Imagine an online offer for a restaurant chain that is so tempting it sells out in one second. That actually happened with the return of the Olive Garden's Never Ending Pasta Pass.
The original Never Ending Pasta Pass in 2014 was so popular that it crashed Olive Garden's website, and the passes sold out within 45 minutes. In 2017, with improved website capabilities, the 22,000 passes sold out in one second after going on sale, while the limited Annual Pasta Passes offered in 2018 also sold out in one second. This year, Olive Garden released 24,000 passes at 2pm ET on Thursday, August 15th, 2019 — and for the first time there were 50 Lifetime Pasta Passes available, too. All the passes sold out within a second.
What makes this deal so popular? For one thing, it is a spectacular deal for regular patrons of the Olive Garden. In essence, it is the Never Ending Pasta Bowl extended over multiple visits for a limited period of time — unlimited pasta bowls spread out over nine weeks – one week longer than 2018.
There are two types of Never Ending Pasta Passes. For $100, the same price as previous years, the Never Ending Pasta Pass entitles the Passholder to unlimited bowls of pasta, salad or soup, and freshly baked breadsticks over a nine-week period (September 23rd through November 24th). The average individual would only have to eat at the Olive Garden eight or nine times to get their money's worth. You can only redeem your pass for dine-in meals. Other dining guests do not receive the offer and are rung up on separate tickets. Even gluten-free pasta is included in the deal, but drinks and gratuity are not included.
It's possible to dine multiple times a week and save hundreds of dollars over the course of nine weeks — although you may need to buy a new wardrobe after realizing that your clothes do not fit anymore — so it is no surprise that the passes are popular. It is also no surprise that the supply is limited. While you may have had 24,000 chances at buying a pass, they would only be on sale for 30 minutes — or until they sold out. Olive Garden recommended visitors join the waiting room on PastaPass.com at 1:55pm to ensure they got a pass before they sold out.
When visitors bought their passes, they could also opt in to upgrade to a Lifetime Pasta Pass, which offered unlimited servings of pasta, sauce, and toppings from the Never Ending Pasta Bowl menu, as well as unlimited soup or salad and breadsticks, for the rest of their lives! Olive Garden estimates that a Lifetime Pasta Pass would be paid off by the 45th bowl of pasta. The first 50 Passholders who completed the purchase and opted in were eligible to upgrade their Pasta Passes to Lifetime Pasta Passes for an additional $400 each.
The lucky few who managed to purchase a pass will receive their pass in the mail as a personalized, non-transferable card to be presented upon ordering. As with any scarce and valuable item, Pasta Passes show up on eBay or Craigslist periodically. However, if you choose to buy one anywhere outside the Olive Garden website, you do so at your own risk. Olive Garden reserves the right to check identification. If you cannot produce ID, the restaurant may not allow you to redeem the pass. You may buy a pass for someone else, but be sure to put the recipient's name in the "Name to be printed on Pass" field on the checkout page, so that their pass matches their ID.
If your mouse was not fast enough this year or you did not even know about the promotion until it was too late, you may have another chance next year, so bookmark their promotional page on the Olive Garden website. If you missed out on this year's Pasta Pass promotion, you can take solace in the fact that you can still eat at the Olive Garden as a periodic treat, and that your clothes still fit.
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