updated - July 8, 2020 Wednesday EDT
"As part of an ongoing brand transformation, Olive Garden is expanding the choice, variety and value we offer on our menu," company spokeswoman Tara Gray told CNBC. "We have a strong lunch business and are known for our popular soup, salad and breadsticks but felt we have an opportunity to enhance the variety of menu items we offer our guests at lunch."
The new item has Italian prosciutto, mozzarella cheese, arugula, tomatoes in basil, garlic and Italian spices, and garlic aioli spread. The creation comes with parmesan garlic fries. Customers can also buy soup, or salad and breadsticks.
"While we found Olive Garden's new Italian burger and Parmesan garlic fries to be very flavorful (though a bit heavy on the garlic), priced locally at $9.99 we're not sure the price-value of the offering will drive much in the way of incremental sales," Bob Derrington, senior restaurant analyst at Wunderlich Securities told CNBC. "With a dramatic increase in fast-casual restaurant brands selling pasta [like Panera Bread and Noodles] in convenient neighborhood locations and at competitive prices, Olive Garden has continued to search for ways to bring in consumers to its Italian-themed restaurants, and its foray into burgers is not likely to be its last attempt to broaden its appeal."
Twitter users took to the social media platform to express their opinion about the new item.
"Olive Garden added a burger to their menu. Random, but I think I might have to try it." Twitter user Adam Spannbauer said in a post on his account.
"Olive Garden now has a burger on its menu...just in case you were wondering if it's an Italian restaurants," user Trey Wafer said in his post.
"Olive Garden selling burgers. That's just blasphemy," user MatthewATMR said.
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