Earlier this month, Olive Garden brought back its ultra-popular unlimited pasta pass this fall, and they sold out fast.
In 2015, the restaurant issued 2,000 passes, and they sold out in less than one minute. This year, Olive Garden offered 21,000 passes; they too sold out quickly. For the $100 cost of the pass, diners will receive unlimited pasta, salad, breadsticks and soft drinks between October 3 and November 20. As a bonus, the restaurant will now offer chicken alfredo—its most popular dish—as part of their deal.
The unlimited pasta pass guaranteed Olive Garden $2.1 million in sales, and while that is a relatively small number for a national restaurant chain, the amount of free publicity received is priceless.
Since there are no blackout dates, one could technically eat at Olive Garden every day during this seven-week period. Jose Duenas, executive vice president of marketing for the restaurant, expects pass holders to treat the establishment like a second home.
“Last year, we saw our Pasta Pass holders use their passes an average of 28 times over the seven-week promotion—often bringing along groups of friends,” Duenas said. “We were able to generate new excitement for a fan-favorite promotion while tapping into our most loyal guests and allowing them to serve as brand ambassadors.”
The restaurant certainly knows how to get people talking, and, of course, coming in. To coincide with the pass, Olive Garden is also offering its never-ending pasta special, another well-loved promotion in which patrons pay $9.99 per visit to make their own pasta from the choices offered and eat until they can’t fit even one more noodle in their stomachs. The never-ending pasta special is a good second option for anyone who doesn’t score a pass, yet still wants to grab a good deal and a ton of food.
This marks the 21st year that Olive Garden has offered this promotion.