Investigator: Olive Garden Using Too Many Breadsticks

NEW YORK – Olive Garden is hurting itself by piling on too many breadsticks, according to an investor that’s disputing how the restaurant chain is run.

In a wide-ranging critique, the hedge fund Starboard Value says restaurants lack training and that servers bring too many breadsticks to tables at a time. That leads to waste – and cold breadsticks, Starboard says.

The document is part of Starboard’s push to take control of the board of Olive Garden’s parent company, Darden Restaurants Inc. Darden has been trying to revitalize Olive Garden, where sales fell 1.3 percent in the latest quarter.

Among Starboard’s other complaints were Olive Garden’s failure to salt the water used to boil its pasta and its liberal use of salad dressing.

Darden says it’s already been executing an improvement plan.