Olive Garden Plans to Rebuild

In addition to reopening, the restaurant plans to assist its out-of-work employees.
MONROE, La. -- Charred remains are all that's left of Olive Garden. Scenes of extensive damage could be witnessed a day after the fire: parts of the roof either caved in through the ceiling or burned away completely.

It's amazing that nobody was hurt after Tuesday's fire burned through Olive Garden.

Investigators continue to sort through evidence. They say a cause for the fire has not been determined yet.

"I cannot say whether the smoke alarms or the fire extinguishers worked," said Chief Terry Williams with the Monroe Fire Department. "I will say that right now, we don't have any evidence one way or another that I can comment on."

Monroe Fire Department will work with the restaurant's insurance company and an electrical engineer to make a determination. Meanwhile, Olive Garden is working to help the over 100 employees displaced by the fire.

"Right now we're looking at everything that we can do internally that we can do to be able to take care of our team members first," mentioned Bryan Gibbs,Olive Garden's General Manager.

Olive Garden's parent company, Darden Restaurants, will assist in finding a place for them to work at Darden's other restaurants in Monroe like Red Lobster and Longhorn Steakhouse.

"We have the other Darden concepts that are going to be helping us distribute the workforce a little bit right now," said Gibbs. "We're going to be reaching out to them and absorbing them. And when Olive Garden reopens later this year, then they'll be able to come back home and work with us again."

Gibbs says he's unsure if the same location will be used for the new building, but they're aiming to reopen sooner than later.

"We are going to be rebuilding," he said. "And we're targeting to be able to do that before the holiday season coming up at the end of this year."

Customers with unused gift cards or certificates can redeem them at other Darden restaurants, like Red Lobster or Longhorn Steakhouse, or wait until Olive Garden reopens later this year.
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