Earlier this week, Olive Garden started dropping teasers (along with a countdown clock) about a returning promotion with the simple phrase, “It’s back.” The TikTok clues haven’t exactly been subtle—the first one is just a video of seemingly “never ending” pasta bowls, and a more recent video drops the name of the car brand “Infiniti” just before the word “pasta.” Well, now Olive Garden has officially confirmed what we already knew (and let’s be honest, hoped for): the Never Ending Pasta Bowl is back.
Despite the less than inscrutable clues, this promotion comes as a bit of a surprise after the chain restaurant’s CEO Ricardo Cardenas said last winter that the discount pasta deal had had a “negative impact” on the chain. But after keeping an eye on the ever-evolving state of the restaurant industry, it was decided that now was the time for this bit of fan service.
“The high demand for Never Ending Pasta Bowl, coupled with the fact that folks are finally returning to pre-pandemic dining habits, makes this the right time to bring back Limited Time Offers like this one, which focus on our competitive advantages of never-ending, abundant, craveable Italian food, and get our loyal guests excited about visiting our restaurants,” SVP of marketing Jamie Bunker tells The Takeout.
This year marks the 25th year of the promotion, a nice marketable anniversary that’s surely another incentive for bringing the deal back. It’s been two years since the deal was last featured on the Olive Garden menu, and even then customers had to first buy an exclusive Pasta Pass to be able to partake. This time around the promotion will be available to everyone, with just a few small changes.
The Never Ending Pasta Bowl deal will run from October 3 to November 20 for customers dining in at all Olive Garden locations. When the deal was last available it was just $10.99—now the price has been bumped up to $13.99, and toppings (Meatballs, Italian Sausage, and Crispy Chicken Fritta) will cost an extra $4.99. It’s pricier, but still not a bad deal compared to the rest of the menu, especially if you come hungry enough for seconds.
The deal includes unlimited pasta, breadsticks, and either salad or soup. You can mix and match each pasta dish as you go, with the ability to choose one type of pasta (Fettuccine, Spaghetti, Rigatoni, and Angel Hair), one type of sauce (Made-from-scratch Creamy Mushroom, Traditional Marinara, Five Cheese Marinara, Traditional Meat Sauce, and Alfredo), and an optional topping for each serving. Gluten-free pasta is also available upon request.
Bunker says that in prior years of the Never Ending Pasta Bowl promotion, Fettuccine Alfredo and Spaghetti with Meatballs were the most popular combinations—and that’s true of customers who order off the traditional menu as well. Sure, you can’t go wrong with the classics, but why not get a little crazier this time around?
While the pasta may be never ending, the deal won’t last forever, so make it count.