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Olive Garden Never Ending Pasta Pass

Old 09-08-14, 02:51 PM
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Olive Garden Never Ending Pasta Pass

http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/...ants/15139803/

Olive Garden is about to try a pretty outlandish gimmick to lure folks in the door: pasta up the kazoo.

They're not calling it that, of course. But on Monday, the casual dining chain whose business has seriously softened in recent years, will announce plans for its first-ever "Never Ending Pasta Pass" -- which, for $100, gives the holder the right to consume all of the pasta, salad, bread and Coca-Cola branded soft drinks that they can stuff down for seven weeks.

But you may need to act fast. Only 1,000 of these pasta passes will be sold -- beginning Monday at 3 p.m. ET -- online via the Olive Garden web site. Nothing like being one of 1,000 VIP's who can gorge on pasta for 49 days in a row. The PR stunt piggybacks with the chain's annual "Never Ending Pasta Bowl" promo, Sept. 22 through Nov. 9., which lets folks eat all the pasta they want for $9.99.

"What we're trying to do is get some attention," says Jay Spenchian, executive vice president of marketing. "It's sure to provoke a reaction."

There's been a recent rash of all-you-can eat promotions in casual dining. Little wonder. In a struggling industry, these promos tend to generate social media buzz and boost customer visits. In July, TGI Friday's rolled out an "Endless Appetizers" promotion that let folks chow down all the appetizers they wanted for $10. Red Lobster, the former sister company to Olive Garden, is in the midst of its "Endless Shrimp" fest, which fetches about $15.99, depending on location. And Outback currently has a $15.99 Steak and Unlimited Shrimp promo.

Last year during its "Never Ending Pasta Bowl" promotion, Olive Garden served 13 million bowls, says Spenchian. "It's our most popular and most requested promotion," he says. And, he notes, the 800-store chain hopes to attract more attention to the promotion by tacking-on the $100 Never Ending Pasta Pass.

But wait, warns Robyn Flipse, a registered dietitian and author of the book Fighting the Freshman Fifteen. Any promotion that stresses all-you-can-eat works contrary to the one of the most important aspects of the dining experience: remaining mindful of what you eat. "If the primary object is to get your money's worth, it has nothing to do with good nutrition," she says. Instead, she recommends, prepare some special pasta at home -- and save a lot of calories and money.

But Spenchian says this Olive Garden promotion isn't about gorging but about fun. "We're trying to make our fans feel like VIPs," he says. That's one reason that up to seven guests who eat with the pass-holder will receive freebie Coca-Cola branded drinks, he says.

There are some limits, however. For example, you're not supposed the share the pasta with others at the table. "Of course, if someone shares we do understand -- we're not policing the tables," he says.

As for the $100 pass-holder who opts to eat every lunch and dinner at Olive Garden for seven weeks, well, Spenchian says that's no problem at all. "I'd love to see that," he says. "Especially if they bring four or five guests along."

For those wondering about leftovers, yes, doggie bags are okay.
Just read about this about an hour ago, went to the OG website and it was already live at 2:55 PM, site was getting hammered, but I finally got through and got one! Anyone else going pasta crazy?

I plan on using the dickens out of it, but most trips will be salad and soft drinks, just covered about 7 weeks worth of lunches with some dinners thrown in!
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Old 09-08-14, 03:02 PM
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Re: Olive Garden Never Ending Pasta Pass

Sold out. I so would have done this. I have one right around the corner from my home.
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Old 09-08-14, 03:06 PM
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Re: Olive Garden Never Ending Pasta Pass

They went quickly - 2 people on Fatwallet received confirmation e-mails but until you have the card in your hand these could be canceled at any time.

Good for college kids... or a weight lifter / runner looking to carb up on a daily basis
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Old 09-08-14, 03:11 PM
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Re: Olive Garden Never Ending Pasta Pass

Originally Posted by Shoveler View Post
but I finally got through and got one!
Be sure to post updates on your experience. I predict you will get totally sick of it after about a month.

Also because your screen name is appropriate for this challenge!
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Old 09-08-14, 03:24 PM
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Re: Olive Garden Never Ending Pasta Pass

That's one way to get rid of your expiring product. I approve.
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Old 09-08-14, 03:41 PM
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Re: Olive Garden Never Ending Pasta Pass

So for $100... the standard Never Ending Bowl cost is $9.99... so assuming you get a Coke product each visit (about $2.59) you need to eat there at least 8 times to make it worth the money. Without a Coke, it's 11 visits.
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Old 09-08-14, 04:12 PM
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Re: Olive Garden Never Ending Pasta Pass

The crappiest food imaginable... now all you can stomach!
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Old 09-08-14, 04:18 PM
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Re: Olive Garden Never Ending Pasta Pass

I love how people are acting like they won something.
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Old 09-08-14, 04:18 PM
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Re: Olive Garden Never Ending Pasta Pass

Yuck.

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Old 09-08-14, 04:26 PM
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Re: Olive Garden Never Ending Pasta Pass

I'd pay someone $100 if I could guarantee that I would never have to eat at Olive Garden again.
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Old 09-08-14, 04:53 PM
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Re: Olive Garden Never Ending Pasta Pass

Originally Posted by CPA-ESQ. View Post
They went quickly - 2 people on Fatwallet received confirmation e-mails but until you have the card in your hand these could be canceled at any time.

Good for college kids... or a weight lifter / runner looking to carb up on a daily basis
Well, yeah, I got my confirmation email as well, and while I've been prepared for the potential cancellation, I'm hoping they realize the bad PR that would result (at a time they are desperately trying to generate good PR!). I was holding my breath, expecting an "out of stock" or some similar message, but I would sure think that having gotten through checkout and received the confirmation email would seal the deal. Oh, and the charge has already appeared on my card.

As for the quality, I knew there are OG haters out there, but I like it. I enjoy the salads, and its close to work, therefore convenient for lunches.

Lord Zarak, sorry I didn't get in sooner to give you a shot at it. I'm lucky I saw it when I did! (or unlucky, in the eyes of the OG haters )
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Old 09-08-14, 04:54 PM
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Re: Olive Garden Never Ending Pasta Pass

I love their salads, and find their pasta acceptable, especially if I add one of the meat add-ons.

The old me would have waited in line for this deal and eaten there at least 60 times in those 49 days.
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Old 09-08-14, 04:55 PM
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Re: Olive Garden Never Ending Pasta Pass

I will say that T.G.I.Friday's unlimited appetizers for $10 is a good time.
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Old 09-08-14, 04:57 PM
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Re: Olive Garden Never Ending Pasta Pass

So let me get this straight -- I get to significantly increase my chance of heart disease for only $100!? Sign me up!
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Old 09-08-14, 05:04 PM
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Re: Olive Garden Never Ending Pasta Pass

They'd have to pay me 100 dollars. Then I would give away my pass.
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Old 09-08-14, 05:28 PM
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Re: Olive Garden Never Ending Pasta Pass

I'd rather be raped by the devil than eat at Olive Garden.
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Old 09-08-14, 05:40 PM
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Re: Olive Garden Never Ending Pasta Pass

Well, I'd rather eat at Olive Garden than be raped by the devil. Different strokes for different folks, I guess.
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Old 09-08-14, 05:41 PM
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Re: Olive Garden Never Ending Pasta Pass

Is Olive Garden really that bad? Or is it just cool to hate on them? I haven't been there since I was a kid. I mostly know the jokes from Conan.

I think Red Lobster is an alright place. And that gets shit on a lot too.
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Old 09-08-14, 05:41 PM
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Re: Olive Garden Never Ending Pasta Pass

I'd rather eat a pasta bowl from Domino's than go to the Olive Garden.

Originally Posted by Troy Stiffler View Post
Is Olive Garden really that bad? Or is it just cool to hate on them? I haven't been there since I was a kid. I mostly know the jokes from Conan.
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.

Last edited by Sean O'Hara; 09-08-14 at 05:48 PM.
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Old 09-08-14, 05:44 PM
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Re: Olive Garden Never Ending Pasta Pass

I think its just cool to hate on them. Notwithstanding the fact that DaveyJoe enjoys a good satanic ass rape from time to time.
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Old 09-08-14, 05:49 PM
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Re: Olive Garden Never Ending Pasta Pass

Does this pass include any low card gluten free pasta options?
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Old 09-08-14, 05:51 PM
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Re: Olive Garden Never Ending Pasta Pass

Originally Posted by Shoveler View Post
I think its just cool to hate on them. Notwithstanding the fact that DaveyJoe enjoys a good satanic ass rape from time to time.
It's nothing compared to the damage OG's Chicken Carbonara will do to your colon.
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Old 09-08-14, 05:57 PM
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Re: Olive Garden Never Ending Pasta Pass

I never thought Olive Garden was that bad, but then again I also created a fast food thread so my tastes aren't that picky. I like most of the restaurant chains mentioned.
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Old 09-08-14, 06:06 PM
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Re: Olive Garden Never Ending Pasta Pass

I stopped eating there in the 90's (had a nasty chicken parm and never came back), 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.
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Old 09-08-14, 06:08 PM
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Re: Olive Garden Never Ending Pasta Pass

Originally Posted by DaveyJoe View Post
It's nothing compared to the damage OG's Chicken Carbonara will do to your colon.
As a vegetarian who doesn't consider, let alone embrace, anal rape as an alternative to restaurants I don't enjoy, I'll just have to take your word on it on both counts.
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