Sale sparks Olive Garden thoughts

Seeing Bowling Green’s Smokey Bones be purchased by Sun Capital Partners reminds me of the people who still see the location as the former home to Darden’s Olive Garden.
The list of people who still talk about Olive Garden in Bowling Green is long — you should see the e-mails, listen to the calls, and understand how sometimes I even get stopped on the street about it.

One person even asked me why another Italian-focused restaurant has yet to show up other than Fazoli’s (which by the way Sun Capital owns, too).
The answer to that is partly answered by the proliferation of Bosnian-owned restaurants we have that already offer quasi-Italian/German influenced menus.

But the way people are emotionally tied to restaurants shows how much business impacts every facet of life.
Just think about it.
The clothes we wear, the food we eat and the water we drink all rely on the businesspeople, corporations and entities that “do business” so we can get our basic necessities.

As Bowling Green’s restaurant sector — a test market for many of the big players and wannabes, continues to buzz, patrons wonder why certain eateries leave and why some thrive.
I can tell you as business reporter that most of comings and goings of restaurants depends on the almighty dollar and personal issues. Some of it is very random. But it all falls in my lap.

The closing of Iron Skillet because of illness or Darden selling Smokey Bones because it didn’t meet performance objectives are all examples of the randomness I see daily.

But you have to pay attention to the trends, which eventually trickle into this market as well — case in point, the fact that Bowling Green loves barbecue. Money’s feature on Jimmy Diemer as the latest of ten barbecue restaurants in town highlights that trend.


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