$100 for 7 WEEKS of Unlimited Olive Garden?

My neck hurts. It’s not from sleeping in a strange position, although I probably did. It’s from shaking my head so furiously after seeing Olive Garden’s new promotion. Perhaps you’ve heard about it. For $100, 1000 Olive Garden fans purchased the right to take unlimited Tours of Italy for 49 days in a row. The sale started at noon today and in 45 minutes, all 1000 passes were sold out. Head shake head shake head shake.

Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not shaking my head because I disapprove of Olive Garden or the people who eat there. No way. In fact, I grew up loving Olive Garden’s cheese ravioli. My scorn is based around the idea that anyone needs that type of food — in unlimited quantities — every day for seven weeks. Obviously, not everyone who buys the pass is going to go every single day, but I bet anyone willing to shell out $100 for a pasta pass is going to make sure they get their money’s worth. At $9.99 for every Neverending Pasta Bowl meal, that means a minimum of ten meals. Quite honestly, even ten meals at Olive Garden in seven weeks is too many.

Olive Garden, like most chain restaurants, should be a once-in-a-while treat since their calorie and sodium counts are enormous. Putting out a promotion like this just spells trouble from a health perspective. From a financial perspective, though, it’s an incredible deal at $2 a day. If only Olive Garden decided to donate 1000 free meals for every pass they sold…

I truly hope somebody bought the pass with the intention of going to OG every single day of the promotion. I want to know what it’s like to live in chain restaurant hell for that long of a time period. Frankly, I really just want to know if they’ll be alive by the end of it.

Am I being too hard on Olive Garden here? Is there any redeeming merit in this promotion? You tell me.


  1. Ouch! I’m sure that a few crazed folks will do their best to visit everyday, to ‘get their money’s worth.’ I could not/would not do it. I enjoy a robust bowl of pasta as much (or more?) than the next fellow, and ~$2 per day is cheap. But… Olive Garden? Something less frequent than once per year is more than plenty. The only situation in which I can imagine this promotion viable is as a lunch spot if O.G. has a store close to the buyer’s work place.
    While O.G.’s food is not horrible, far better Italian food can still be had at very reasonable prices. I’ve not seen the Fine Print, but I’m sure that the offer includes plenty of restrictions. In any case, please remember that it is customary to tip based on the menu price and you can bet that any extras, probably including coffee will be additional. Why, one might ask, am I not a huge fan of Olive Garden? It reminds me or airline food! I cannot wait to hear from one or two ‘lucky souls’ who managed to purchase this 49-day pass and I look forward to reading their reports and reviews. -C.

  2. It would depend on the T&C for me. No, I don’t want to down a plate of Fettuccine Alfredo daily, but say I worked near an OG, I might stop in for 35 days for a lunch soup and salad and maybe have a plate or two of the FA. Total benefit would be 35*$5 + $20 = $195 for lunch for 5 weeks, that doesn’t sound too far from bring your own prices.

    • It’s just for pasta, salad, breadsticks. If you could live off that pre-packaged salad mix for 7 weeks, it might be worth it. Otherwise, you’ve got a one-way ticket to Fettuccine Alfredo City.

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