An Olive Garden restaurant entrance.
Olive Garden Has Been Committing A Food Crime With Its Pasta
By Chase Shustack
Although Olive Garden borrows heavily from Italian cuisine, one traditional culinary method that the restaurant chain doesn't do is add salt to its pasta water.
Salting pasta water adds flavor to the pasta and removes starch from noodles, keeping them from clumping or sticking together while they boil.
Olive Garden executives have explained that using copious amounts of salt would void the warranty on their pots, so it's cheaper to avoid any unnecessary damage to their cookware.
Olive Garden also argues that, with the number of sauces available for the pasta, customers wouldn't be losing flavor anyway.
Some say that avoiding such a simple rule is incredibly trivial and that Olive Garden should focus on giving guests the best and most authentic experience possible.
In 2014, Starboard Value, a stockholder in Olive Garden's parent company, presented how Olive Garden could improve profit margins, including by salting the pasta water.
Olive Garden claimed that it would keep an open mind towards the suggestions, but it has yet to adopt the practice of salting water.