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Saturday, August 26, 2006

INSURRECTION! REVOLUTION!

Today I finally celebrated my birthday with my family. My birthday was a couple months ago, in June. Yes, I know, this is a commentary on the family.

Our tradition is to take each other out for dinner for our birthdays, at whatever restaurant, at whatever cost. Mom likes Red Lobster, my brother likes Olive Garden, and usually, I like Timerlodge Steakhouse.

But for some reason, today, I was not craving their blooming onion, honey wheat bread and prime rib with red wine...I was craving Italian.

I actually opted for Olive Garden today (they actually have a take-out box for wine, which is very cool). One of the reasons I wanted to go there was that I was craving their wonderful ambrosia of dessert, chocolate lasagna.

For those of you not in the know, Chocolate Lasagna is this decadent delight involving a thin layer of moist cake, a thin layer of buttery white frosting, a thin layer of chocolate fudge syrup with chunks of chocolate followed by a few layers in similar succession. It literally melts in one's mouth.

A few years ago I had this dessert with a friend after Mass, including a "splitter", which turned out to be this dessert with two mini-sparkling wines and to this day, I relish the frienship, the beautious dessert, and the buzz.

In all seriousness, though, I was ready to take this dessert home in a box and enjoy it with my family while watching a movie, sipping wine, conversing, whatever.

Well, I realized upon looking at the dessert menu that Chocolate Lasagna was not listed. I asked our server about it and she explained that no, it was not on the menu anymore...they were no longer offering the dessert.

I asked to speak with a manager. While I hate the business world (not my area, not my gift), I will say that I have learned something by working within it...the customer is always right, especially when the customer is charitable in her complaints and not being petty.

There is nothing petty about complaining that Chocolate Lasagna is not on the menu.

The manager, Barbara was at our table forthwith at the rapid behest of our server (who was also wonderful). I introduced myself and explained my chagrin at being deprived of my favorite dessert. I explained that the removal of this dessert was the worst business decision Olive Garden could possibly have made, and went on to explain that whenever we order their food at work, this dessert is usually requested and of course flies off the pan in record time.

Barb agreed and explained that since they have removed this dessert from their menu, dessert sales have dropped from 51% to 43%! That's HUGE!

They actually have a large meeting coming up and she advised me that she would be happy to register this complaint formally at their meeting and, naturally, request that the dessert be reinstated.

I did tell her that there was nothing wrong with the desserts they had, but the omission of Chocolate Lasagna was a very bad idea.

As it turns out, of course the decision was corporate and I acknowledged this...it's not like a franchise to take it upon themselves to make such a drastic change, and Barb indicated that Chocolate Lasagna was their most requested dessert...very big seller. Why, then, would a company omit it? I'm sure it's time consuming to make, but the drop in sales likely does not justify the removal of it.

Anyway, anyone who knows the Olive Garden, and specifically this dessert, this is an FYI to you, so please call your local OG's, aske to speak to the manager and register your complaint before they go to their conference. Companies listen to their customer base and I can tell you from personal experience that sometimes they are delighted to hear our complaints...because they often agree with us.

In working in the business world, I have realized that many decisions look good on paper when viewed by those in corporate who make the decisions, but they are often out of touch with their employees, their own management framework beneath them, and what customers really want. We do have to be willing to speak up so as to maintain certain status quos to which we have become accustomed.

And that is the end of my PSA for tonight. Bring back the Chocolate Lasagna!

(Not that I'll be able to pay for it once I start school...)

7 comments:

Angela Messenger said...

CHOCOLATE LASAGNA! I have never heard of it until now but I WANT SOME!

Angela Messenger said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Adoro Te Devote said...

Angela, why did you delete your second comment? Was the recipe not a good one?

Tim said...

Hi there, we could all submit to this site.

http://www.my3cents.com/companyOverview.cgi?code=383

Tim said...

or this one:

http://www.olivegarden.com/company/contact_us/

Tim said...

Thanks for visiting my site.
Re; your query:

Well, I just learned that Google no longer requires an invite.
I read the other day on their site that they used to require one so that spammers wouldn't be able to possess hundreds of gmail accounts.

Angela Messenger said...

Adoro - I am not sure the recipe was quite right. I didn't want to mislead people especially if the recipe was awful. I WANT Olive Garden to bring this dessert back so I can try it sometime!