How Olive Garden Plans to Make $2.6 Million in 1 Second

The Pasta Pass is back.
  • The restaurant chain expects to earn millions in a mere second on Aug. 23 with its Pasta Pass deal.
  • Olive Garden will be offering an annual Never Ending Pasta Pass this time around, at a price of $300.
  • Last year’s eight-week pass sold out in one second.

This year has felt like the year of one consumer disappointment after another. Consumers are paying more for toilet paper, and Americans felt the pinch at the gas pumps this summer. But an upcoming consumer event has the potential to undo all that financial frustration. The solution: a year’s worth of unlimited pasta, soup or salad and breadsticks.  

Now in its fifth year, Olive Garden’s wildly successful Never Ending Pasta Pass is back and will provide eight weeks of unlimited servings of pasta (gluten-free rotini is available), sauces and toppings from the Never Ending Pasta Bowl menu and unlimited soup or salad and breadsticks to satiate the country’s biggest appetites all in exchange for $100 plus tax.

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Spinning off of that deal, Olive Garden is blessing the carb lovers of America and introducing its Annual Pasta Pass. That means 52 weeks of infinite pasta, soup or salad and breadsticks all for $300 plus tax, proving that you don’t need a big wallet, just a big appetite.

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And as it turns out, Olive Garden managed to sell out of the 24,000 passes that were available. In previous years, the passes sold out within a second. This year, it appears the passes sold out within a second again, according to The San Diego Union-Tribune.

To prevent the whole country from sliding into a grain and starched-fueled frenzy, there’s a major catch. Pasta Passes are limited and will only be on sale for 30 minutes or until they sell out. Below are details about the sale that took place:

  • Date: Thursday, Aug. 23 
  • Time: 2 p.m. ET
  • Cost: $300 plus tax for Annual Pasta Pass, $100 plus tax for eight-week Pasta Pass
  • How to purchase: Visit PastaPass.com 
  • Availability: Eight-week Pasta Pass — 23,000 passes; Annual Pasta Pass — 1,000 passes

Darden Restaurants, Olive Garden’s parent company, is likely to make $2.6 million in one second tomorrow with the sale of 24,000 passes. That’s a lot of dough for a company that was financially struggling and a chain that was falling out of public favor just a few years ago. Plans for the chain’s rebranding and remodeling were announced in 2014 with the intention of shifting it away from the restaurant’s rustic and old-world feel to a more modern and sleek look.

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Olive Garden’s new logo was met with public jeers, but the stock price has been proving otherwise. Amid reports that millennials are killing casual dining, in the last five years, Darden Restaurants’ stock price has been trending upward. The company has also made several plays to attract millennial customers by adding millennial staples like rosé wine and kale to the menu, creating photogenic dishes to appeal to social media obsessed diners and increasing the company’s social responsibility visibility.  

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