Olive Garden's Never Ending Pasta Bowl Might Never Return
Apparently, never-ending pasta isn't never-ending.
Olive Garden is known for a few things. Namely, its never-ending offerings, like soup, salad, breadsticks, and pasta. Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end—even those that are supposed to be never-ending. Olive Garden's incoming new CEO revealed that the restaurant may never bring back its never-ending pasta bowl promotion.
According to Business Insider, the deal, which gets you a bowl of pasta with endless refills for $10.99, was one Olive Garden would roll out periodically. Customers could enjoy as much pasta as they could stomach under the promotion, as well as unlimited breadsticks and salad. For an extra price, they could add accouterments to their dishes like shrimp or meatballs.
The promotion has reportedly not been rolled out since 2019, and, according to CEO Ricardo Cardenas, may not return.
"We don't know if or when we'll bring it back," he said on the call, citing a "negative impact."
Business Insider noted that the promotion succeeded in drawing in customers, but did not help the chain increase profit margins. Basically, the promotion was a hail Mary that Olive Garden would deploy in times of low sales. Currently, however, sales are up at the chain over pre-COVID-19 levels, as well as ahead of the last time it offered its never-ending pasta bowl promo.
Long story short, Olive Garden is trying to "reduce dependency" on flashy promos like this one to draw folks in, according to Cardenas. However, those that come for the never-ending salad and breadsticks need not fear. Olive Garden will not be doing away with its bottomless first course. Phew!