Darden Restaurants

After seeing success with Astute's CRM, Darden expands the relationship.

The Challenge

Managing a 20% increase in contact center volume

The relationship between Darden and Astute began in 2001, when the company selected the Astute Agent™ (formerly ePowerCenter™) CRM platform to integrate its contact center with multiple channels for one of its growing brands. And that was just the appetizer.

In 2003, after Olive Garden launched a web-based customer comment form for their 500-location network, the brand experienced a 20% increase in contact center volume. However, gathering the important voice of customer data required tedious manual processing. After the first successful integration in 2001, Darden’s leadership again called on Astute to help improve the efficiency of their data collection capabilities.

The Solution

Efficiently capturing voice of customer insights with Astute's CRM

Olive Garden added Astute Agent CRM for its contact center management. The integrated customer feedback loop allowed the brand to continually capture important information for process improvement, eliminating manual data capture and fulfillment. The solution enabled the brand to handle an increased number of queries with greater efficiency, without a significant increase in staff expenses.


Easy-to-configure “threshold” alerts provide faster notifications of potential threats and trends, and configurable routing rules inform the appropriate teams quickly. With built-in reporting capabilities, the CRM system reduces the time it takes to route information.

Darden Restaurants Astute ePowerCenter case study results

The Results

400% decrease in response time leads to a lasting, expanded relationship with additional brands

Astute Agent’s automation technology and integrated interface helped improve Olive Garden’s email response time by 400%. The guest relations team was able to increase the number of customer interactions with just a 12% increase in staff. They gained a newfound ability to handle potential crises as well. When an advertisement aired during a controversial TV show, the team was able to proactively communicate with 24,000 contacts within hours of the broadcast.

“We wanted the power to do more with the feedback guests were giving us, and Astute Agent was the first step in that process!”
-Jan Tarnowski, System Administrator, Guest Relations

The relationship between the two companies has continued to grow. In 2010, Darden expanded Astute’s CRM solution across their portfolio of brands, including LongHorn Steakhouse, Yard House, The Capital Grille, Seasons 52, Bahama Breeze, and Eddie V’s.

The system not only improved the ability to connect with guests, but enhanced the work environment as well. Darden saw a reduction in agent turnover and a happier, more productive workplace due to the easy-to-learn software. The built-in, robust reporting tools allow Darden brands to focus on analyzing their customer data, rather than spending their time creating reports.

About Darden Restaurants

Darden is the largest full-service restaurant company in the world and a global leader in hospitality. It employs 165,000 people serving more than 380 million guests annually at over 1,600 restaurants across North America, including Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse, Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen, Yard House, The Capital Grille, Seasons 52, Bahama Breeze and Eddie V’s.

Ready to see what Astute Agent™ could do for you?