? Or we can add bleu cheese crumbles to the dish for another $2.99. "

            2. Lobster Garden or Red Olive?

              1 Reply
              1. re: K K

                There is a small chain around Detroit called Red Olive, so I guess it will have to be Lobster Garden :)

                I like it! "Lobster Garden" conjures up some interesting images

              2. Wonder when they will add bits of their "Capital Gill" to the bunch! I think it is such a joke to pay the steep prices at Capital Grill when it is owned and managed by the same forces! Maybe they can add a bit of the Lobster to the Grill menu then.

                1. Last time I went to Red Lobster. they didn't have any lobsters in the tank. Kinda like Mickey D's running out of burgers., just more expensive burgers.
                  All I want is a steamed Maine lobster..no pasta-y concoction.
                  I felt like John Candy in "Summer Rental".
                  The management in the past has been somewhat shocked when I chose to do my own shelling of the lobster. To me that is part of the experience. I don't want to be presented with a plate of lobster meat, cracked by some cook.

                  1. "Hey honey, I'm in the mood for Seafood Fettucini Alfredo with all the Cheddar Bay Breadsticks we can eat! Let's go to Lobster Garden!"

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: ttoommyy

                      The last tiime I was in Red Lobster, there were about 12 things on the menu, and they had changed the decor to Early Coffee Shop/ Bowling Alley Modern.

                      At least as Olive Garden, their soup, salad and breadsticks is a great lunch! Love their crips greens, and their salad dressing.

                      1. re: The 1st and only KSyrahSyrah

                        I don't care for either, but would prefer OG as opposed to RL. Last time I went to RL, portions were tiny and $$. My fish was nearly paper thin. At least with OG, I enjoy the soup, salad and breadsticks.

                    2. It is funny. It's no different than Taco Bell/KFC combined, right? ;-)

                      But if you read it it does say what I expected: separate entrances, separate menus, shared kitchen. Although you gotta figure it's going to lead to something like "Psst, can you get me some cheddar biscuits?" when people are in the Olive Garden side. ;-)

                      It's a logical extension of what they already do often times, which is plunk down all their brands next to each other. There's a place in this area where they built Olive Garden, Red Lobster, Smokey Bones (they sold this chain off right? they were going to) and Bahama Breeze all next to each other. Longhorn, which they subsequently bought, is right across the street, though I'm not sure if it was built before or after the purchase. Not surprising they would test conjoined restaurants with single kitchen. I don't know that they will have success pretending they're separate restaurants though.

                      Lobster Garden!

                      Have they wrecked Capital Grille then? I really don't know. One would like to believe they would be smart enough to leave well enough alone there, but it's not clear that they are in fact smart enough. ;-)

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: CrazyOne

                        I'd like to be under the sea
                        In a Lo-o-obster's Garden in the shade

                        Oh what there'd be
                        On the menu to see
                        Biscuits and pasta all pre-made

                        Apologies to Ringo and the boys

                      2. We have a similiar situation here in Houston/Galveston. It is called the Kemah Boardwalk on Galveston Bay where local restauranteur/parriah Tillman Fertitta bought the once charming boardwalk and installed a who's who of crappy Landry's restaurants, not connected, but freestanding and none of them worth eating in. If you are coming to Houston, avoid this place, there are too many good places here to waste your time on chain central.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: James Cristinian

                          In this area of NJ, we have Bonefish Grill and Carabbas sharing a kitchen with totally different menus. It seems to work. I've been to both and don't see an overlay of menu items. I believe the desserts were overlapping, but that's fine with me.

                        2. We have A & W root beer sharing with Long John Silver's. Weird to come out after eating a burger and smelling like fryer grease the rest of the day

                          1. I want this to go full voltron. Let's replace all OG/RL/HouliTGIAppleTuesdaygans with a combo joint that serves the best of all joints!