Olive Garden's best takeout day is Valentine's Day

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Eating takeout lasagna on your couch on Valentine's Day doesn't exactly invoke the words "love," or "romance," but it's boosting sales for Olive Garden.

The holiday marks the company's best takeout sales day, reports MarketWatch. This news, unveiled Tuesday as part of parent company Darden Restaurants' (ticker: DRI) quarterly earnings report, underscores the industry's evolving shift to convenience and what it might take to succeed amid changing consumer habits.

Just in its latest quarter, takeout made up 12.6 percent of Olive Garden's takeout business, Darden CEO Eugene Lee said.
But people taking food home isn't just happening at Olive Garden. Bloomberg Gadfly points to a Black Box Intelligence statistic that the takeout trend knocked restaurant traffic 3 percentage points compared to last year, following 2015's smaller 0.8 percent dip.

RELATED: Check out some of the staple dishes at Olive Garden in the slideshow below:

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Olive Garden food
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Olive Garden food
Our cheesy Chicken Piadina giving you lunch envy like 😍
One Alfredo for now 😋, and a second to take home for later. 😛😍😍
Lunch is served (on a breadstick, duh).
Our new pot pie’s got 🧀, ziti, meatballs, sausage, sauce…pretty much everything that’s delicious.
Happy #NationalRavioliDay! Celebrate twice with mezzaluna ravioli!
Goodness gracious, great balls of risotto!
What’s better…the crust or the filling? 😃😋
🔥🍎 Crostata…tag a dessert-loving friend to torture them a little. 😉
So good 😋Til it’s gone 😢
Buy One, Take One. Because two of ANYTHING food-related is better. 😀
Just. Look. At. This. 🍴
How to become popular: Endless salad #ProTip
Some appetizers are worth melting for. ⛄️🍴
Two entrées. One plate. Winner takes all. 🏆
If this is making you hungry, don’t worry, you’re not alone.
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Bloomberg Gadfly also notes that Darden competitors like Ruby Tuesday (RT), Brinker International's (EAT) Chili's and DineEquity's (DIN) Applebee's could stand to look at Darden as an example of combating trends. Following the sale of Red Lobster, Darden was able to invest in initiatives like digital ordering and tablets for tables. In turn, this increased both profit margins and sales.

Now, Olive Garden is looking to retail giant Amazon.com (AMZN) as a beacon of e-commerce and delivery. The chain is piloting delivery in certain markets, reports Bloomberg Gadfly.

Olive Garden's fiscal second-quarter sales ticked up to $915 million, compared to $892.3 million a year ago. Overall sales for Darden hit $1.64 billion, an increase from $1.61 billion a year ago. Darden's stock is up 22 percent in the last year.

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Copyright 2016 U.S. News & World Report

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