Times Square Olive Garden losing $300G each week because of coronavirus restrictions

Olive Garden is losing hundreds of thousands of dollars every week from just one location in New York City because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Times Square Olive Garden typically brings in $15 million a year, but now it’s losing $300,000 a week. That’s because of state restrictions on indoor dining, said Gene Lee, the CEO of Olive Garden’s parent company Darden Restaurants, on a Thursday call to investors.

“We start every single week $300,000 in the hole from a comp store basis,” Lee said about the Times Square location.

In fact, he said that location alone is costing the chain “50 basis points in comps.”

The Olive Garden in Times Square is losing $300,000 a week because of restrictions on indoor dining, Darden Restaurants CEO Gene Lee said Thursday. (Google Maps)


“That’s our best restaurant in the Olive Garden system,” he said. “We do over $15 million there and now we’re doing, you know, $2,500 a day.”

On Thursday, Darden Restaurants reported that Olive Garden’s same-restaurant sales were down 28.2 percent.

The Olive Garden locations that performed better during the quarter were restaurants that were allowed to offer indoor dining, Lee said.


“Overall, capacity restrictions continue to limit their top-line sales, particularly in key high-volume markets like California and New Jersey, where dining rooms were closed for the majority of the quarter,” Lee said. “In fact, restaurants that had some level of dining room capacity for the entire quarter averaged more than $75,000 in weekly sales, retaining nearly 80 percent of their last year’s sales.”

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
DRI DARDEN RESTAURANTS INC. 97.31 +7.31 +8.12%


Olive Garden isn’t the only restaurant to be negatively impacted by capacity restrictions on indoor dining. Earlier this week, a study from the NYC Hospitality Alliance found that 87 percent of restaurants, bars and nightclubs in New York City were unable to pay their full rent in August.

“Even before the pandemic when operating at 100 percent occupancy, these small businesses were struggling to stay open,” Andrew Rigie, the NYC Hospitality Alliance executive director, said in a statement.

“Now we’re seeing widespread closures, approximately 150,000 industry workers are still out of their jobs, and the overwhelming majority of these remaining small businesses cannot afford to pay rent,” Rigie added.


However, restaurants in the city — including the Times Square Olive Garden — will be allowed to reopen for indoor dining at 25 percent capacity starting on Sept. 30.

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Olive Garden’s Times Square restaurant is losing $300,000 every week

  • Olive Garden’s Times Square location is losing $300,000 every week. 
  • Olive Garden same-store sales fell by 28.2% in the most recent quarter, parent company Darden reported on Thursday. Fifty basis points — or 0.5% — can be linked to the Times Square location. 
  • New York City has been slower to reopen restaurants than the rest of the US, and has not yet allowed indoor dining rooms to reopen. 
  • “I went up to a rooftop deck and it was two deep at the bar,” Darden CEO Gene Lee told investors. “It’s just a different life in Georgia. I know it’s hard for you guys in New York to even imagine that.” 
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Olive Garden’s Times Square restaurant is burning through $300,000 every week, as New York City restaurants struggle to survive. 

Pre-pandemic, Olive Garden’s Times Square restaurant was the chain’s best-preforming location in the US, bringing in $15 million a year. Now the location is losing $300,000 every single week, according to Olive Garden parent company Darden’s CEO Gene Lee. 

“We start every single week $300,000 in the hole from a comp store basis … just from that one restaurant,” Lee said on a call with investors on Thursday. 

Olive Garden same-store sales fell by 28.2% in the most recent quarter, Darden reported on Thursday. According to Lee, 50 basis points can be linked to the Times Square location’s losses. 

While Olive Garden has higher costs as a massive, three-story restaurant in the heart of Times Square, most New York restaurants are struggling to turn a profit. According to a recent survey by the New York City Hospitality Alliance, 87% of the city’s restaurants, bars, and nightlife establishments could not pay full rent in August. 

New York City has been slower to reopen indoor dining than the rest of the country. Restaurants will not be allowed to reopen dining rooms at 25% capacity until September 30. 

Lee told Wall Street analysts that outside of cities “life is normal,” with people happy to return to restaurants inside. The majority of Olive Garden restaurants are now profitable, with sales being dragged down by restaurants in areas with greater restrictions, according to Lee.

“I landed at an airport the other day and not one person had a mask on. I was in a hotel, I went up to a rooftop deck and it was two deep at the bar,” Lee said. “It’s just a different life in Georgia. I know it’s hard for you guys in New York to even imagine that.” 

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Woman creates cake business out of her kitchen after losing job in March

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    NASHVILLE (WSMV) — It’s been a tough situation for many out of a job since March. Many people doing any and everything they can to keep up financially.

One local woman, from inside of her own kitchen, has found a new way to make a living.

“It’s definitely a lot different in the commercial kitchen I was working in a few months ago,” Katie Garcia-Swann said.

In March, like hundreds of others working in the restaurant business, Katie Garcia-Swann was left unemployed and uninsured.

She turned to social media for the answers and not long after, found a ton of success starting an online bakery she calls, “Katie Cakes.”

“It was pretty amazing to see. Started doing a giveaway where we gave away probably about 10 celebration cakes to people across Middle Tennessee. It’s quickly unfolded into something much bigger than I have ever anticipated,” she said.

Katie Cakes makes anywhere from a dozen to 20 cakes spending almost 30 hours a week in her new office and fortunately, she has a free delivery system with her husband, Chris.

“It’s just a chance to see this great city that we live in. I kind of go to a lot of the different areas of Nashville, different historic neighborhoods, and places that I would’ve never gotten to see otherwise,” Chris said. “I love playing the part of delivery driver.”

“He usually does about 95% of them and he also entertains our 1-year-old son,” Garcia-Swann added smiling.

And the time spent with her son Phoenix, paired with the success of Katie Cakes, allowed her to resign from her former job. Now more than six months later, she’s incredibly thankful.

“Our church community are the people who stepped up and supported us and have spread the word, they’ve made this possible. Without our church… without our faith, without our hope, without our prayers, none of this would’ve been possible,” she said.

Please note: This content carries a strict local market embargo. If you share the same market as the contributor of this article, you may not use it on any platform.

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RSA murderer William Bell takes action against Corrections after losing kitchen job amid hostage allegation

William Bell during his court appearances for the RSA murders, in 2001.


William Bell during his court appearances for the RSA murders, in 2001.

Triple murderer William Bell is taking legal action against Corrections after allegations that he planned to kidnap a female prison staffer saw him lose his kitchen job.

Bell is serving New Zealand’s longest minimum non-parole period, 30 years, on a life sentence for the murders of William Absolum, Wayne Johnson and Mary Hobson, and the attempted murder of Susan Couch, during an aggravated robbery of the Mount Wellington Panmure RSA in 2001.

Bell had been working towards an NCEA qualification in Auckland Prison’s new state-of-the-art kitchen when he was moved from the role. Stuff understands a former prisoner called Crimestoppers alleging Bell had plotted to take a hostage.

Corrections’ suspicions were further raised after an officer found a note in Bell’s cell with reference to a remote-controlled toy helicopter.

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Bell denies the allegations. Police wouldn’t confirm whether the allegation was the subject of a criminal investigation citing privacy reasons.

Corrections confirmed Bell had been moved to a different type of employment within the prison – understood to be the laundry – but said of the allegation, “there has been no threat to the wider security of the prison and no threat to public safety at any time”.

It’s understood Bell was classed as a low-medium security prisoner but that rating was increased to maximum before being dropped again by Corrections.

Bell filed an application in the High Court at Auckland for a judicial review of the rating before it was reduced, but it’s understood Bell is continuing with the legal action as Corrections hasn’t reinstated him in the kitchen.

The matter will be in court on Monday and Bell will appear remotely. The court has appointed an amicus curiae to assist him.

Up to 50 Auckland Prison inmates work in the kitchen cooking for other inmates, and can work towards gaining an NCEA qualification in hospitality and catering. They work under Corrections staff supervision in the new, modern kitchen, built under the $300m upgrade of the prison, which was finished in 2018.

Bell’s mother, Georgina Tahana, said Bell was extremely disappointed after losing a job he loved. Security classifications can inform parole reports, and the types of rehabilitation programmes available to inmates.

“He was trying, and he was motivated. He was so proud. He was really, really enjoying what he was doing. He would say, ‘so what are you having for lunch, what’s for dinner, here’s what you can do’. I know what it’s like when you want to do something and you want to make a good job of it. I don’t know why (Corrections) did this,” she said.

A security classification is given to prisoners serving a sentence of more than three months, and is meant to convey an escape risk,

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