- • Darden Restaurants’ CEO Undeserving of Leadership Award, Say Activist Groups
In a letter sent October 19, 2016 to Nation’s Restaurant News, a coalition of 15 environmental, animal welfare and worker justice organizations with over ten million supporters expressed dismay over the publication’s decision to honor Gene Lee, CEO of Darden Restaurants, as one of the recipients of its Golden Chain Award. The award, which will be presented on October 24, 2016 during the Multi-Unit Foodservice Operators (MUFSO) conference, “celebrates industry veterans for their outstanding leadership, solid company performance and dedication to giving back.” Within the letter, the groups stated that “Lee is undeserving of this award” and “has failed to show excellence in leadership in terms of improving conditions for employees, protecting the environment, fostering humane treatment of farm animals or promoting the health of Darden Restaurants’ customers.” Read more in the press release and letter.
- • 130,000 signatures delivered to Olive Garden
On May 12, 2016 more than 130,000 signatories joined with the Good Food Now! campaign to urge Olive Garden and all of Darden Restaurants to adopt greener menus that support the well-being of its customers, its workers, farmers, animals and our environment. Signatures were delivered by dozens of supporters across the country to Olive Garden Restaurants in New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Boston, Chicago, and Washington, DC. See photos and read the press release. The petition delivery received press coverage in The Guardian, Reuters, The Hill, Eater and Politico’s Morning Ag as well as Bloomberg, Veg News, Full Service Restaurants, Appetite for Peace, Food Service Consultants International and Triple Pundit.
- • The launch received good coverage in Politico, the Orlando Sentinel Pork Network, American Genius, Daily Caller, Triple Pundit and Seafood International. And, again by Triple Pundit.
- • Press release on launch of the campaign.
- • Coalition Letter in response to Darden, January 20, 2016
- • Darden’s response letter, December 10, 2015
- • Letter from 51 groups urging Darden to adopt the Good Food Principles, November 16, 2015
- • Initial letter to Darden from Coalition Members, October 5, 2015
- • Earth on the Menu: Why Olive Garden Should Adopt Good Food Principles
- Every meal you eat has an effect on the planet — from the environmental footprint of growing, harvesting and transporting the ingredients to how the people who helped get it to your table were treated. Now multiply that meal by 320 million. That’s how much influence Olive Garden and the other chain restaurants owned by its parent company, Darden, have each year.
- • Time to Turn Olive Garden's Good Food Rhetoric into Reality
- When a company holds itself up as a model citizen as Darden does, it should be accountable for making good on those ideals.
- • Redefining Good Food at the Nation's Largest Casual Dining Restaurant Company
- In these busy times, we spend nearly half our food budgets eating out. This means that big restaurant chains have an enormous influence on what we eat and how food is produced – and a lot of power to move our food system in a better direction.
- • Public Demands Greener Plates for Wildlife and Workers
- What does an Earth-friendly, sustainable diet look like? Certainly it must be climate- and wildlife-friendly, and that means eating less meat overall. The bad news is that many restaurant companies — like Darden, which serves 320 million meals a year at its chains, including Olive Garden and Longhorn Steakhouse — have menus full of unsustainable food.
- • Redefining Good Food at the Nation’s Largest Casual Restaurant Company
- In these busy times, we spend nearly half our food budgets eating out. This means that big restaurant chains have an enormous influence on what we eat and how food is produced — and a lot of power to move our food system in a better direction. Unfortunately, Olive Garden and Darden's other chains serve unhealthy, unsustainable food, including factory-farmed meat and dairy that pollute the environment and are produced with routine antibiotics and other harmful chemicals. Darden also pays workers a dismal wage and provide limited opportunities or benefits for its employees. We’re asking Olive Garden and Darden to do better, and we need your help.
- • The Politics on Your Plate at Olive Garden
- Olive Garden made headlines in 2006 and 2011 for illness outbreaks involving hundreds of their staff and customers. Without an earned sick leave policy, their workers are forced to choose between their health and their income. Darden has stood against paid sick leave legislation in over 15 states. Their employees suffer from the company’s lobbying, but so do their customers, who oftentimes don’t realize they’re being served food by workers without access to paid sick days. The CDC has found that infected food workers account for the vast majority (70%) of norovirus outbreaks.