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February 12, 2016
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After years of court battles, “Happy Birthday To You” is now in the public domain. To avoid copyright infringements, chain restaurants have traditionally sung their own versions of “Happy Birthday” songs, and the CEO of Olive Garden wants to make sure it stays that way.

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Olive Garden, aka The Birthday Palace!

After years of court battles, “Happy Birthday To You” is now in the public domain. To avoid copyright infringements, chain restaurants have traditionally sung their own versions of “Happy Birthday” songs, and the CEO of Olive Garden wants to make sure it stays that way.


Ciao Olive Gardeners!

Olive Garden CEO Gene Lee here! As you’ve probably heard, the official “Happy Birthday To You” song is back in the public domain. Now, we all love this song. It’s succinct and gets the “happy birthday” point across clearly. It’s easy to customize the song to fit any birthday boy or girl’s name. And everyone knows the tune and lyrics.

But you know what’s way better? Olive Garden’s birthday song! And we want you to keep singing it! So here is an line-by-line annotated version of our beloved song — the lyrics are in bold and my commentary is in italics:

From the pasta we make Talk about a strong start! What is the number one thing the Olive Garden is known for? Our delicious pastas! It’s a great idea to bring this up in the first line so that everyone remembers that their gorgeous birthday-candle-bedecked tiramisu came from the same kitchen as that heaping portion of delicious fettuccine alfredo they just finished!
To lasagna we bake Sure, lasagna is technically a subset of pasta, so this is a little redundant. But who doesn’t love lasagna!? It’s my personal favorite dish, which is why I asked the songwriter to add a special shout-out to it in the song.
Ba ba ba ba Not going to lie, this is my favorite line of the song! Pure poetry!
We’re wishing you a happy birthday! This line is for “taking care of business” (also a great song, BTW)! Gotta get the primary message out. What are we doing? Wishing a happy birthday. Who are we wishing a happy birthday to? YOU!
We hope you will remember I’ll admit, this line is slightly superfluous since OF COURSE the birthday boy/girl will remember their birthday with us at Olive Garden. Especially since we’re singing this great song!
This fond event forever And ever and ever and ever!
We’re wishing you a happy birthday! Again, just repeating the thesis statement in case someone (ehem, Grandma) forgot why we were singing. We’re not singing for Sally’s graduation or Aunt Martha’s funeral here.
It’s like family and friends This line is a disclaimer: please note that we Olive Gardeners are not ACTUALLY the birthday boy/girl’s family and friends. We’re just pretending. We will not provide a birthday gift, kiss, etc. as family and friends might.
At the Olive Garden Okay, I lied before when I said that “Ba ba ba ba” was my favorite line of the song. This one is! It’s also a small reminder that this is Olive Garden and NOT Red Lobster, so please do not ask us for more Cheddar Bay Biscuits.
In the true Italiano way Sì! This SONG is molto autentico!
Hey! Hey! Now this is where the song really gets going. I like to punch the air during this part. Clapping works too, but is generally less effective.
So if you’re looking for some fun This is more of a rhetorical question than anything. OBVIOUSLY you were looking for some fun because 1. you’re at Olive Garden, 2. people are singing, and 3. it’s your birthday.
Try Hospitaliano Hospitaliano is a word that sounds like it might be Italian, but — little known fact — it isn’t. We made it up. And no, it does not have anything to do with ending up at the hospital, you crazy kids! Hospitaliano is Olive Gardeners’ way of sharing our passion for 100% Guest Delight. Please reference the employee manual if you forgot.
Have a happy happy day! What a nice sentiment! We want everyone to have such a happy day that we say happy twice because one happy doesn’t quite capture how happy the day should be.
Hey! All good songs end with a mighty “HEY!” at the end. Duh.

Wow. Our song is pretty perfect. Although I admit one regret — we don’t ever mention our salad and breadsticks. That seems like an error! Therefore, I plan to commission a songwriter to write a second verse that includes our most popular dish. It’ll go something like, “From the salads we make, to the breadsticks we bake …” Or maybe I don’t need to hire a songwriter after all.

So keep on gardening, Olive Gardeners! And by gardening, I mean singing! Our birthday song!

Ciao Olive Gardeners,
(isn’t it funny how hello and goodbye are the same in Italian?)
Gene Lee, CEO, Olive Garden

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