If you're a regular Olive Garden customer, you've likely noticed that the menu undergoes changes every so often. Entrees like spaghetti pie and lasagna topped with ravioli have come and gone, among many other menu items that eventually ended up being discontinued. Given that new and limited-time offerings are always being introduced, you'd think that Olive Garden would be open to receiving submissions for unique recipes — and clearly many people have attempted to do so because the inquiry is listed in the FAQ section on the Olive Garden website. However, that's just not something the restaurant is interested in doing.
While Olive Garden does welcome menu suggestions and even provides a form on its website for customers to fill out, Olive Garden explicitly states that it cannot purchase full recipes from anybody. "We work closely with our chefs to bring the freshest, most flavorful dishes inspired by Italy to our restaurants," the chain explains.
Read more: The 101 Best Pizzas In America
Why Olive Garden Can't Accept Recipe Submissions
In the restaurant industry, recipes aren't typically acquired through submissions from third parties, let alone customers. You might be able to successfully sell your recipe to an independently owned restaurant if the owners are really impressed by it, but Olive Garden is a major national chain. Not only would it be unconventional, but it would also be unnecessary, as Olive Garden can easily develop its own recipes.
Legally, providing compensation for a customer's recipe would also get complicated for Olive Garden. Recipes in general are not considered intellectual property because the law views them as a list of ingredients and a set of directions. Despite potential originality, they can't be copyrighted unless they qualify as a "trade secret," are made through a process that can be patented, or are published in a cookbook. For that reason, Olive Garden would face difficulties in acquiring the rights to reproduce a recipe, making it impractical for the chain to accept and purchase recipes from its customers.
Where Does Olive Garden Get Its Recipes?
Given that Olive Garden doesn't entertain recipe submissions from customers, you might wonder where it gets its recipes. But much like any restaurant chain, Olive Garden relies on a research and development team made up of corporate chefs who are responsible for coming up with all of the dishes that make it to the menu.
When a corporate chef conceptualizes a new dish for a restaurant, the recipe undergoes phases of testing until it's perfected. At Olive Garden, the process would be no different, and as you might imagine, the recipe would have to be consistent with Olive Garden's standards for taste and quality. It would also have to be easy to replicate by the line and prep cooks at all of the Olive Gardens across the country and be made using the ingredients they have on hand in the Olive Garden kitchens. If Olive Garden were to accept recipes from customers, it would be hard to apply this same level of quality control, which could definitely be part of the reason it isn't done.
Read the original article on Daily Meal.