Olive Garden Introduces the Italiano: Unlimited Soup or Salad and -- a Burger?
Olive Garden is hoping to get you through its doors with a new Italian-inspired burger called (what else?) the Italiano. Launched on the lunch menu yesterday, it's a 6-ounce sandwich with garlic aioli, arugula, prosciutto, seasoned tomatoes and mozzarella, according to Bloomberg. Taking a turn away from the chain's past practice of serving sandwiches a la carte, the burger will be served with a side of fries -- Parmesan garlic-flavored, of course -- for $9.99.
Olive Garden's executive chef Jim Nuetzi told Bloomberg the chain had learned from research that it was getting edged out by competitors that serve burgers on their menus. If you're wondering what a pasta-focused chain knows about making burgers, you aren't the only one. Some financial analysts are already speculating that the move "looks ill-fated."
See also: Jonathan Gold Reviews the Olive Garden
And while we can't say unequivocally that pasta and burger don't mix (ramen burger, anyone?), it's fair to point out that Olive Garden faces stiff competition in the burger category from fast food to fast casual. In Los Angeles alone, there's more than enough established -- and homegrown -- burger joints across taste, price points and even dietary preferences that satisfy our burger cravings.
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