The Brand Behind Olive Garden's Iconic Breadsticks

Olive Garden's breadsticks are an iconic part of dining at the restaurant. When you take a seat at the table, your server automatically brings out a basket of warm, garlicky bread. The restaurant's breadstick policy dictates that diners are entitled to a starting basket of one per person, plus a bonus, but extras will be brought upon request at no extra charge. They can be enjoyed as-is or dipped into Alfredo, marinara, or meat sauce.

While the bread may be a staple of eating at Olive Garden, they actually aren't made from scratch in-house. Instead, Darden Restaurants, Inc. — the parent company of Olive Garden — outsources the bread from Turano Baking Company. The baking company sells 8-inch long par-baked breadsticks, meaning they're partially baked before being frozen and shipped to Olive Garden locations. Once they reach the restaurants, they're brushed with dairy-free margarine and sprinkled with garlic salt before being served. Additionally, while Turano is well-known for Olive Garden's breadsticks, it also bakes up quite a few other products as well.

One other company was rumored to supply the breadsticks

The company was founded in 1962 in Chicago by Mariano Turano, an Italian immigrant. He began baking up recipes that he'd learned in Italy, which proved successful. His family members joined the business, and the company's products were soon sold in various grocery stores and restaurants. Today, it has five different bakeries around the United States that help to produce Olive Garden's breadsticks, among other fresh baked goods. Its bakeries produce rolls, sliced bread, and baguettes.

Turano typically caters to commercial sales, so it may be difficult to obtain a case of the par-baked breadsticks to stock your own freezer, unless you plan to buy in bulk directly from the company. If you aren't able to purchase Turano breadsticks, there is another company that has been compared to Olive Garden's breadsticks.

Some social media users — including self-proclaimed former Olive Garden employees — have stated that Franz Brown & Serve breadsticks bear a striking resemblance to the Turano ones, and even claim that Olive Garden uses this brand rather than Turano. However, it doesn't seem likely that this is true.

Turano has worked with another restaurant

Despite the rumors about the Franz breadsticks, it seems like Turano is the true supplier of Olive Garden's garlicky appetizer. Darden has previously praised the partnership with Turano, particularly when it comes to the quality of the breadsticks. In 2000, Darden awarded Turano with the William B. Darden Distinguished Vendor Award.

The partnership has extended beyond just Olive Garden's breadsticks, however — the company has created one other baked good for a restaurant owned by Darden. Bahama Breeze restaurants are owned by the same company, and previously served up an appetizer of Cuban bread: a white bread with a crispy crust and fluffy interior, topped with a tomato marinade.

Regardless of who makes Olive Garden's breadsticks, they're enjoyed by plenty of restaurant goers all the same — and they can even be ordered for takeout. A dozen breadsticks can be purchased for around $6.79. Diners can choose to have their bread baked for immediate enjoyment, or unbaked for a later dinner. And if you wind up with extras, you can always reheat the breadsticks for your next meal.