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Its not official, but Olive Gardens coming
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      What is the worst kept secret in Statesboro? The Olive Garden. The rumors have been swirling for months about Darden Restaurants building an Olive Garden here in the Statesboro Crossing retail development.
       Without an official confirmation, I had to approach my research through the back door exploring other "alleys" of information. First, there has been a running advertisement on the Statesboro Herald website seeking applicants for the position of manager of the soon to be built Olive Garden.
       I contacted the company in charge of hiring for this position and was told that interviews were conducted and completed last week. Viable candidates were identified and have been moved to the next stage of the hiring process. FYI, once you are hired as a manager by Olive Garden, you go through a five month training period at a facility in Atlanta.
       Next, I went on the Darden Restaurants website in the contact information section under the new construction bid list. There was Statesboro. It listed five companies that could bid it, but did not list who was actually awarded the contract. Bids were due in on September 10.
       Finally, a reliable source told me that building plans are in the final stages of approval with the appropriate governmental authorities. All in all, I would say that those are three very good signs that this is going to happen.
       Let's get down to the details. The restaurant is going to encompass 7,500 square feet of the building area behind Hobby Lobby. It will front the Statesboro Bypass. The area behind and to the side of Hobby Lobby is comprised of three separate "bay." Olive Garden is taking the two of those closest to the end leaving one empty bay between itself and Hobby Lobby. It is going to be an extensive build out that will most likely take a few months.
       Darden Restaurants, Inc. operates casual dining restaurants in North America and is publicly traded as NYSE:DRI. According to the business website www.hoovers.com, this company has cornered not one but two dining markets: seafood and "Hospitaliano." Darden Restaurants is the #1 casual-dining operator (in terms of revenue), with more than 1,770 restaurants in the US and Canada.
       Concepts under the Darden umbrella include Olive Garden, Longhorn Steakhouse, Red Lobster, The Capital Grille, Bahama Breeze, and Seasons 52.