One of Olive Garden’s biggest traffic-building deals is back with the return of the Never Ending Pasta Bowl after a hiatus of two years during the pandemic, the company confirmed.
The casual-dining division of Orlando, Fla.-based Darden Restaurants Inc. said this year’s pasta promotion will run Oct. 3-Nov. 20.
“Guests can enjoy unlimited servings of their favorite pasta combinations, homemade soup or salad and freshly baked breadsticks, starting at $13.99,” a spokesperson said. “Each never-ending topping (meatballs, Italian sausage, crispy chicken) can be added for $4.99.”
This marks the 25th year of the Never Ending Pasta Bowl promotion.
While Darden executives on earlier earnings calls had been skeptical deals like the Never Ending Pasta Bowl might return, the current economic uncertainties sent the brand into its toolkit of promotions.
In December 2021, Rick Cardenas, now CEO and president of Darden, had said, “We decided to reduce the dependency on the Never Ending Pasta Bowl this year because we didn’t need to drive volume into our restaurants.”
Jaime Bunker, Olive Garden’s senior vice president of marketing, added Friday in a statement: “Over the last two years, Olive Garden has simplified limited-time offerings (LTOs) and menu items to get back to the core of what our loyal guests expect from us — never-ending, abundant, craveable Italian food at an affordable, everyday value.
“Never Ending Pasta Bowl is a fan-favorite promotion that our guests were eager to see back on the menu,” Bunker added. “That demand, coupled with a return to pre-pandemic dining trends, makes this the right time to bring back Never Ending Pasta Bowl to create excitement and give our loyal guests another reason to visit Olive Garden.”
The 2022 Never Ending Pasta Bowl Menu will include: a choice of pasta (fettuccine, spaghetti, rigatoni or angel hair); sauce (creamy mushroom, marinara, five-cheese marinara, meat sauce and alfredo); and the extra toppings (meatballs, Italian sausage and chicken fritta).
The meals come with restaurant’s never-ending soup, salad and breadsticks.
Olive Garden had teased the deal’s return on TikTok and in emails to loyalty rewards members.
Olive Garden originally began offering unlimited servings of pasta in 1995, but the deal was lifted in 2020 and 2021 during the height of COVID19.
As of Aug. 28, Darden had 887 Olive Gardens among its 1,875 restaurant locations, which also include Longhorn Steakhouse, Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen, Yard House and The Capital Grille.
Contact Ron Ruggless at Ronald.Ruggless@Informa.com
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