ORLANDO, Fla., Feb. 12, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Today Olive Garden announced the next phase of its ongoing transformation by "cutting ties" with the restaurant's familiar team member uniforms and debuting contemporary, all-black dress standards for its more than 50,000 hosts and servers across the country. The new look replaces the white button-down shirts and colorful ties, which Olive Garden service teams have worn for the past 30 years, and is part of the brand's efforts to deliver an enhanced in-restaurant dining experience for its guests.
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Beginning this week, Olive Garden servers will wear all-black button-down shirts, black pants and a black apron. Hosts will have more flexibility in the all-black clothing they can wear, including button-down shirts, sweater sets, dresses and pants options. Olive Garden moved forward with the new dress standards after receiving overwhelmingly positive feedback from both team members and guests about the new look.
"To maintain our leadership position, we need to evolve how our guests experience our brand in-restaurant and that includes our team member dress standards," said Dan Kiernan, Olive Garden's executive vice president of operations. "Guests have told us the all-black look is more current and casually sophisticated. Our service team members are excited about this change as well, which we think will help them deliver an even better dining experience for our guests."In addition to new team member dress standards, Olive Garden recently rolled out a new menu design for both lunch and dinner that better reflects the brand's new positioning. Olive Garden also has expanded the value and variety it offers guests at lunch with a new menu section featuring Calzones and Italian Panini sandwiches, all served with unlimited homemade soup or garden-fresh salad and breadsticks, starting at $6.95. The new offerings include a Four Cheese Calzone, Chicken Alfredo Calzone, Pizzaiola Calzone, Chicken Parmigiana Sandwich and Shrimp Scampi Fritta Sandwich (classic or spicy). The sandwiches are available in whole or half sandwich portions. Last fall, Olive Garden announced the most significant transformation in the restaurant's history that began with an evolved brand positioning, a new advertising campaign, a new Lighter Italian Fare menu section and new Porta Vita signature wines. As part of the transformation, the brand will continue to roll out new menu and service enhancements to provide more variety, choice and value for its guests.