Olive Garden just signaled an ominous threat to the restaurant industry

The restaurant industry needs some bloodletting, according to the CEO of a major restaurant chain.

The CEO of Darden Restaurants, the owner of chains such as Olive Garden and Longhorn Steakhouse, said in the company’s quarterly earnings call on Tuesday that the restaurant industry needs to see some changes in order to become healthy again.

Currently, traffic for restaurants overall is falling for a few reasons, including the relative cost of buying groceries, and the shift toward smaller, local restaurants. Some restaurant CEOs have also surmised that consumer uncertainty is higher because of the election.

Darden CEO Gene Lee said that all of these issues that have led to weakness across the industry are not going away.

“I would say that as we think about the industry, we prepare our plans, and we assume the industry is going to stay where the industry is going to stay,” Lee said. “We’re not assuming the industry is going to get a whole lot better.”

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