Millennial Watch 2017: The Death of Applebees
Trevor Hultner

Wait so which is it? Millennials are killing casual restaurants OR saving them. This is what I hate about casual journalism these days. What passes for research is sometimes just opinion.

Just recently the Hustle published “Olive Garden experiencing breadstick growth” Backed by actual numbers.

Every generation/market segment/stereotype gets blamed for everything, hippies, yuppies, boomers, Gen X, Gen Y, Millennials, hipsters…

Following a hostile takeover of its board, the once-struggling Italian restaurant chain appears to have found its secret sauce. Last quarter, same-store sales grew 4.4%, marking Olive Garden’s 4th straight quarter beating projected growth numbers.
Back in 2014, investor Starboard Value pressured OG’s parent company, Darden, to gut their entire board and revamp their menu offerings — including their signature breadstick recipe — and since then, their share price has nearly doubled.
Now, people are eating it up
Specifically, millennials. That’s right: people under 35 still go to sit-down restaurants — especially if they serve bottomless breadsticks.
According to Darden’s CEO, Gene Lee, 30% of OG’s customers are millennials, thanks in part to healthier offerings like a 500-calorie shrimp scampi that doesn’t make you want to die after eating it.

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