The Italian restaurant chain Olive Garden has been in the news a lot recently, following an outlandish gimmick that definitely got the media and America talking.
With Millennials choosing to dine out at more trendy, healthy and less corporate dining establishments, big food chains are struggling to get diners through their doors. McDonald’s, the biggest restaurant chain in the world has reported that sales in the U.S. fell 2.8 percent in the month of August, while Olive Garden reported that visits to the chains had dropped 2.7 percent from the previous year.A recent PR stunt attracted the attention of the media reports Totes Newsworthy.
It is because of this reason that Olive Garden decided to try something drastic. The restaurant where “when you’re here, you’re family,” tried a unique and somewhat insane marketing tactic: selling 1,000 unlimited passes for 49 days of all-you-can-eat pasta for just $100.
As mentioned above, totes newsworthy shares that only 1,000 of these passes were sold that went on sale on the company’s website on Monday, September 8 at 3 p.m. EST. In just 45 minutes, the 1,000 passes were sold out, allowing these card holders to consume all of the pasta, breadsticks, salad, soup and soda they can eat for a 49-day period.
This new promotional tactic was launched just before the chain’s annual “Never Ending Pasta Bowl” promo that starts September 22 and runs through November 9. This promotion lets diners eat all of the pasta they want in a variety of combinations for just $9.99.
The idea of an endless meal or bottomless dish is not something new. Olive Garden has always offered bottomless soup, salad and breadsticks with any meal. Red Robin, the popular burger chain, has long offered bottomless fries and now offers bottomless refills on many of the other side dishes that diners can order with their meal. TGI Friday’s has an “Endless Appetizers” promotion, and Red Lobster has its “Endless Shrimp Feast.” The list goes on and on.
“This type of promotion can go either way,” said a Totes Newsworthy Reporter. “During times of economic hardship, consumers are obviously looking to get more bang for their buck. However, with the recent health craze, more focus is being put by the consumer on the quality of the food that they eat and not so much how much they eat of it. The younger generations are more concerned with their health than ever before.”
“On the other hand, the company did succeed in drawing a large amount of attention to its brand, which is something it has not seen for quite some time,” the reporter continued. “It remains to be seen whether this PR stunt will work out in the chain’s favor.”