More than 150,000 people sat down for an Italian meal at Puerto Rico’s first Olive Garden restaurant during its first three months of operations, shattering world records for the chain worldwide, franchisee Restaurant Operators Inc. said Wednesday.
In all, the restaurant made $200,000 a week, with 11,000 patrons visiting the Bayamón eatery in its first week alone.
“The resounding success of the restaurant is attributed to the quality of the food, excellent service, and the experience it represents for the whole family,” said Dionisio Trigo, president of ROI. “We’re happy because we showed that the work and commitment of all those comprising the Olive Garden family are paying off and this success translates into stability for more than 200 jobs, more investment and economic development on the island.”
In the wake of its success, ROI executives said they will continue moving forward with the chain’s growth and expansion plans, with a second restaurant slated to open in San Patricio Plaza in Guaynabo in mid 2015.
The Olive Garden franchise will have a total of eight restaurants islandwide, which will open in a period of five years and through a $15 million investment.
The Bayamón restaurant opened in October, joining the more than 800 establishments across the U.S. mainland. Its arrival had been highly anticipated by Puerto Rican foodies who were familiar with the restaurant’s menu offerings upon visiting it stateside.
“People were highly expecting the chain. You were one of the most anticipated brands, so we have worked hard to meet customer expectations through service, culinary offer and expertise,” said Alex Lignos, strategic business developer of ROI.
Local customers have also already established their favorite plates on the menu, they said, mentioning the Tour of Italy, the Chicken Fetuccine Alfredo and the Steak Gorgonzola Alfredo among the top three.
“We have won over a consumer with a discerning palate and we want to maintain that relationship. By constantly expanding our menu with new offerings will enable them to have more choice, better dining experience and more value for their money,” Lignos said.