Hey Olive Garden! Cut back on the breadsticks, reduce the salad dressing and serve more booze if you want to boost profits. An investor, Starboard Value, has criticized parent company Darden Restaurants for its management of the Italian restaurant chain. Starboard is hoping to gain control of Darden's board with the election of its own nominees next month. Here are some of Olive Garden's problems, according to Starboard: Servers are supposed to provide one breadstick per customer, but often bring more, leading to waste. Salad bowls are often overfilled and the lettuce is overdressed, driving up costs. To get an extended warranty on its pots, Olive Garden no longer salts the water to boil its pasta. Starboard notes: "If you were to Google 'how to cook pasta,' the first step of Pasta 101 is to salt the water." And its final tip? Alcohol sales could be boosted, considering how well Italian food and wine go together. Olive Garden gets 8 percent of sales from alcohol, compared with more than twice that by other Italian restaurants.
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- The Associated Press