Can historical data save Olive Garden from its 2008 erosion?

UPDATE: I fixed the links, as they were not being displayed correctly.

All was fine in the endless gardens of salads and breadsticks (I can't be the only one who orders extra breadsticks to take home with leftovers, right? ... Right...??). 55 consecutive quarters of increased same store sales. Kudos to the olive farmers!

All was fine...

Until that sour year of 2009, which initiated a continuous erosion of that once fertile soil. Ever since that year, as if caused by a mysterious plague, the sales have been declining, graying out the brand as time flew by.

The question we ask ourselves right now is: what is happening to that chain of Italian restaurants, home of the never-ending salad, breadsticks and, as of a couple of weeks ago, pasta and toppings? What has been causing this decline in sales quarter after quarter? More importantly: what insights on what is driving this 23-quarter long erosion can we uncover when analyzing Olive Garden's historical data?

We are trying to answer just that (by "we" I mean myself and the other 5697 data scientists at CrowdANALYTIX). We have gathered sets of data which include financial information, as well as demographic info of places surrounding the stores. Competitors' data is also present, as well as many other information that could hold some insights on what is causing this. The data is there. Now we have to analyze it.

We are doing this in a form of two contests, which you can join by becoming a solver in our community. Now, before you ask: nope. There are no fees for joining the community or the contests. No hassle. No... nothing. You just create your account and join the contests. That's it. You can even gather your friends, co-workers or students and form a team (no hassle here as well).

There's just one catch: if your solution(s) or insight(s) gets picked as a winner, you get rewarded. But that's not much of a catch. More like a "tension builder". But seriously, there's no catch.

We'll be running this for two more weeks. More than 150 data scientists have already joined us from around the globe and they're already picking their brains on this. So, if anything, look at this as an exercise for your mind.

I hope this is of interest to you. Here are the links:

Modeling Contest - Olive Garden Chain Performance Analysis

Modeling Contest - Olive Garden Restaurant Comparison Analysis

Have fun and enjoy the challenge.

By the way, that guy getting stuffed with breadsticks at a table near you might be me, so drop me a note when you see me.



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Comment by Vincent Granville on October 8, 2014 at 2:42pm

Solution is simple: add sandwiches to your menu. 

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