Olive Garden is desperate. We all know it, and Olive Garden knows it too. Either people don’t really have the time to eat there and opt for something almost as terrible but at least quicker like Chipotle or they do have time and want to eat something that actually tastes like at least one ingredient wasn’t frozen. Instead of just making better food and solving the problem that way, Olive Garden said a long time ago, you know what? Screw it. We’re just going to give the people more of our terrible food that tastes like glue and hope for the best.
Well, it hasn’t really worked. Even with promotions like the “Never Ending Pasta Bowl” and “Buy One, Take One” (and get a movie!), the chain has, according to Slate, “faced decreasing traffic in nine out of the past 13 years.” So, despite basically begging people to eat its food, Olive Garden still hasn’t figured out how to return to the glory years of the 1990s.
But Olive Garden is not ready to give up! No, no, no. And it has a new strategy. OK, actually it’s the same exact strategy only MORE.
On Monday, Olive Garden announced its “Never Ending Pasta Pass.” By paying the restaurant a mere $100, you could have as much pasta, bread, salad, and soda as you want for seven weeks. Because it’s Olive Garden we’re talking about you could even take home leftovers. There was a catch though: Only 1,000 golden penne tickets would be made available.
Not sounding desperate at all, Olive Garden’s executive vice president of marketing, Jay Spenchian, explained the idea behind the promotion. “What we’re trying to do is get some attention,” said Spenchian. “It’s sure to provoke a reaction.” And, if provoking a reaction was what Olive Garden wanted, a reaction is what it got (even though the promotion kind of blew up in its face). The passes sold out in 45 minutes and a bunch of blogs and websites are talking about Olive Garden, which hasn’t happened since that sweet, old lady wrote the best restaurant review of all time.
Not to fear though, friends. If you missed out on the fusilli card, you’ll still be able to get the “Never Ending Pasta Bowl” deal when it returns in 12 days. After that, why not head over to Friday’s for its “Endless Appetizer” special? I hear the mozzarella sticks are pretty good.
Charlie Crespo (@Little_Utopia) is the editor-in-chief of Little Utopia.
Previously from Charlie Crespo:
♦ Viral Video of the Week: If You Play Lorde’s “Royals,” You Will be Surrounded by Cows
♦ Ban Comments
♦ Striker Depth Could be Achilles Heel for Chelsea
♦ Viral Video of the Week: Best Restaurant Commercial of All Time
♦ Viral Video of the Week: Georgia Bulldogs’ Malcolm Mitchell is in the Best Book Club