Olive Garden is the beloved home of unlimited breadsticks, hearty soups, delicious salads, and a wide variety of pastas. They’ve been around since 1982 and have been a fan favorite for many years. They’re also somewhat of a cult classic in the American scene but their popularity spans all over the globe.
No. Olive Garden is not closing down for good. As you breath a sigh of relief, it’s easy understand why this rumor has gained traction on social media. Depending on where you live, you may have seen numerous Olive Garden locations close their doors for good. As a result, you might think there’s some truth behind the rumors.
In this article I share all the Olive Garden locations that have permanently closed their doors. But it’s not all bad news. Olive Garden has emerged from the pandemic as a profitable company and is expected to add units through the end of 2024. I explain the details of this glass half full story below.
List of Locations Closing
The coronavirus pandemic severely impacted the hospitality sector. Approximately 10% of US restaurants and food joints had to shut down permanently due to the pandemic’s economic effects. Even successful chains like Olive Garden were not immune to the financial impacts and certain lower performing locations closed down.
It’s easy to see why the rumor that Olive Garden could be closing gained traction on social media. Over the past 10 years, numerous Olive Garden locations have permanently closed. But even though there are pockets of weakness for the restaurant chain that doesn’t mean the model is broken as I’ll explain in greater detail later. In fact, the company is actually in growth mode in 2023 and 2024.
With that being said, her is a list of Olive Garden locations that are closed for good:
Olive Garden Downtown Spokane
Date Closed: May 2015
The Olive Garden in downtown Spokane closed for good last May 2015. The reason that the management gave was that apparently the restaurant was under-performing.
Folks who wish to still dine at an Olive Garden in Spokane can head to their North Point Plaza location in Newport.
Olive Garden Biddeford
Date Closed: September 17, 2016
The Olive Garden in Biddeford, Maine closed down last September 2016. It has remained closed for years with no reason given from the management as to why they shut down. Customers who crave for unlimited breadsticks can head to the other Olive Garden locations in Maine such as the one in South Portland.
The comfort you crave.
Olive Garden Main Place Mall
Date Closed: 2017
Olive Garden is an old-time favorite in Main Place Mall, Santa Ana. However, the restaurant closed last 2017. But the good news is that they opened right across the mall at City Place. Old customers won’t entirely miss this restaurant when it’s still located in the same area.
Olive Garden Route 17
Date Closed: Oct 7, 2019
The Olive Garden on Route 17 in Ramsey closed last 2019. Their spokesperson Meagan Bernstein said it was a difficult business decision and one that was thought out very carefully especially since it affects their team members and guests.
She continued to add that they continue to evaluate the performance of their restaurants and that the decision to close the Olive Garden on Rouet 17 was part of their evaluation process.
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“Unfortunately, from time to time we have to close restaurants,” Bernstein added. “In no way does this reflect on the quality of our team members’ work, and we’re doing everything we can to help every team member find a new job. We’re offering everyone on the Ramsey team the opportunity to join other nearby Olive Garden restaurants or other Darden restaurants. We expect most, if not all, of our Ramsey team members to be offered new positions this week.”
But fret not because there are 22 Olive Garden locations in New Jersey so you can have a few options to choose from whenever those pasta and salad cravings hit.
Olive Garden Crestwood Boulevard
Date Closed: April 20, 2020
Olive Garden in Crestwood Boulevard closed down last April in 2020 in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. This is what Hunter Robinson, Communications Manager for Olive Garden had to say about the closure:
“Closing this restaurant was a difficult business decision, and one we made very carefully and thoughtfully. While this decision is not a reflection of the quality of our team members’ work, we could no longer justify continuing to operate this location given historical sales trends. Everyone currently working on the Eastwood team will receive severance pay.”
For those who wish to get their fill of Olive Garden, know that there are still 8 restaurants in Alabama so all is not lost.
Chicken Parm anyone?
Olive Garden Stonestown Galleria
Date Closed: December 5, 2020
Last December 2020, Olive Garden said goodbye to their Stonestown Galleria branch. The sign that was posted on their window read “We apologize for any inconvenience.” The sign also said “We appreciate your business and hope to see you soon.”
Olive Garden spokesperson Meagan Bernstein had this to say regarding the closure: “Closing this restaurant is a difficult business decision, and I can promise you it’s one we made very carefully and thoughtfully, particularly because it impacts our team members and our guests. In no way does this reflect on the quality of our team members’ work, and we’re doing everything we can to help our team members. We continually evaluate the performance of all of our restaurant locations, and this decision was made as part of that process.”
This Olive Garden location was kind of a big deal since this was San Francisco’s only Olive Garden. If fans want to dine at Olive Garden, they can still visit the restaurants in Vallejo, Hayward, Fremont, Pittsburg, Rohnert Park, Milpitas, and two restaurants in San Jose.
Olive Garden Owning Mills, Maryland
Date Closed: June 14, 2023
The most recent Olive Garden closure is the restaurant in Owning Mills, Maryland. No reason was given to the public as to why this location closed. The only explanation that the restaurant owner disclosed was that their lease was up and they decided not to renew.
How is the financial performance of Olive Garden?
Though there have been several rumors of Olive Garden closing for good, you’ll be relieved to know that they remain as rumors.
The restaurant giant is strong as ever. Though they admittedly faced a loss in revenue by 43% in the 4th quarter of their financial year in 2019 to 2020, they’re coming back up. Statista reports show that their revenue in the U.S. for the year 2023 is $4.88 billion which is an increase from their previous year’s sales of $4.5 billion.
In short, Olive Garden has been able to withstand the challenges of the pandemic and is moving forward into growth once again.
Who owns Olive Garden?
Olive Garden is owned by Darden Restaurants. Darden Restaurants owns a number of food brands such as Longhorn Steakhouse, Bahama Breeze Island Grille, Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen, The Capital Grille, Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse, Yard House, Seasons 52, and Eddie V’s.
Darden Restaurants’ revenue for the year 2023 is $10.488 billion which is an increase from their 2022 revenue which was $9.630 billion.
Is Olive Garden Adding New Locations?
You’ll be happy to know that Olive Garden is still continuing to expand and they’ve added more locations in the United States. In fact, don’t be surprised if you see more Olive Garden’s opening in your area through 2024.
Darden Restaurants, has announced plans to open approximately 100 new restaurants in the current year and fiscal 2024. This decision comes in the wake of experiencing double-digit sales growth with consumers continuing to view dining out as an affordable luxury.
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For fiscal 2023, Darden has updated its guidance to include 55 new restaurant openings. In the third quarter alone, seven new restaurants were launched, and the company aims to open 25 more in the fourth quarter. This includes approximately 20 new Olive Garden outlets.
Olive Garden Menu Prices.
For example, Olive Garden opened two restaurants in Meridian, Idaho and another in Merced, California. This one happens to be about 1 mile from my house. The restaurant looks packed every time I drive by on the weekends, although I haven’t had the chance to try it myself yet. In January of 2023, they also opened another Idaho location in Pocatello.
While Darden is keen on expansion, CEO Rick Cardenas emphasized the importance of strategic growth, noting the pitfalls of brands that expanded too rapidly. The company aims to be selective in its growth strategy.
So rest assured, this iconic Italian restaurant chain is still alive and kicking. Olive Garden is a strong brand and is going to be around to serve you salad, breadsticks, and casual Italian food for years to come. Take a look at the latest menu prices here if you’re planning a trip in the near future.