Olive Garden, the recently floundering casual dining chain owned by Darden Restaurants DRI 0.01% , is getting its groove back and aims to continue that momentum by building up its take-out business.
The Italian restaurant chain, which made headlines throughout 2014 as activist Wall Street investors looked to sack its previous board of directors while providing tips on how to cook pasta, has reported 10 straight months of same-restaurant sales growth. One of the key ingredients of its recent success? Take-out, enabled by a long overdue investment in tech.
Darden, which also owns Long Horn, Capital Grille, and other chains, said on Tuesday that take-out sales rose 23% in the most recent quarter, and now generate one in 10 dollars for the company. CEO Eugene Lee thinks that the to-go business can eventually grow to 20% of sales at Olive Garden. What’s more, Lee said Olive Garden is gearing up to offer delivery, particularly for large parties.