How can we bring the warmth of Olive Garden to a guest who never walks through their welcoming, Italian doors?


THE ASK: 

This summer at McGarrybowen, I was asked to identify opportunities for Olive Garden to expand their off-premise dining experience.

THE INSIGHT:

Olive Garden can provide comfort in an experience typically focused on utility. 

THE OUTCOME:

Brief-led brainstorms resulting in opportunities to meet the needs of each audience


We began with a question: What does Olive Garden mean to their guests?

Through man-on-the-street interviews and social listening I discovered the first thing people relate to "Olive Garden" is their unforgettable breadsticks. The two most common words people used to describe the brand were warmth and comfort. This feeling of warmth overflows in the restaurant experience, but what happens if a guest never walks through the brand's welcoming Italian doors?


 

THE WARMTH OF THE OLIVE GARDEN BRAND CAN DIFFERENTIATE       THEIR OFF-PREMISE DINING AS AN EXPERIENCE INSTEAD OF A CHORE 


There are four types of experiences off-premise providers use to define their positions in a crowded category. Restaurant brands are standing out by creating similar off-premise experiences such as: reward programs, speedy delivery, greater convenience and extra offerings.

Olive Garden has the opportunity to differentiate by extending the warmth of their in-store experience to their off-premise experience by meeting the dining needs of their three established audiences.


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INITIAL PROCESS              

We identified dining needs for each Olive Garden audience to spark a series of mini-briefs.

 

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MINI-BRIEF ONE: DELIGHTFUL FAMILY RITUALS FOR LIDIA

 

THE NEED:

I need to connect through repeat experiences.

KEY INSIGHT:

The category creates loyalty programs; Olive Garden inspires delightful family rituals.  

 

THE OPPORTUNITY:

Increase repeat orders by facilitating family traditions.             

 

 
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UNPACKING THE NEED AND THE INSIGHT              Mealtime is an important ritual for Lidia to connect with her family. We discovered inspiration, to meet her need, in the board game category. Even though the category is booming (28% growth in 2016) Hasbro recently created a subscription service to deliver a game package four times a year to families. Olive Garden can borrow elements of this strategy to help retain their customers while facilitating family bonding.

 

THE BRIEFING & BRAINSTORMING SESSION: LIDIA

Starting point: Olive Garden has the opportunity to help facilitate on-going family connections.

Now that we knew the overarching opportunity for Olive Garden, we posed a few whiteboard questions (on the right) for groups of creatives, account managers and strategists to develop more specific brand actions. A few of our favorites are below.

 

 

MINI-BRIEF TWO: CREATE EXPERIENCES THROUGHOUT THE WHOLE JOURNEY

THE NEED:

I need to connect with my kids in an entertaining way.

KEY INSIGHT:

The category provides speedy delivery, Olive Garden can provide entertaining connections   

THE OPPORTUNITY:

Make every stage in the delivery process an experience.

 

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UNPACKING LIDIA'S NEED & INSIGHT    

We discovered that kids have more voice in family decisions (especially food) than they ever have. Lidia's secondary need is a way to help her connect with and entertain her kids during the entire food journey.

 

 

THE BRIEFING & BRAINSTORMING SESSION FOR LIDIA

Olive Garden has the opportunity to make the delivery process an entertaining experience.

New technology has created more opportunities to delight kids along the entire journey. We see brands like Domino's and Deliveroo push the boundaries of traditional ordering with trackers & Snapchat ordering.

We asked our teams to focus on steps in the user journey: tracking, the moment of delivery and the receipt. A few of our favorites thought starters are on the right.

 

 

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MINI-BRIEF THREE: CONNECT OLIVIA WITH HER NETWORK

The Need:

I need to connect with my network.

Key Insight:

The category uses tech to advertise, Olive Garden can create shareable experiences.

The Opportunity:

Create shareable experiences.                                                                                                                                                     

 

 

UNPACKING THE NEED & INSIGHT

Gen Z is twice as interested as Gen Y in features that enable instant gratification: one-hour drone delivery, purchasing products or services via chat apps/ social media, personalized experiences via bots and the ability to pay via a wearable.

 

 

THE BRAINSTORMING SESSION FOR OLIVIA

Olive Garden has the opportunity to use technology to create new, shareable food experiences for Gen Z. 

Now that we knew the overarching need Olive Garden could help meet for Olivia, we posed a few questions in discussion groups to help develop more specific solutions. 

A few of our favorite thought starters from brainstorming sessions with creatives, account and strategists are on the right.

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MINI-BRIEF FOUR : A COMFORTABLE SINGLE MEAL FOR JESSICA

The Need:

I need to indulge comfortably. 

Key Insight:

The category makes single eating easier; Olive Garden makes it comfortable. 

 

The Opportunity:

Olive Garden can craft a welcoming single order experience.


 
 

 

UNPACKING JESSICA'S NEED & INSIGHT

Jessica is the single, millennial Olive Garden guest. She hates the minimum order fees, but delivery has become a savior for her on nights when she does not have time or does not feel like cooking.  For inspiration to make the single dining experience comfortable, we looked to hacks companies are employing.

 

 
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THE BRIEFING & BRAINSTORMING SESSION FOR JESSICA

Olive Garden has the opportunity to use the warmth of their brand to craft a special single order experience.

Now that we knew the overarching need Olive Garden could help meet for Jessica, I posed a few specific questions in discussion groups to develop more specific brand actions. A few of our favorite possible brand actions are on the right.

1. How might Olive Garden package their food with extra TLC? And make it more single order friendly?

2. How might Olive Garden create a more comfortable in-store pick up environment?

 

 


(EXTRA) MINI BRIEF FIVE: EXPERIENCES FOR B2B

As we dove further into Jessica's need states, we realized many of her needs were for her as a professional. Therefore, we looked toward immediate and planned B2B needs Olive Garden could fulfill. 

 
 

In collaboration with a fantastic team at McGarrybowen.