Tuesday, March 13

A Review of ... Olive Garden

When you're here, you're family.  Indeed.

Maybe it's because I talk about Olive Garden in my new book or maybe it's because I'm a major restaurant foodie but don't like taking it all too seriously.  I don't know but this story just made me smile.  Big smile.

We all know the importance that customer reviews have in driving brand trial and perception.  In fact data shows that people trust strangers who have already experienced a brand more than they trust people they know in many situations.  I myself always read through the reviews on Zagat or Yelp before I try a new restaurant, even if a friend has already recommended it.  Don't know why, actually, but I want to hear what people say who have been there.  It definitely influences my behavior and manages my expectations about the kind of experience I am thinking I am going to get when I go to the restaurant.

So of course I smiled when I read about the 85 year-old grandmother who writes a column in a local North Dakota who wrote about her incredible experience with a visit to Olive Garden.  She went on and on about how much she loved the service and the breadsticks and the atmosphere.  It was adorable!  Now because it was so elaborately written and about Olive Garden, her review quickly spread like wildfire on social media as people got a kick out of her review.  You can read an excerpt here.

The columnist is now a bit of a celebrity, at least for the moment, for her surprising take on what she considered to be pretty fine dining.  Just because you or I don't agree, doesn't make it a little slice of heaven.

Good for you, Marilyn Hagerty, you told us your experience!!  Jim.

Jim Joseph
President of North America, Cohn & Wolfe
Author of "The Experience Effect" series
Professor at NYU

BTW - Olive Garden gets a mention in my new book (The Experience Effect for Small Business) because I consider it a brand to be very well defined with a very clear positioning in the marketplace. Obviously, it works for Marilyn!

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