Olive Garden to Unveil a Really Crazy 'Never-Ending' Deal
American appetites for casual chain dining are seemingly endless -- a fact illuminated by Olive Garden's latest promotion, which will offer 1,000 lucky customers unlimited portions of pasta this fall.
Today, the Darden-owned chain is offering for sale "Never Ending Pasta Passes" to the first 1,000 visitors to its website. The $100 gift cards will bestow each holder with seven weeks' worth of endless pasta, salad, bread and Coca-Cola branded drinks. The sale kicks off at 3 p.m. ET.
The publicity stunt dovetails with the chain's nationwide "Never Ending Pasta Bowl" offer -- an annual promotion during which all guests can feast on unlimited pasta for $9.99. "What we're trying to do is get some attention," Olive Garden's EVP of marketing, Jay Spenchian, told USA Today. "We're trying to make our fans feel like VIPs."
Last year, he added, the 800-store chain -- which has been under severe investor pressure following tepid sales -- served up 13 million bowls of never ending pasta.
And though it may point to a nutritional liability, a whole host of casual chains are satiating endless appetites at the moment in order to attract voracious diners and create social buzz.
TGI Friday's is currently offering "Endless Appetizers" for $10, while Olive Garden's former sister company, Red Lobster, has once again rolled out its "Endless Shrimp" promotion. Outback Steakhouse is also offering a $15.99 dish featuring steak and unlimited shrimp.
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