Olive Garden Will Sell 21,000 Unlimited Pasta Passes This Year

Image courtesy of Krista

Last year, Olive Garden put 1,000 regular and 1,000 “family” Neverending Pasta Passes up for sale, which sold out literally in one second. This year, the company is expanding the program, selling 21,000 passes. The key to this promotion isn’t the pass-holders: it’s the people they bring with them.

The pass will entitle the holder to theoretically unlimited pasta, salad, soup, breadsticks, and soft drinks multiple times per day. The “family” version, as you might imagine, lets them bring guests.

“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,” the executive VP of marketing for OG parent company Darden explained to Bloomberg, calling the pass-holders “brand ambassadors.”

The novelty of the pass leads holders to brag about it and bring their friends to dine even if they don’t have the “family” version of the pass. That might bring people in to the restaurant who haven’t tried Olive Garden recently, and maybe they’ll like it and come back.

One man used his pass in the first year, 2014, to buy to-go meals and bring them to people in need, doing good for the world and getting news coverage that served as free publicity for Olive Garden.

Was the novelty of the pass what made it so interesting, though? The company will find out when it prints up 19,000 more passes than last year. At least that will kill the black market.

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