The protest of the Darden restaurant company has now gotten national attention. The company leaders have said that they are willing to listen. While this might just be so they look better in the media, they have said this out loud and the media has covered it. At this point it would be hard to not make some concessions without repercussions on the company who is already troubled as of late.
In today's world of social media, and all that comes along with it, people are more likely to have their voices heard. Once something goes viral, the chances of change are strong. The Darden employees are having their voices heard. More people are able to access what is happening with this issue, which means more people are able to form an opinion and have their opinion be heard. One thing companies often care about is the general public's opinion, because their opinion can make or break a company. I feel that the Olive Garden protest is going to make this issue explode and make the Darden corporation take action that will positively affect their employees.
The recent shake-up over the leadership of Olive Garden and the Darden parent company have been seen by labor activists as an opportunity to gain a greater voice in the dealings of the company. While this may sound good in theory, unfortunately I do not believe their efforts will ultimately yield the results they desire. At a very basic level, the economic model that Olive Garden runs on requires that they keep the costs of labor and foodstuffs at an absolute minimum. To put it bluntly, the kind of demographic who patronize the Olive Garden simply aren't willing, or aren't able, to pay the kind of premium that higher worker wages require. They want their food good enough and cheap, and that's the bottom line.
The labor group Restaurant Opportunities Center United has been protesting the working conditions and wages at Darden Restaurants Inc.'s Olive Garden brand for over three years now without success. The fact that Hedge fund Starboard Value is making a big push for Darden to restructure the workforce does not bode well for the protesters.