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Focus on operations lifts Olive Garden same-store sales

Casual-dining chain also benefits from to-go orders, tablets and catering

Olive Garden’s same-store sales accelerated in the third quarter because the chain kept things simple.

That, at least, was the take from Gene Lee, CEO of the casual-dining Italian chain’s Orlando, Fla.-based parent Darden Restaurants Inc. Lee said the company’s focus on operations over the past year and more helped generated strong sales. Olive Garden’s same-store sales rose 6.8 percent in the third quarter ended Feb. 28.

“We’re just running better restaurants today,”

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