Gentlemen, we find ourselves at an impasse of the gravest nature.

I already know that many, if not most, of you plan on voting down my plan for free breadsticks. You tell me it will hurt our profits. You tell me last year’s decision on the free chocolate mints has already cost us too much. You tell me we simply cannot afford to give our customers as many breadsticks as they want, whenever they want, at no cost!

And. I. Say. You. Are. Wrong.

When my grandfather opened the first Olive Garden, in 1982, his dream was to give parents a place to go when they forgot their daughter’s birthday. His dream was to let secretaries visit Italy without leaving their comfort zone. And, most of all, his dream was to prevent awkward first-date conversations by serving as much food as possible as quickly as possible.

That was his dream. And goddamn if that wasn’t the dream America itself was founded upon.

Do you forget that much in the name of money?

Gentlemen, free breadsticks aren’t about profits! Free breadsticks are about making the diner feel safe from his wife’s feelings! Free breadsticks say, “No matter your race, creed, or gender, you don’t have to talk—here’s more food to put in your mouth!” With a constant flow of breadsticks, our diners can stay here as long as they like and never have to speak to anyone at their table. Isn’t that worth fighting for? Isn’t that worth your precious profit margin?

Gentlemen, I now ask you to vote in favor of free breadsticks. If not for yourselves, then at least for a wild dream once held by my grandfather.

Who’s with me?

Thank you. Thank you all.

Now for the next order of business: assholes singing and clapping for your birthday.