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Olive Garden Never Ending Pasta Pass

Old 09-09-14, 10:10 AM
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Re: Olive Garden Never Ending Pasta Pass

Originally Posted by DVD Polizei View Post
Bucca di Beppo: Cheesy Bread Florentine.
Has anyone eaten at the table with the Pope in the center? That would seem a little creepy to me.
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Old 09-09-14, 10:13 AM
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Re: Olive Garden Never Ending Pasta Pass

Longhorn is really good, Olive Garden and Red Lobster are jokes.

I would have done this though even though I don't really like OG. We have a few Olive Gardens nearby and $100 is pretty cheap for a quick meal for 7 weeks and I'm kind of broke.

Originally Posted by Sean O'Hara View Post
I'd rather eat a pasta bowl from Domino's than go to the Olive Garden.

It's no worse than Ruby Tuesdays, TGI Friday or Chilis, but they make it seem that they're better because their food is "Italian" and the restaurants are well lit. Red Lobster is pretty much the same thing. I think the only people who fall for it are teenagers who have only a vague concept of what a fancy date is supposed to be.
I actually think Ruby Tuesdays is a notch up from Fridays and Chilis these days, though OG definitely falls into the Fridays/Chilis "Kind of tastes microwaved" group. Though it could be that RT was so bad for so long that I expect the worst and am impressed when it's actually pretty good.

fwiw, I also think Maggianos is pretty much family style Olive Garden. Buca di Beppo is a notch better, and Carrabbas (which is heavily location dependent) are a notch better than them.
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Old 09-09-14, 10:14 AM
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Re: Olive Garden Never Ending Pasta Pass

Originally Posted by DaveyJoe View Post
I'd rather be raped by the devil than eat at Olive Garden.
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Old 09-09-14, 10:47 AM
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Re: Olive Garden Never Ending Pasta Pass

Originally Posted by dan30oly View Post
You guys are being harsh.

I get the best sodas ever at olive garden.
Coke OR Sprite. It's amazing.
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Old 09-09-14, 10:47 AM
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Re: Olive Garden Never Ending Pasta Pass

Originally Posted by RichC2 View Post
Longhorn is really good, Olive Garden and Red Lobster are jokes.
I have to disagree! Olive Garden has hands down the best chicken alfredo. And yes, I've tried all sorts of mom-and-pop italian places, and no one can match it.

As for Red Lobster, NO restaurant that can make cheese biscuits like that is a joke. Plus their Cajun Chicken Alfredo is pretty darn good.
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Old 09-09-14, 11:46 AM
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Re: Olive Garden Never Ending Pasta Pass

I haven't had Alfredo from an italian restaurant in a while, but I always preferred Outbacks Chicken and Shrimp No Rules Pasta (Alfredo) to OGs and RLs. And I'm not that picky, I used to eat the Alfredo from Fazoli's all the time as a kid, that may have been the turn off after a while

And while Red Lobster does have good Cheese Biscuits, they sell that in boxes now, and honestly it's their only solid item. Tho I do venture over there during AYCE shrimp. The Ruby Tuesdays cheese biscuits aren't bad either.

Mostly though, I don't venture to bigger chains too frequently anymore. Used to be all I ate, but my town became a little bit of a foodie place in the last few years.

Last edited by RichC2; 09-09-14 at 11:52 AM. Reason: .
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Old 09-09-14, 11:47 AM
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Re: Olive Garden Never Ending Pasta Pass

Originally Posted by adrenaline78 View Post
humm.. I'm surprised with all the disdain for Olive Garden.. Their food has been pretty decent to my taste buds.
It's not Sbarros' bad or anything, but I can think of plenty of other Italian places that are better. Granted, I live in a major city, but even when I lived out in suburban hell, Olive Garden would never have been my first choice for Italian.

In terms of chain Italian restaurants, Maggiano's is my favorite.
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Old 09-09-14, 04:14 PM
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Re: Olive Garden Never Ending Pasta Pass

I wish I'd bought a few of these. Looks like they're going for around $200 on ebay. Quick profit.
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Old 09-09-14, 04:27 PM
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Re: Olive Garden Never Ending Pasta Pass

Originally Posted by Phodg View Post
I wish I'd bought a few of these. Looks like they're going for around $200 on ebay. Quick profit.
That is interesting - because I would have thought this would have to have a name on it or something - what stops you from eating and then passing it on to someone else at work to eat for $5, and 'renting' out your card.

Or maybe when you get the card you 'register' it and they check ID at the table - so you could sell it before you officially register it.
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Old 09-09-14, 04:49 PM
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Re: Olive Garden Never Ending Pasta Pass

Originally Posted by covenant View Post
I'm surprised Longhorn is owned by the same people. Longhorn is a decent place.
This is Darden's official website:

http://www.darden.com/

You can see the line of restaurants they have. Red Lobster and Olive Garden have been talked about for a long time as dogs in their portfolio, which usually contains higher end establishments. As you can see on their website, they've already quickly removed Red Lobster from their list of restaurants since they sold them off a couple of months ago. Had dinner at Seasons 52 a couple of months ago for my birthday. It was excellent. Food was very fresh and tasty.
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Old 09-09-14, 09:22 PM
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Re: Olive Garden Never Ending Pasta Pass

Last few times I went to Olive Garden were really gross, but I still probably would have bought this.
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Old 09-09-14, 10:04 PM
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Re: Olive Garden Never Ending Pasta Pass

Originally Posted by covenant View Post
I'm surprised Longhorn is owned by the same people. Longhorn is a decent place.
Well, they've only owned it for 7 years. Thankfully, they haven't screwed it up too much (yet), but these new "tiny steaks with cheese on them" specials they're advertising now kind of scare me (I'm from Atlanta, so LongHorn has a special place in my heart).

As for Olive Garden, I probably would have bought this if I were still single. Back when I lived by myself, I'd sometimes go out to eat somewhere nice, or make something special at home. But many, many dinners were literally just "food", as in, "something to make my belly stop rumbling". This sounds like it could be a pretty good deal.
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Old 09-09-14, 10:31 PM
  #63  
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Re: Olive Garden Never Ending Pasta Pass

Originally Posted by DVD Polizei View Post
... but I hear the salads are ok. Can you really screw up salads? I guess for $100, eating salads everyday would be a good deal.
You beat me to it. I wouldn't be surprised if a notable percentage of the people who bought the pass never eat any pasta. They have a cult following for their salad.

The goody-goody in the original article who blasted Olive Garden for "all you can eat" missed a golden opportunity. Rather than telling people to stay home and make "special pasta" (what the f--k is that? Is that code for sex? Should they use "special white sauce"?) she should have encouraged people to take advantage of the salad angle of this. In fact, this could make for a decent diet plan. (I would be happy to accept a job in your marketing department.)

Yes it is cool to hate on Olive Garden, but I do it anyway. Fast food concept trying to convince people they are fine dining. Bleh.
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Old 09-09-14, 10:37 PM
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Re: Olive Garden Never Ending Pasta Pass

If they didn't produce such irritating television advertising, it would be much better.
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Old 09-10-14, 12:05 AM
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Re: Olive Garden Never Ending Pasta Pass

Originally Posted by Abob Teff View Post

Yes it is cool to hate on Olive Garden, but I do it anyway. Fast food concept trying to convince people they are fine dining. Bleh.

I don't think anyone is buying that this is fine dining. I take it for what it is, casual chain dining
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Old 09-13-14, 09:41 AM
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Re: Olive Garden Never Ending Pasta Pass

Can't say I'm surprised, as I knew OG sucked hard, but, my god, what a bunch of cheap bastards.

A Hedge Fund's 294-Page Recipe for Fixing Olive Garden


Olive Garden doesn’t know how to cook pasta, soaks its salads in too much dressing, dumps sauce haphazardly atop its dishes, forgets to sell wine, and has strayed far from its Italian roots with dishes no one in Italy would touch. And that’s how the slumping restaurant chain is seen by people who dearly want to see it flourish.

Starboard Value, one of Darden Restaurants’ (DRI) largest shareholders, believes Olive Garden and its parent company can still turn things around under all-new management—and with dozens of highly specific changes to almost every aspect of how it runs restaurants. The activist hedge fund released a soup-to-nuts 294-page revival plan late Thursday, ahead of Darden’s latest earnings report. Total sales in the past quarter of $1.6 billion matched the company’s guidance; Olive Garden, its largest chain, saw yet another drop in same-store sales.

The gang at Starboard clearly enjoyed writing their manifesto for fixing Olive Garden, even though the firm’s stake in Darden has lost more than 12 percent of its value so far this year. The document addresses everything from use of corporate jets and limousine rides to the sizes of straws and chicken breasts. It also calls for the ouster of Darden’s entire 12-person board. All told, Starboard claims its reform program could boost earnings by as much as $326 million. Here are the highlights:


Can I get a drink, please? Darden’s alcohol sales severely lag its casual-dining competitors’, making up only 8 percent of sales while its peers soak up an average of 16.5 percent. Back in the 1990s and 2000s, Starboard notes, Darden and Olive Garden did a better job moving wine and notched about 13 percent of sales this way. “Wine is an integral part of the authentic Italian family dining experience. It appears that management has not focused or executed on the obvious alcohol opportunity.”

Enough with the breadsticks! Olive Garden uses as many as 700 million breadsticks across the chain, averaging three per diner. Since most diners do not eat all three, the rest go into the trash, incurring “massive, unnecessary waste.” What’s more, according to Starboard gastronomes, the current offering is a refined flour product “with more air and less flavor (similar to hot dog buns).” Better breadstick management could save as much as $5 million per year.

The pasta is overcooked—and needs salt. “If you Google ‘how to cook pasta,’ the first step of Pasta 101 is to salt the water.” Here’s the full rant on the topic:
Story: Olive Garden Pushes Smaller Portions and Online Ordering

Shockingly, Olive Garden no longer salts the water it uses to boil the pasta, merely to get a longer warranty on its pots. This appalling decision shows just how little regard management has for delivering a quality experience to guests. We believe this results in a mushy, unappealing product that is well below competitors’ quality despite similar cost. How can management of the world’s largest Italian restaurant chain think it is okay to serve poorly prepared pasta?”

Ouch.

The “Cadillac” of take-home containers. “Why do the to-go containers need to be dishwasher safe?” Starboard asks in a passage that compares Darden’s to-go boxes to Cadillacs. Overengineered packaging drives up costs by about $22 million each year, according to Starboard.

Give it a rest with all the Olive Garden TV commercials. Darden advertises on national television 50 weeks per year, compared with only 39 weeks for its rivals, who tend to skip periods when potential customers aren’t watching much TV. Starboard says the company has also been slow to embrace social media and digital tools—where’s the Olive Garden app? “Rather than fixing its message and media mix, it appears that Darden has chosen the brute force method of throwing money at the problem using the blunt instrument of national TV ads.” To be fair, Darden executives did cite social media on Friday’s earnings call as an important tool to engage customers.
Story: Olive Garden, Darden's Slightly Sagging Star, Needs a Renaissance

What’s with the huge menus?
Red Lobster, another restaurant in the Darden empire, has 138 menu items; at rival seafood chains such as Bonefish Grill and Joe’s Crab Shack, the number is closer to 80. Darden’s LongHorn Steakhouse chain likewise offers 98 dishes while rivals Texas Roadhouse and Outback Steakhouse have 70 or fewer. The flagship, Olive Garden, has 26 more items than competitor Romano’s Macaroni Grill. This “menu complexity” increases the need for more employees, Starboard argues, and customers don’t care about all the extra choices.

Why bother with that new Olive Garden logo? Changing all those signs will cost about $42 million, based on an estimate of $50,000 each to rebrand 837 restaurants. “Out of all the problems currently at Olive Garden, the last thing management should be focused on is Olive Garden’s logo,” Starboard says in a passage that dismisses the rebranding as a sign of “a loose spending policy.” The signage is “irrelevant at this moment” and won’t help the underlying business. (Not to mention design critics consider the new logo “inoffensive and charmless.”)

Slow-motion turnover at the tables. Olive Garden takes as long as five minutes to clean and set a table for the next guest, compared with about one minute at what Starboard considers a successful casual-dining restaurant. The slower turns also lead to 60- to 90-minute waits for a table on Friday and Saturday nights. Starboard says a faster table turn could improve earnings by $6 million each year.

You people know nothing about wine. Olive Garden isn’t pushing wine with its Italian-inspired entrees partially because the wait staff isn’t trained to understand vintages, taste, color, preferences, and how to serve wine. “Or, at the very least, taking a drink order.”

Darden executives who plow through the full, snark-filled prescription may also be ready for a drink.
So it's just a company that's run like shit, which doesn't really give a fuck about it's food.
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Old 09-20-14, 01:37 AM
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Re: Olive Garden Never Ending Pasta Pass

Originally Posted by CPA-ESQ. View Post
That is interesting - because I would have thought this would have to have a name on it or something - what stops you from eating and then passing it on to someone else at work to eat for $5, and 'renting' out your card.

Or maybe when you get the card you 'register' it and they check ID at the table - so you could sell it before you officially register it.
Got my card this morning. And yeah, it has my name on it. Fairly sure they'll be checking my ID every time I use it. Must suck to be those people selling them on eBay.
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Old 09-20-14, 01:47 AM
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Re: Olive Garden Never Ending Pasta Pass

Well, just checked eBay out of curiosity, there are about 15 of these listed, with BuyItNow's ranging from $200 to $500. I read the descriptions for a couple, they seem to indicate the same thing, claim that OG has publicly stated that they will honor cards bought on eBay, despite the name difference, sounds like they want the new holder to contact OG and they will arrange for a replacement card with the correct name.
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Old 09-20-14, 01:53 AM
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Re: Olive Garden Never Ending Pasta Pass

Waiting to read about the first fatality.
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Old 09-26-14, 07:34 PM
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Re: Olive Garden Never Ending Pasta Pass

This guy is going every day and blogging about it.

http://allofgarden.com/

On September 8th, I purchased a Pasta Pass, and immediately realized my life's goal. For the 49 days of Olive Garden's Never Ending Pasta Bowl™, I will consume nothing but food obtained through that fine establishment. On this site, I will document my journey - the friendships I create and destroy, the changes my body goes through as it adjusts to a purely carbohydrate-based diet, reviews of each and every one of the 150+ combinations of pasta, sauce, and toppings - and so on.
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Old 09-26-14, 08:42 PM
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Re: Olive Garden Never Ending Pasta Pass

Originally Posted by fumanstan View Post
This guy is going every day and blogging about it.

http://allofgarden.com/
Decent read, but not enough words. Also, he's going to die.
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Old 09-26-14, 09:08 PM
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Re: Olive Garden Never Ending Pasta Pass

Originally Posted by fumanstan View Post
This guy is going every day and blogging about it.

http://allofgarden.com/
Day 49:

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Old 09-29-14, 06:42 PM
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Re: Olive Garden Never Ending Pasta Pass

Apparently, Chicago just got it's first Olive Garden. Hooray -- we finally have an option for Italian food, assuming you ignore the hundreds of much better Italian restaurants across the city.
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Old 09-29-14, 08:04 PM
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Re: Olive Garden Never Ending Pasta Pass

I am so jealous of Chicago's Italian restaurants. We have a lot of great places to eat here in the LA area, but good Italian is slim pickings.
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Old 09-29-14, 08:12 PM
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Re: Olive Garden Never Ending Pasta Pass

Originally Posted by slop101 View Post
I am so jealous of Chicago's Italian restaurants. We have a lot of great places to eat here in the LA area, but good Italian is slim pickings.
Yeah, that goes for most of California. Here and the Bay Area are really hurting for decent authentic Italian. I've yet to find any as long as I've lived out here.
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