Olive Garden’s sales are down, and an activist investor in the restaurant believes the pasta is partly to blame.
The Italian restaurant chain supposedly breaks a basic rule of Italian cooking — salting the pasta water.
“Shockingly, Olive Garden no longer salts the water it uses to boil the pasta, merely to get a longer warranty on its pots,” Starboard writes in its 300-slide presentation. “This appalling decision shows just how little regard management has for delivering a quality experience to guests.”
We reached out to Olive Garden for comment, but haven’t heard back. The company’s website confirms that the pasta contains a negligible amount of sodium until you add sauce or meat.
This Starboard slide points out that “the first step of Pasta 101 is to salt the water.”
Competitors like Carrabbas add salt to the water, with better-tasting results, Starboard claims.
According to Smithsonian Magazine, adding salt to the water gives the pasta a better flavour.
“Do as Mario Batali does and salt the water until it ‘tastes like the sea,'” the magazine instructs.
Starboard believes that Olive Garden should focus on offering authentic Italian cuisine.
The brand’s new menu items this year have included Spanish tapas and a burger.
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