But, things are a little different this year. Not only will 24,000 lucky winners get nine weeks of unlimited pasta, soup, salad and breadsticks for $100 plus tax, 50 of those winners will have the chance to purchase the Lifetime Pasta Pass for an additional $400 (plus tax).
That means Olive Garden pasta, soup, salad and breadsticks for the rest of your life.
“Olive Garden has always been known for Italian Generosity and making everyone feel like family, which is why we introduced our Pasta Pass five years ago,” Executive Vice President of Marketing Jennifer Arguello said in a press release. “With the introduction of our new Lifetime Pasta Pass, we’re excited to be a part of our biggest fans’ memories around the table for years to come.”
Here’s how it works. On Thursday, August 15 at 1:55 p.m. ET, customers can visit PastaPass.com to enter the waiting room. The sale officially begins at 2 p.m. ET, and if you’re one of the first 50 people to buy the Never Ending Pasta Pass, Olive Garden will send you an email with the option to opt-in to the Lifetime Past Pass. Those who win, will have 48 hours to respond to the email confirming their purchase.
The winners are able to use their Lifetime Pasta Passes any day, with the exception of Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day when Olive Garden restaurants are closed. Olive Garden estimates that the pass will be paid off by the time the 45th bowl of pasta is consumed.
Ever since its introduction, the Never Ending Pasta promotion has been wildly successful for the company, whose parent is Darden Restaurants. Darden has been seeing strong same-store sales momentum at its Olive Garden stores thanks to management’s continued focus on value. Promotions like the Never Ending Pasta Pass has helped the restaurant stay competitive amongst its peers, and the stock has jumped as a result.
Shares of Darden have risen 11% over the past year, while the S&P 500 (^GSPC) rose 4%. Rivals Cheesecake Factory (CAKE) fell 18%, BJ’s Restaurant (BJRI) tumbled 42% and Chili’s parent Brinker International (EAT) sank 8%.
Heidi Chung is a reporter at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter: @heidi_chung.
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