Now Starring … Food


I got to thinking more about Olive Garden’s big plans for Fiscal Year 2015, for which I fully expect to be thanked by the powers at Olive Garden Master Command. Like their PowerPoint slide says, they’re figuring on getting “new plateware that lets the food be the star”. The picture makes it look like the food being the star means the food has to be much closer to the eye. That’s easy enough to attain in photographing, given how starved so many cameras are for fast casual food, but how do you get the same effect in restaurants?

The new plate ware will feature being much closer to the food so it looks bigger.

The obvious way is to keep the patrons’ heads closer to the plates. The simplest way to do that, like I realized, is to take on staff who’ll keep going around and pushing heads closer to the plates. But I’ve realized this can’t work, because incidents will arise when the patrons remember they have access to knives and forks, unless Olive Garden decides to do without cutlery altogether. Perhaps they have, since their PowerPoint slide distinctly spoke about getting new plateware and many people, if you call them and ask if they think forks are plates, will answer, “What? Who are you? How did you get this number?”

Anyway, if Olive Garden is taking this course then I think it’s safe to rule out that they’re going to chopstick-based services because those still allow for a lot of poking. It implies by the end of Fiscal Year 2015 Olive Garden patrons are just going to be tearing their Chicken Somethingorother apart with their hands and chewing it down while hoping the waiter won’t rap them on the back of their necks for sitting too straight.

But that’s madness, because if Olive Garden were to hire a bunch of people to push patrons’ head closer to the plates then they’d have to start paying the employees, and there’s no place in modern business for hiring people that you have to keep paying. The solution has to be technology, because investors are always excited in buying devices and gadgets and other kinds of infrastructure, because those wear out and they can buy new ones later on.

The cheapest thing to do is to have Olive Garden go around and replace all their tables with ones that are taller. Maybe one foot taller, maybe two; it’s going to take maybe the rest of Fiscal Year 2014 to figure out how tall their tables and their customers are, and maybe a couple weeks to go back and double-check when they realize they forgot to write down which measurement was which. This is a promising approach because you just know there are going to be customers who won’t get into the spirit of the thing, and they’ll try bringing yellow pages to serve as a booster seat.

This would be profitable for the yellow pages industry, which right now has to go around stuffing phone books into the dusty spaces underneath the furniture you never move until you’re getting ready to sell the house. But the Strategic Action Plan doesn’t say a word about Olive Garden getting into the yellow page industry, so I have to conclude they either aren’t going the higher-table route or they’re hoping to get into the yellow pages market before anyone else catches on. So I guess I just spoiled it.

Affixing to each plate one of those book-magnifying type plates, I mean the kind you see through instead of eating on, seems like a good way to make the food bigger. But that’s got the objection that they’ll just encourage people to practice their sneezing. Also there’s a chance kids might eat there and there’s the obvious issues of sibling cudgeling.

So I conclude that this is going to require getting new chairs, ones with backs that arch steeply forward. By this simple act of encouraging people to lean forward faces will be that much closer to the plates, and the food will look that much bigger, and the only operating cost is in developing new ways to stack chairs. This will also solve the problem of people swinging their chairs around backwards to sit, which is a major problem, according to people called at random who thought they were finally going to get to use their answers to that plateware question.

Author: Joseph Nebus

I was born 198 years to the day after Johnny Appleseed. The differences between us do not end there. He/him.

4 thoughts on “Now Starring … Food”

  1. Quite frankly, I immediately became concerned when you suggested making the tables taller, then even taller. All I could think about was the higher chairs that would be needed–especially when you’re 5′ tall like myself. And then of course the step stools needed for people like myself to get up in tall chairs. Really though, since they seemed to have changed their marinara sauce, I haven’t wanted to eat at Olive Garden.

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    1. Oh, now, I didn’t even consider the step-stool industry, or what it might do if it got into some kind of business-type synergy with Olive Garden.

      But now I know the ultimate step for this, though. If the tables and chairs were so tall that people’s heads were brushing against the ceiling, they’d have to lean over and get very close to the food without any particular further work needed. That’s got to be where it’s heading.

      I don’t know when I’ve ever actually eaten at Olive Garden. I don’t have anything against it, since I’m never really exactly sure what marinara sauce is, but I just keep going other places instead.

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  2. Oh my gosh– Only people who have math-minds would come up with a solution like getting people’s heads right up to the ceiling. And then getting the faces right into the platewear–which was the plan all along–won’t be obvious at all.

    Don’t feel bad about being marinara-sauce-challenged. It’s overrated. Really just a calorie free dipping sauce to dip high-calorie bread sticks in. And I only go to Olive Garden if I have a two-for-one coupon which is like, NEVER.

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    1. I think we’re definitely on to something here, now. I guess the follow-up question is how to make a marinara sauce that’s more clearly the dynamic centerpiece or however they say this sort of thing in Strategic Action Plans. They must have some term of art and/or snacking for it.

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