The Case of the Missing Pasta Sauce

Irene D. recently wrote to Mouse Print* complaining about being shortchanged at her local Olive Garden in Framingham, Massachusetts.

A fan of their pasta sauces, she ordered four pints to go of two different types as shown in their menu:

Olive garden sauces

When Irene got home, she got a shock when she opened the bowls:


Olive Garden actually sauces

The bowls were filled less than halfway! To see how much sauce she actually got, our consumer poured the contents of one bowl into a 16 ounce container:

Olive sauce in a pint container

It looks like Irene got only five or so ounces instead of a full pint. Paying close to $25 for not much sauce, she contacted the customer service folks at Olive Garden. Guest relations at the company apologized, asked for more details, and promised to make it right. They then followed up with this:

It looks as if you were provided the dipping sauce portions instead of the pints you ordered. Whether taking your meal with you or dining-in with us, you should always be able to count on receiving an accurate order. It is obvious from your post that we failed on that promise, and we apologize for the mistakes made in preparing your order.

They also sent her a $40 gift card. Great!

We contacted the public relations department of Darden, the parent company of Olive Garden, to ask what procedures the company has in place to assure that products sold by weight or volume actually meet the promised quantity, and what steps they would take to prevent problems like this in the future. They did not reply to our email. Twice.

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9 thoughts on “The Case of the Missing Pasta Sauce”

  1. That wasn’t a mouseprint, that was an accident. She told them what happened, they apologized and made right by it. It sounds like an isolated incident. Accidents happen.

  2. Sounds like they were not purposely trying to shortchange. No matter what procedures they put in place, all it takes is one careless employee to mess up an order and mistakes will continue to happen.

  3. It is nice to see that Olive Garden admitted that they had done wrong, apologized and gave her the gift card.

  4. It sounds like good customer service. Probably the mistake of an employee and not company policy. Olive Garden seems to have made it right. I’ll give them a pass this time

  5. How does this fit into “Mouseprint?”

    It was clearly an unintentional error.

    I ditto the above; the company made an error, admitted it and made it right.

    This is certainly 1 in 10,000 against the companies who intentionally under-fill their opaque packages with as much as (I have seen) 75+% empty space.

    You should give the company an accolade.

    Edgar replies: David, as you know, Mouse Print* has a long history of covering packaging issues where the consumer is surprised and gets less than expected. This includes slack fill (like movie candy boxes), downsizing (a bazillion examples), and not getting the contents promised (like Starbucks lattes).

  6. Only our robot overlords can remove all possibility of human error. That said, why use such large containers but only partially fill them? It makes me wonder how often this happens.

  7. I think the issue is not responding to how they plan to make sure this doesn’t happen again, I also think it’s an alert, if you make this purchase check the containers, thank you Edger for keeping the consumer in mind.
    Accidents do happen but are they always “accidents”?

  8. It appears to be an accident like others have mentioned.

    How many times have you had to send an entree back because it wasn’t the way you ordered/expected it to be? Under-done, over-done, ‘wrong food’, sauces added when requested on the side? Do you ask for an investigation from the head office for each occurrence?

    Olive Garden made it right and gave the customer $40 in addition. Yes, there was the inconvenience of having to go back and get the corrected order, but that is what the $40 gift card was for.

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