Author Topic: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal  (Read 11096 times)

SnackDog

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 993
  • Location: Latin America
Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
« on: September 13, 2016, 03:35:35 AM »
Olive Garden is offering Unlimited Pasta for $100 for seven weeks. That works out to $2/day or $1/meal if you eat lunch and dinner every day.  Includes unlimited pasta, salad, bread sticks and drinks.  A great frugal choice if you live near OG and like the food.  I guess the more you eat the more you save.    (I haven't eaten at OG in 20 years and read bad things about the parent company, but would be tempted if I didn't live 5000 miles away from the nearest location and, uh, wasn't averse to pasta twice a day.) 


http://www.olivegarden.com/specials/never-ending-pasta-bowl
The habit of saving is itself an education; it fosters every virtue, teaches self-denial, cultivates the sense of order, trains to forethought, and so broadens the mind. –Thomas T. Munger

Cassie

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3839
Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
« Reply #1 on: September 13, 2016, 03:38:23 AM »
You would hate pasta long before you ever reached that point. That sounds disgusting!  This is not frugal but cheap.

terran

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 809
Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
« Reply #2 on: September 13, 2016, 06:53:48 AM »
Funny, but if you show up twice a day, every day for 7 weeks and never tip you'd better be ready for a healthy serving of spit with your pasta, so you might want to account for that in the cost too.

ohmylookatthat

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 50
Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
« Reply #3 on: September 13, 2016, 07:15:10 AM »
pasta everyday, just how healthy is that

froggirl

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 6
Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
« Reply #4 on: September 13, 2016, 07:38:39 AM »
My 23 year old son is 6'4" and weighs 160 lbs. He is a college student and on a budget, but wants to gain weight. He LOVES Olive Garden, and there is one a mile from home. I will be trying to snag one for him as a gift. Unfortunately, they sold out in the first second last year. They're increasing the number of passes from 2,000 to 21,000 so we might have a shot.

Thanks for posting this!!!

Miss Piggy

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 949
Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
« Reply #5 on: September 13, 2016, 07:49:41 AM »
I would gain at least 20 pounds if I did this. But I'd enjoy every bite...in a miserable kind of way toward the end.

Helvegen

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 507
  • Location: PNW
Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
« Reply #6 on: September 14, 2016, 12:49:51 PM »
Quote
I guess the more you eat the more you save.   

False economy though if it causes you to significantly overeat and then pack on unnecessary weight.

That was one of the harder pieces of fatlogic to part ways with when I finally committed to losing weight. You aren't saving anything if it keeps you fat with all the problems that come with that.

icemodeled

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 157
  • Location: Southwest FL
Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
« Reply #7 on: September 14, 2016, 12:51:46 PM »
My husband just showed me this the other night. It does add up to a very cheap meal if you ONLY ate there 2x a day for the entire 7 weeks. However.. Health wise, I don't think it's a good idea haha. We can eat very cheap per meal at home also and healthier. Nothing wrong with Olive Garden now and then, both of us have ate there a few times and enjoyed it but not everyday, twice a day! If it was other options - not pasta every single day then it maybe wouldn't be so bad.

GuitarStv

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 9449
  • Age: 36
  • Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
« Reply #8 on: September 14, 2016, 12:53:16 PM »
Funny, but if you show up twice a day, every day for 7 weeks and never tip you'd better be ready for a healthy serving of spit with your pasta, so you might want to account for that in the cost too.

No reason to stiff the waiter.  I might be inclined to tip as high as 25% in this case.

Hotstreak

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 754
Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
« Reply #9 on: September 14, 2016, 01:36:28 PM »
Funny, but if you show up twice a day, every day for 7 weeks and never tip you'd better be ready for a healthy serving of spit with your pasta, so you might want to account for that in the cost too.

No reason to stiff the waiter.  I might be inclined to tip as high as 25% in this case.

Always tip at least 1 George Washington.  Never thought that meant quarters, but I don't see why not!

iowajes

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5299
  • Location: United States
Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
« Reply #10 on: September 14, 2016, 01:47:54 PM »
Ordering this normally is $9.99. Assuming you drink water, you really should be leaving a $2 tip.

So $3 a meal, if you eat EVERY meal there.   You can pack your lunch for significantly less than $3 a day, and get way healthier food and more variety. I don't see this as savings.

I think I'd rather just pay the $10+tip to go get a never ending pasta bowl once during the promotion if I enjoy eating at Olive Garden.

Jack

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4745
  • Location: Atlanta, GA
Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
« Reply #11 on: September 14, 2016, 01:49:06 PM »
Hey everybody, remember that it's unlimited salad too. I haven't eaten there in a while, but I always liked Olive Garden's salad...

Roothy

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 89
Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
« Reply #12 on: September 14, 2016, 04:12:13 PM »
Where does it say salad, soup and breadsticks are included?  The link posted doesn't show that, and seems to declaim it (by declaring that nothing else is included, other than pasta and cokes).

If I lived or worked walking distance, I'd be tempted to try it almost on principle.  But I'd have to drive there.

gimp

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2359
Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
« Reply #13 on: September 14, 2016, 04:31:07 PM »
mfw malnutrition

but then

mfw much of america already does this anyways

Debts_of_Despair

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 457
  • Location: NY
Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
« Reply #14 on: September 14, 2016, 06:01:57 PM »
My 23 year old son is 6'4" and weighs 160 lbs. He is a college student and on a budget, but wants to gain weight. He LOVES Olive Garden, and there is one a mile from home. I will be trying to snag one for him as a gift. Unfortunately, they sold out in the first second last year. They're increasing the number of passes from 2,000 to 21,000 so we might have a shot.

Thanks for posting this!!!

Eating a bunch of enriched wheat flour pasta that is loaded with sodium and probably cholesterol is a horrible idea.  I like the occasional OG visit just as much as the next guy but that is a really unhealthy plan.

patrickza

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 470
  • Age: 38
    • The Investor Challenge
Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
« Reply #15 on: September 15, 2016, 12:38:10 AM »
You'd probably want to die at the end of this period, the inflammation from all those carbs would be a killer. Then of course you'd be seriously lacking in actual nutrients, so you'd have to supplement which would cost. If you didn't, expect a future doctors visit, again eating into your cash.

MrRealEstate

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 82
  • Age: 26
  • Location: Modesto, CA
Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
« Reply #16 on: September 15, 2016, 12:51:16 AM »
My 23 year old son is 6'4" and weighs 160 lbs. He is a college student and on a budget, but wants to gain weight. He LOVES Olive Garden, and there is one a mile from home. I will be trying to snag one for him as a gift. Unfortunately, they sold out in the first second last year. They're increasing the number of passes from 2,000 to 21,000 so we might have a shot.

Thanks for posting this!!!

Pretty much the ideal scenario. When I was in college I would have loved this. Also most 20 yea olds have the metabolism to burn through a few plates of pasta a day, especially if they're decently active.

MandalayVA

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1542
  • Location: Orlando FL
Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
« Reply #17 on: September 15, 2016, 01:29:08 AM »
If Olive Garden ever did this with soup, salad and breadsticks I'd be tempted, because those are the only things I eat there (see:  work team lunches).
Follow my road to semi-FIRE here:  The Road To Mandalay

Post-corporate life blog: Mandalay At Play  Latest entry: The Ginormocorp Survivors Page

iowajes

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5299
  • Location: United States
Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
« Reply #18 on: September 15, 2016, 06:43:28 AM »
Hey everybody, remember that it's unlimited salad too. I haven't eaten there in a while, but I always liked Olive Garden's salad...

Does it? The last time they did this it included it, but this time it only says unlimited pasta bowl + coke products it doesn't say anything about salad. (Press is reporting it includes salad, but the terms and conditions don't say anything other than  "Each “NEPB meal” consists of pasta, sauce, and a single topping serving from the promotional NEPB menu"
« Last Edit: September 15, 2016, 06:45:01 AM by iowajes »

justajane

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2150
  • Location: Midwest
Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
« Reply #19 on: September 15, 2016, 06:52:06 AM »
Even better is if you live near a Six Flags where you can get unlimited food and drink for two meals a day plus a snack. It's like $80 for the season. Granted you have to get the season pass with parking as well. Then you have to walk a mile in the parking lot and go through security and spend all day at Six Flags, but hey! Free food. I'm not actually being sarcastic here. Our Six Flags had a deal going a few weeks ago, and one person could get a season meal pass, plus an actual pass and free parking for $130. That's like May through September and special days in October and December. I was thinking if someone lived nearby, they could get a meal every day there and just not even ride the rides. Consider the walking in to be your exercise.

SnackDog

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 993
  • Location: Latin America
Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
« Reply #20 on: September 15, 2016, 06:59:55 AM »
Definitely includes soup or salad and bread sticks.  There is a firestorm in progress on the OG Facebook page by people who want access to family passes and pasta to go.  Apparently there were options last year but not this year.  Last year apparently all OG locations were packed to the gills with customers during the promotion period.  Hard to imagine with only 2,000 passes sold. With 20,000 on sale this year, it could be complete mayhem in there.  You all may have to eat lunch at 3:00 and dinner at 9:30 to find a seat.  Tix go on sale today. Good luck everyone!
The habit of saving is itself an education; it fosters every virtue, teaches self-denial, cultivates the sense of order, trains to forethought, and so broadens the mind. –Thomas T. Munger

AlanStache

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1668
  • Age: 38
  • Location: South East Virginia
Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
« Reply #21 on: September 15, 2016, 07:14:16 AM »
An oldie but a goodie. 
http://nypost.com/2014/01/29/man-uses-first-class-plane-ticket-to-eat-free-for-a-year/
I assume the airport was moderately along his commute route and with the first class ticket he could get in the short security lines. 

A few airlines have been hit with this sort of thing over the years. 
Be the person Mr. Rogers knows you can be.

steviesterno

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 271
Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
« Reply #22 on: September 15, 2016, 08:56:21 AM »
An oldie but a goodie. 
http://nypost.com/2014/01/29/man-uses-first-class-plane-ticket-to-eat-free-for-a-year/
I assume the airport was moderately along his commute route and with the first class ticket he could get in the short security lines. 

A few airlines have been hit with this sort of thing over the years.

HA! awesome.


some of these promotions make sense. My school did an "all the coffee you can drink for a semester for $70". One of my co workers, who drinks 3 mugs a day bought it. At about $1.50 a cup it was paid off in no time for him. Meanwhile, I made coffee in my office in my free coffee maker, keeping it hot in my free yeti mug. I paid probably $11 all in all.

TheAnonOne

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1239
Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
« Reply #23 on: September 15, 2016, 10:51:51 AM »
An oldie but a goodie. 
http://nypost.com/2014/01/29/man-uses-first-class-plane-ticket-to-eat-free-for-a-year/
I assume the airport was moderately along his commute route and with the first class ticket he could get in the short security lines. 

A few airlines have been hit with this sort of thing over the years.

AA use to sell an UNLIMITED BUSINESS FLIGHT PASS FOR """LIFE""" for 250k back in the 80s. A few of those people have flown so much costing millions of dollars that the airline is now trying to sue them for fraud. (The airline lost from what I know of) http://business.time.com/2012/05/08/the-250000-airline-pass-that-was-worth-every-penny/

EDIT: I think some passes were revoked for various reasons but some still exist for sure.
« Last Edit: September 15, 2016, 11:02:00 AM by TheAnonOne »

iowajes

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5299
  • Location: United States
Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
« Reply #24 on: September 15, 2016, 10:57:24 AM »
Definitely includes soup or salad and bread sticks.  There is a firestorm in progress on the OG Facebook page by people who want access to family passes and pasta to go.  Apparently there were options last year but not this year.  Last year apparently all OG locations were packed to the gills with customers during the promotion period.  Hard to imagine with only 2,000 passes sold. With 20,000 on sale this year, it could be complete mayhem in there.  You all may have to eat lunch at 3:00 and dinner at 9:30 to find a seat.  Tix go on sale today. Good luck everyone!

Weird that the website doesn't just say that then. I can see an overzealous local manager excluding it because the meal is clearly defined without it.  (Even though it would normally come with it.)  The facebook is entertaining- I like the woman upset she can't use this to feed all the homeless in the city since they don't allow take-out.  Um, it's a personal pass. Not a "feed all the people" pass. LOL

They are packed not because of these passes, but because this is also the only time they have their unlimited pasta bowl sold at all.  Since it costs slightly less than their standard spaghetti and meatsauce option (or at least it did last year), it is a decent deal for Olive Garden.

Although, we ate twice during the unlimited pasta bowl thing last year and it was never that crowded at our location.
« Last Edit: September 15, 2016, 11:03:03 AM by iowajes »

AlanStache

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1668
  • Age: 38
  • Location: South East Virginia
Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
« Reply #25 on: September 15, 2016, 11:05:40 AM »
An oldie but a goodie. 
http://nypost.com/2014/01/29/man-uses-first-class-plane-ticket-to-eat-free-for-a-year/
I assume the airport was moderately along his commute route and with the first class ticket he could get in the short security lines. 

A few airlines have been hit with this sort of thing over the years.

AA use to sell an UNLIMITED BUSINESS FLIGHT PASS FOR """LIFE""" for 250k back in the 80s. A few of those people have flown so much costing millions of dollars that the airline is now trying to sue them for fraud. (The airline lost from what I know of) http://business.time.com/2012/05/08/the-250000-airline-pass-that-was-worth-every-penny/

yep then more recently some airline did an all you could fly for like one year for X$ but you accumulated frequent flyer miles too so some guys were taking cross country flights every night to rack up the miles while doing there normal daily life.  They would get off work go to the airport fly/sleep from DC to LAX, walk to a different gate then fly/sleep LAX to DC land at 6am and go to work.  Financially it was a gain for the flyer but not sure it would be worth it wrt quality of life. 
Be the person Mr. Rogers knows you can be.

TheAnonOne

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1239
Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
« Reply #26 on: September 15, 2016, 11:11:59 AM »
An oldie but a goodie. 
http://nypost.com/2014/01/29/man-uses-first-class-plane-ticket-to-eat-free-for-a-year/
I assume the airport was moderately along his commute route and with the first class ticket he could get in the short security lines. 

A few airlines have been hit with this sort of thing over the years.

AA use to sell an UNLIMITED BUSINESS FLIGHT PASS FOR """LIFE""" for 250k back in the 80s. A few of those people have flown so much costing millions of dollars that the airline is now trying to sue them for fraud. (The airline lost from what I know of) http://business.time.com/2012/05/08/the-250000-airline-pass-that-was-worth-every-penny/

yep then more recently some airline did an all you could fly for like one year for X$ but you accumulated frequent flyer miles too so some guys were taking cross country flights every night to rack up the miles while doing there normal daily life.  They would get off work go to the airport fly/sleep from DC to LAX, walk to a different gate then fly/sleep LAX to DC land at 6am and go to work.  Financially it was a gain for the flyer but not sure it would be worth it wrt quality of life.

My NW is only 330k currently and I would CONSIDER taking a loan for 500k for unlimited business class flights for life. (even more-so in another 6-9 years when I am a millionaire.) The amount it would change ones life is pretty extreme.

radram

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 563
Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
« Reply #27 on: September 16, 2016, 08:31:37 AM »
I got one. They sold all 21,000 in less than 1 minute.

My purchase was not at all a frugal one. Just the pasta and soda would be $12.50, so I will tip $3 every time I go.  I can not eat a box of spaghetti with my homemade sauce, a pound of Italian sausage (.50 at a local sausage company retail store) and a 2 liter bottle of soda.  That is 8 meals for our family for about $3.00 for all 8 meals, so every time I go will actually end up COSTING me more money.  And that is if I go alone every time.  I will also go with family that will order food.  I have been joking with them that they can come with and watch me eat, since they will get free soda.  I will see if they actually do it. That alone would be a great story I would enjoy telling for years.

I might sell it.  I hear last year they went for over $300, but  ebay is flooded this year so I will wait and see what they end up going for.  You can get one now for $175 while others are trying to get hundreds.

I think is is a great conversation piece that will provide entertainment value that will exceed the cost.

On top of that, I started counting my calories and exercise, and plan to lose 2 pounds per week during the entire length of the pass.  If it is true that the meal comes with salad/bread sticks, I plan to get the salad(dressing on the side), and eat that.  I bet that if I only get 1 serving of pasta, they will let me take it home.  That will be lunches for the kids and about $1 per meal. 

I must admit it felt a little like an auction, with a timer counting down until the sale.  Even though I paid for it, it did feel like I WON something.  That was also entertaining and worth something to me.

Anyone else get one?




iowajes

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5299
  • Location: United States
Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
« Reply #28 on: September 16, 2016, 09:08:02 AM »
I bet that if I only get 1 serving of pasta, they will let me take it home.  That will be lunches for the kids and about $1 per meal. 


They'll let you box up whatever you don't eat, even with never ending pasta. If they get to know you and the servers like you, they might bring you a second bowl to box up (though the second bowls are smaller.)

This thread was a bad influence on me and I actually went to OG yesterday. They had the "buy one, get one" promotion going on, but I realized the lunch I get it would only cost $1 more to just come to OG twice (which I probably won't do anyway), and it would come with salad and breadsticks both times. So I didn't order it.  Then I didn't end up finishing the mini pasta bowl anyway, and since i went by myself I got the 2nd half of the salad, and a breadstick to go, so I have a full lunch today.  So $4.50 for two lunches wasn't too bad for eating out.  I've been having a hard time eating lately, so i consider it a win.

jacksonvasey

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 129
Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
« Reply #29 on: September 16, 2016, 12:40:53 PM »
http://www.foxnews.com/leisure/2014/11/04/never-ending-pasta-pass-holder-eats-1510-worth-food-in-6-weeks/

I read some guy's blog during the first go with the pass, trying as many combinations of pasta and sauce as possible. I can't find the site now, though.

MVal

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 813
  • Age: 35
  • Location: Missouri
Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
« Reply #30 on: September 16, 2016, 04:19:30 PM »
Oh yeah, great idea if I wanted to weigh 50 lbs more by the end of it! I sort of had this experience last month when we had OG leftovers at work for a week. By Friday, I was so sick of spaghetti!!

Cooking at home is cheaper and better for you, if you know how to do it right. Since I've not gone to the grocery store for 2 months, I would guess my meals are costing me less than $1 right now.
Proverbs 13:4
The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing, but the soul of the diligent is made fat.

Proverbs 13:11
Wealth obtained by fraud dwindles, but the one who gathers by labor increases it.

https://tickers.TickerFactory.com/ezt/t/wGp3WGH/savings.png

SnackDog

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 993
  • Location: Latin America
Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
« Reply #31 on: September 22, 2016, 01:21:33 PM »
I got one. They sold all 21,000 in less than 1 minute.

...

Anyone else get one?

How many times have you been so far?  How is it???
The habit of saving is itself an education; it fosters every virtue, teaches self-denial, cultivates the sense of order, trains to forethought, and so broadens the mind. –Thomas T. Munger

radram

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 563
Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
« Reply #32 on: September 23, 2016, 08:04:42 AM »
I got one. They sold all 21,000 in less than 1 minute.

...

Anyone else get one?

How many times have you been so far?  How is it???

It starts October 3rd.  I plan to go for lunch on the first day.  Now I have a meeting that evening from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. and there is an Olive Garden within a mile of the meeting.  Blah to the meeting, but yeah in that I can go twice the first day without a food only trip from home.  I wasn't sure if I should go before or after my meeting.  My wife chimed in that I should choose BOTH, so that is my plan for day 1.  Three visits, with hopefully 3 orders of pasta taken home to the family.


Blindsquirrel

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 550
Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
« Reply #33 on: September 24, 2016, 03:24:24 PM »
    Does that come with a side of diabetes?
Even a blind squirrel finds a nut once in awhile.

kudy

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 914
  • Age: 35
  • Location: Northern Colorado
Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
« Reply #34 on: September 24, 2016, 03:44:55 PM »
Now I want gorgonzola pasta with steak!

PizzaSteve

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 666
Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
« Reply #35 on: September 24, 2016, 07:17:03 PM »
Anyone seen the movie "Supersize Me."  Healthy food = minimizing medical costs is the real cost saver.

Still, have fun and try to focus on that salad bar.  [edit] Whoops...read thread and now see it is the best health option (salad included in option)
« Last Edit: October 08, 2016, 03:21:04 PM by PizzaSteve »
All posts are opinions of the author subject to independent verification by the reader.  No representations of fact are asserted regarding commercial products or services.

Pizzasteve prefers to avoid excessive critical debates.  In the event of a post, no need to reply or quote if you disagree. I am posting information meant to stand on its own and hope to avoid back and forth debating.

okits

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5026
  • Location: Canada
Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
« Reply #36 on: September 25, 2016, 07:18:45 PM »
This thread prompted me to look for the location of the nearest Olive Garden (50 miles away.  I haven't been in more than a decade, mostly because there's none nearby!)

Following for all the lurid details of the pass usage.  radram, please update us when the seven-week window opens!

Herbert Derp

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 329
  • Age: 27
  • Location: United States
Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
« Reply #37 on: September 25, 2016, 07:23:56 PM »
I feel like I'd get very sick if I tried to eat nothing but pasta every day. There are much healthier options for $1/meal. By the way, spaghetti and pasta sauce costs way less than $1/meal if you cook it yourself; it's probably more like 20¢/meal.

GuitarStv

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 9449
  • Age: 36
  • Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
« Reply #38 on: September 28, 2016, 05:38:29 PM »
Anyone seen the movie "Supersize Me."  Healthy food = minimizing medical costs is the real cost saver.

Still, have fun and try to focus on that salad bar.  [edit] Whoops...read it and not an option. Yuck!

Supersize me was a fun movie to watch, and I enjoyed it.  That said, the caloric content eaten was what made Spurlock fat and unhealthy . . . it's completely possible to do the opposite while only eating at McDonalds.  http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2533353/Forget-Super-Size-Me-Man-loses-37lbs-lowers-cholesterol-eating-McDonalds-three-months.html

radram

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 563
Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
« Reply #39 on: October 04, 2016, 12:02:59 PM »
I got one. They sold all 21,000 in less than 1 minute.

...

Anyone else get one?

How many times have you been so far?  How is it???

It starts October 3rd.  I plan to go for lunch on the first day.  Now I have a meeting that evening from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. and there is an Olive Garden within a mile of the meeting.  Blah to the meeting, but yeah in that I can go twice the first day without a food only trip from home.  I wasn't sure if I should go before or after my meeting.  My wife chimed in that I should choose BOTH, so that is my plan for day 1.  Three visits, with hopefully 3 orders of pasta taken home to the family.

My pasta pass started yesterday, and I went 3 times as planned.  Here is how it went, what I ate, what it cost and what I got to take home:

HOW IT WENT AND WHAT I TOOK HOME
I was the first pass holder at the first location at 11:05, as expected.  Waiter did not know about the program and the manager had to look it up.  This was completely expected and was not at all an inconvenience for me.  In short, they got it right, except that the pass should also include unsweetened tea as well as coke products.  I was only offered coke products, which was what I wanted anyway.  I left with my portion of cheese garlic fettuccine Alfredo with grilled chicken breast, 2 bread sticks, and 3 mints.

Second meal was at 4:30 at another location.  I was the waiter's first pass, but the restaurant had seen 6 of them so far that day. Pretty uneventful and still very nice.  My 10 year old daughter told my her lunch request for the following day before I left home.  Left with my portion of Spaghetti with cheese garlic Alfredo and chicken Fritta, 2 bread sticks and 1 mint.

Third meal was at 8:45 at the same location at the second.  We had a 15 minute wait.  There were plenty of tables, but not enough servers staffed to seat the entire dining room, which was perfectly fine for me.  It was a Monday.  This time I arrived with 4 friends I attended my meeting with.  Three had a drink at the bar while we were waiting while I waited for my free coke.  Only 1 other person enjoyed a free coke product at the table.  Meal was otherwise uneventful and again very nice.  I enjoyed the company very much, AND my family was not responsible for any additional bill. I left with 1 complete portion(less 2 bites) of chicken gnocchi soup and my portion of corkscrew pasta with 5 cheese marinara and shrimp fritta and 1 mint. I forgot my bread sticks :(

WHAT I ATE
Meal 1.  4 servings of salad, a few bites of the Alfredo, a sip of wine(free) and 2 coke zeros.  I got the low fat dressing on the side.  1 portion lasted for all 4 servings.  I treat this as 2 servings of low-fat dressing salad and 2 servings of no dressing salad. 477 total calories.
Meal 2. 4 servings of salad, 2 bread sticks, 2 coke zeros, and a few bites of the spaghetti Alfredo.  Salad prepared like last meal.  857 calories.
Meal 3 1 bowl of Pasta e Fagioli, 1 bowl of Zuppa Toscana, 2 coke zeros, a sip of wine(free) and a few bites of the corkscrew pasta marinara.  517 calories.

Total calories with morning decaf, 1828.  I played basketball for 40 minutes and took a 2 mile walk, so I was allowed 2090 calories for my 2 pound loss per week goal.  Therefore, I was UNDER by 262 calories for the day according to my Lose It app.

A few comments about what I ate
The salad was every bit as good as the regular dressing.  I could not tell the difference. Less was just fine with me.
WAY too much coke zero, but I have a problem turning down "free" stuff.  I will try to work on that in 7 weeks :)
I felt like I consumed HUGE amounts of food(because I did).  Calories show it was where I should have been.  Still felt like a LOT.  I understand they are pretty fussy about portions.
I can say I would go again 3 times in 1 day, but by no means would I make it my regular routine.  I see I can go twice in a day and still consume 1 full portion of pasta with salads prepared how I did today.  I could see doing this a few times the next 7 weeks.  Most likely I will go only 1 time in a day.  I will plan to consume about 75% of my daily calories on a 1-visit day.  An example might be 2 bowls of soup and 1 serving of pasta, while hopefully taking home a soup and pasta for later.

WHAT IT COST
The costs surprised me, because I did not know the meat was an add-on.  It was still included in my pass.  Each meal rang up at around $16-$22 depending on the add on meat of the meal and how many soda's were deducted (1 or 2).

So far I have spent $109 and you see what I ate, and what I took home.  I will average the meals to be rung up at $17 per meal.  This would show a total of $51 and $109 spent.  On paper, I paid for half of my pass on day 1.

I do NOT value each meal as a $17 value.  No way I buy a $2.54 soda, and no way I add $5.00 for some breaded shrimp.  In the past we would sometimes go to their soup and bread stick lunch for $8.  I think that is worth that cost on rare occasion.  The meat and pasta is easily worth $5.00 per portion to me, so I feel like I got about $39 worth of take-out food value for the day. 

As far a cost of ingredients, that is tough, because there was a LOT of food that I ate and took home.  I am guessing about $7 per meal, or $21 out of the $109.  Not bad for day 1 :)

As far as Olive Garden is concerned, I did not see the entire bill with my friends, but with 3 drinks, 1 appetizer, 1 soup, and 2 meals, they took in an estimated $65 from my friends.  There is NO way we would have gone there without the pass program. I bet they did OK too.

BONUS TIP
There is a funny quirk when paying.  The first meal the waiter knew exactly what to do, and so I was able to pass the information along to the rest.  You can pay gratuity using a gift card.  You can not do that with a zero balance on your bill.  The manager must ring up a $0.01 transaction so you can put the gratuity on the card.  You can not use the machine at the table, because you can only tip a percentage of the bill, or a penny.  The waiter must take the $0.01 bill and your gift card and return with the receipt for you to total the tip and sign.  They then adjust the card value when you leave.

FINAL THOUGHTS ON THE PROGRAM AFTER 1 DAY
I think the pasta bowl program is OK for an additional $2 compared to the soup deal at lunchtime, but not worth the add-on meat items. All meat seemed to be about a 3-4 oz. portion. The fact that they are included in my pass is really where I deem the pass very worthwhile for me and a nice touch.  Next trip is not planned yet, but I see myself going a few times per week.

They do not have a 0 calorie, 0 caffeine coke product option.

I have always been a little annoyed that it has always been soup OR salad, instead of soup AND salad.  When going with my wife for the $8 lunch, I would get soup, she would get salad, and they were always find if we shared.  With 1 meal at the table, you can not do that.   Oh well.
I thoroughly enjoyed listening to my children make their lunches this morning.  They were very excited about the Alfredo, soup and bread sticks.  My 10 year old tried to put the entire portion in her lunchbox.  She is 60 pounds soaking wet.  I had her cut it in half, and she still will not finish it. They want me to go again today, but no plan yet.  There is a real value to hear their excitement regarding their preparation, and are discussing taking their friends for a soda party.  I consider this value priceless :)

I will post occasionally with updates.

SnackDog

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 993
  • Location: Latin America
Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
« Reply #40 on: October 04, 2016, 04:24:26 PM »
Holy cow, thanks for a comprehensive review. Sounds good so far. How do you know how much to tip? Do you have to drink coke products only? How did you get the wine?
The habit of saving is itself an education; it fosters every virtue, teaches self-denial, cultivates the sense of order, trains to forethought, and so broadens the mind. –Thomas T. Munger

radram

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 563
Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
« Reply #41 on: October 04, 2016, 09:03:17 PM »
Holy cow, thanks for a comprehensive review. Sounds good so far. How do you know how much to tip? Do you have to drink coke products only? How did you get the wine?

The tip is hard, because sometimes they just took the card and I never really saw the bill.  I just figured $3 per visit seemed fair.  Included drinks are coke products and non-sweetened tea.  They have sweetened teas my daughter likes, but they are not included.  They usually offer a small sample of wine on every visit when you first sit down.  About 1-2 tablespoons. I do not know why the second server didn't offer, but I was on my way to a meeting anyway, so I probably would have declined.

radram

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 563
Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
« Reply #42 on: October 05, 2016, 02:32:37 PM »
Just to update, the leftovers I took home on day 1 made 7 more meals for my family.  That is 10 meals for $109

Today I returned to actually eat some pasta.  If I go once in a day I will have enough calories.  The meat sauce with meatballs is very good.  I was unable to eat 1 portion, but the waiter still asked if I wanted another pasta dish. Reorders are a 1/2 portion, so I was still able to take almost a full portion home along with most of a serving of Chicken Gnocchi soup. 870 calories for 3/4 of the first portion and a bowl of soup, plus 3 more meals for the family.


thisisjeopardy

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 37
Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
« Reply #43 on: October 06, 2016, 12:31:21 AM »
Holy sodium and health issues, Batman!

Sent from my Nexus 7 using Tapatalk


Debts_of_Despair

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 457
  • Location: NY
Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
« Reply #44 on: October 06, 2016, 10:13:57 AM »
Holy sodium and health issues, Batman!

Sent from my Nexus 7 using Tapatalk

Think of all the money that will be saved!!!

ITT: cheapness, not frugality.

PizzaSteve

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 666
Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
« Reply #45 on: October 08, 2016, 10:03:47 AM »
So salads are included with the pasta dish?  On the web site it only listed the pasta dishes.  That is more reasonable (to eat salad, take home most of the pasta dish) for a healthy life.
All posts are opinions of the author subject to independent verification by the reader.  No representations of fact are asserted regarding commercial products or services.

Pizzasteve prefers to avoid excessive critical debates.  In the event of a post, no need to reply or quote if you disagree. I am posting information meant to stand on its own and hope to avoid back and forth debating.

radram

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 563
Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
« Reply #46 on: October 08, 2016, 10:47:35 AM »
So salads are included with the pasta dish?  On the web site it only listed the pasta dishes.  That is more reasonable (to eat salad, take home most of the pasta dish) for a healthy life.

Unlimited soup OR salad is included, and your suggestion is exactly what I have been doing.  Fill up on soup or salad and take home the pasta dish for the family.  It IS stated on the page, but is is a rather small note in the first paragraph.(http://www.olivegarden.com/specials/never-ending-pasta-bowl).  Wish it was both soup AND salad, I very much like both of them at OG. Also, unlimited bread sticks is included.

On more than 1 occasion so far, I was asked if my uneaten pasta should be wrapped up.  I said yes, and THEN the server asked me if I wanted a reorder to also take home.  I said yes both times.  Those reorders are half orders, which are a complete meal for any member of our family.

I bought the pass more as a novelty and conversation piece, but I so far I have actually enjoyed it.  I am getting the rare pleasure of going out for close to the cost of making it myself.  I am also having fun trying to sneak in opportunities to go to one while I am close to something else.  On my way now to take my kids to the mall.  Guess what is just up the road :)

PizzaSteve

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 666
Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
« Reply #47 on: October 08, 2016, 03:15:46 PM »
Nice posts Radram.  You made my morning.

Frankly, my family loves to do stuff like this too.  I can't count how many times my dad did frugal things that makes our whole family laugh, even though his frugality has made him what most would consider rich.  He refuses to sell any stocks even though he is well into his FIRE spend down years and loves getting a bargain.  Habits are hard to change.

By comparison, I have an Internet pair of glasses (goggles4u cheap specials) love getting compliments on and telling folks they cost $8.  When I explain plastic glasses probably have .20 worth of raw materials and could probably be cheaper, they do get it, but still feel uncomfortable pulling the trigger.  I have and own like 10 pair of glasses I rotate in all under $15.

You pulled the trigger on this and have a story worth telling grand kids.  I love that the chain invented the gimmick and that you are trying to break it to the max.  Life is more fun than fiction.

kudos

All posts are opinions of the author subject to independent verification by the reader.  No representations of fact are asserted regarding commercial products or services.

Pizzasteve prefers to avoid excessive critical debates.  In the event of a post, no need to reply or quote if you disagree. I am posting information meant to stand on its own and hope to avoid back and forth debating.

arebelspy

  • Administrator
  • Senior Mustachian
  • *****
  • Posts: 27453
  • Age: -999
  • Location: Traveling the World
Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
« Reply #48 on: October 23, 2016, 02:56:05 AM »
Love the review, radram.  Thanks for posting the extensive details!
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, and now travel the world full time with a kid.
If you want to know more about me, or how we did that, or see lots of pictures, this Business Insider profile tells our story pretty well.
We (occasionally) blog at AdventuringAlong.com.
You can also read my forum "Journal."

Metric Mouse

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5311
  • FU @ 22. F.I.R.E before 23
Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
« Reply #49 on: October 24, 2016, 12:12:03 AM »
So salads are included with the pasta dish?  On the web site it only listed the pasta dishes.  That is more reasonable (to eat salad, take home most of the pasta dish) for a healthy life.

Unlimited soup OR salad is included, and your suggestion is exactly what I have been doing.  Fill up on soup or salad and take home the pasta dish for the family.  It IS stated on the page, but is is a rather small note in the first paragraph.(http://www.olivegarden.com/specials/never-ending-pasta-bowl).  Wish it was both soup AND salad, I very much like both of them at OG. Also, unlimited bread sticks is included.

On more than 1 occasion so far, I was asked if my uneaten pasta should be wrapped up.  I said yes, and THEN the server asked me if I wanted a reorder to also take home.  I said yes both times.  Those reorders are half orders, which are a complete meal for any member of our family.

I bought the pass more as a novelty and conversation piece, but I so far I have actually enjoyed it.  I am getting the rare pleasure of going out for close to the cost of making it myself.  I am also having fun trying to sneak in opportunities to go to one while I am close to something else.  On my way now to take my kids to the mall.  Guess what is just up the road :)

I loved reading this when you first posted it. Still going strong?
Give me one fine day of plain sailing weather and I can mess up anything.

MustacheMathTM