Author Topic: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal  (Read 11121 times)

radram

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Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
« Reply #50 on: October 24, 2016, 07:40:31 AM »
Love the review, radram.  Thanks for posting the extensive details!

Arebelspy,

I have to ask: How in the world did you find a 2 week old post?

Updating this a.m.

arebelspy

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Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
« Reply #51 on: October 24, 2016, 07:55:55 AM »
Love the review, radram.  Thanks for posting the extensive details!

Arebelspy,

I have to ask: How in the world did you find a 2 week old post?

Updating this a.m.
Sadly, in FIRE, I have much less time (interest?) for visiting the forum, so I sometimes go a few weeks or more only reading and replying to threads I'm subscribed to (or reported to mods), and then will do a big catch-up, which is where I end up reading posts that are a few weeks old (and some no longer still relevant, so I don't comment) but new or updated for me.  :)
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radram

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Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
« Reply #52 on: October 24, 2016, 09:34:07 AM »
Just finished week 3. Time for an update.

As you might imagine, I did not go 3 times a day for 21 straight days.  Total trips was not 63. It was 15 trips in 21 days, for an average of about 1 trip every other day.

COSTS
The 15 trips have totaled $162.  I was alone for 11 meals, with my youngest daughter for 2 trips, and with my wife for 2 trips.

My daughter had only soda, while my wife also had a meal.  Figuring $17 for 13 meals, plus $27 for the 2 meals with the wife, the Olive Garden rung up about $275 in purchases for the $162 I have paid.

My wife also had a meal each time, so that does increase the costs for those 2 trips.  They have a nice lunch special here, and it looks to be a regular price and not a special.  For $6.49, you get bread sticks, plus unlimited soup or salad, plus a small sandwich and fries.  She does as I do, filling up on soup or salad, and taking home the sandwich.  It is still a pretty good value for what you get, but each time we do this, that trip costs $11.50 instead of $3.00 for going alone.  We joke that she is an expensive date:)  She was not all that up to the idea on waiting while I eat, since she get to have soda whenever she wants to.  She also understands that if she went as often as I do, the pass would not be worth the additional cost. I am sure we will continue to go together about once a week.

As before, I value my pasta meals at $13 each, and my wife's meals at face value of $6.50, or $208.00 of "going out food value".  My card has also paid for itself in going out value.

As far as ingredients, still using $7.00 for each of my meals, and $5.00 for each of my wife's, I have received $125.00 in food value.  I should reach my costs in the next 2 weeks.

Most of these trips were piggy backed on other errands, but some were just for the sake of OG.  I am not counting gas, though I probably should.

TAKE HOMES
It gets hard to calculate, since there is so much food, especially one time in a story I describe below.  I estimate that each take home is 3 meals, plus the meal as I eat it, plus 2 meals for each time my wife goes for a total of about 64 meals for $162.

If we eat 2 meals a day, the family has had 168 meals in that time, or about 1/3 of them Olive Garden.  They are not yet saying "no more".  We'll see after a few more weeks.

EXPERIENCES
By far the best experience so far was with my 10 year old daughter.  She loves the idea of the free soda, so we went after her gymnastics class.  I brought that day's lunch with me so she could eat on the way, and she seemed to like that.  She wasn't at all hungry while she was enjoying the soda.  The waitress brought a plate and told us she could also enjoy the salad, but that did not feel right with me.  She did pick through some of the cabbage pieces and is now very good at telling the difference between red cabbage and a red onion :).  We will make this a scheduled weekly trip until the end of the pass program.

We make a game out of using the table screen to select menu items the other needed to find.

While we were there the first time, the waitress was having a tough time.   She received an 8 top just after we sat down.  She was still very much on top of us with salad and soda refills, but there was some sort of delay in getting the pasta.  She apologized profusely, and placed another order.  Just out of curiosity I was able to look up the bill to see that the order was indeed in the system before she reordered it, so I do believe the mix up was in the kitchen. A few minuted later, she came with my pasta, but it was not what I ordered.  I did not have the heart to tell her, so I just asked for a reorder of what I ordered the first time.  About 2 minutes later, my original order arrived, so I now had 2 FULL orders of pasta, plus I just placed a reorder which is a half order. I was looking for my server to cancel my reorder, but she was serving the 8 top and I did not want to interrupt her.  By the time she came to my table, the reorder was coming to the table right behind her.  She again was so very apologetic for giving me SO MUCH FOOD for me to take home and eat for the next 3 days.  My daughter and I had a great discussion about how those mistakes will often cost the server money, and how very often people get upset when mistakes happen. We were having so much fun with our game, I actually enjoyed the delay.  It made our game last longer:)

After going with my younger daughter, my older daughter is again expressing interest in going with me.  She has been busy with ACT prep and college applications, but those mostly conclude next week so there will be some time to go.  We might go tonight before a meeting we are going to.  She is also interested in planning a soda party with her friends.

My older daughter is on a robotics team, and they are also following my pass journey.  We have a demo right around the corner of an Olive Garden next month, so I am trying to get a soda party planned with them.   

My oldest goes to lunch at school, and say's "guess what I have for lunch today".  Her friends all say "Olive Garden".   Another priceless memory.

My waitress yesterday had not seen a pass yet, though there were several at that location in the past weeks.  This makes me realize how rare these really are.  I am very much enjoying this little experiment.

DISADVANTAGES
I love to cook.  I have not made very many meals this past month.

I had a $.99 head of lettuce spoil in the fridge since my salad is consumed at OG.

We make our own bread.  The last loaf is 10 days old and we most likely will not eat it before mold grows. Zero lunch sandwiches in 3 weeks will do that.

WEIGHT
The first 2 weeks, I lost exactly 2 pounds each week.  As of 2 days ago, I was actually UP about .3 pounds for the week.  By this mornings weigh in I was also at a 2 pound loss for the week.  I put a * on that one, since I skipped a meal or 2 to make weight.  So 3 weeks, 15 trips and 6 pounds lost.

I did not go again 3 times in a day, but I did go 2 times in a day on 2 different occasions.  When I go 2 times in a day, I eat very little of the pasta and focus on the salad and soup.  When I go 1 time, I can eat about 1/2 to 1/3 of the pasta and still have calories for a nice dinner.

BONUS
As an added bonus, I told my brother about my pass, and he pulled out a $50 gift card from his wallet.  He said he never goes, it was a gift to him, and he did not want it so he gave it to me.  So I have over 16 future solo trips that will cost me $0.  I will still include them in my cost totals, but by one estimate, the card has paid for itself in raw food purchases already.  Thanks Bro!

That's it for now. Time to go out and enjoy one of the best Fall days so far this year.

Debts_of_Despair

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Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
« Reply #53 on: October 24, 2016, 10:20:39 AM »
What is a soda party?

radram

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Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
« Reply #54 on: October 24, 2016, 10:59:46 AM »
What is a soda party?

Everyone at my table gets free soda with the card.  Some will order food, but some will not.

SnackDog

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Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
« Reply #55 on: October 24, 2016, 11:20:42 AM »
Thanks for the detailed update!  Fantastic.  Post some photos of what you are eating!
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radram

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Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
« Reply #56 on: September 25, 2017, 10:22:02 AM »
This years pasta pass is a little different then last years. You no longer get soda included. It is 8 weeks instead of 7 weeks. They also introduced a pasta passport for $200 that included the pasta plus an all expense trip for 2 to Italy for a week. There were only 50 of these trip passes issued.

We had a great time last year so we decided we would try for another one this year. Without the soda included, I would no longer be able to convince my daughters to join me, but we still decided to try to get one.

We had 3 computers trying to get the passes. We decided to try to get a passport with 1 computer, while trying to get the pasta passes with 2 computers. We did not get the passport, but we were able to get TWO pasta passes. We decided to buy them and then decide whether to use them or sell them.  We decided to keep them, so my wife and I will both be going starting today. Both daughters were very interested in the leftovers. Oldest is in college now, so we will make a few trips with a food drop-off in the coming weeks.

This year my plan is not to get a good food value. It is just to have some nice "away time" with the wife. Not going 3 times today. Just a late lunch.

SnackDog

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Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
« Reply #57 on: September 25, 2017, 10:44:08 AM »
Very impressive.  Well done to getting passes again.  Let us know how it works out.
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okits

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Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
« Reply #58 on: September 25, 2017, 10:49:42 AM »
I saw this thread pop up and thought, "has it been a year already?!"  Let us know how you enjoy the passes without driving hard to optimize them financially.  We often need a push to go for date night so I can see the value of having them just as a prompt to go spend some time together, kid-free.

PizzaSteve

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Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
« Reply #59 on: September 25, 2017, 11:10:29 AM »
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.
+1, though there was a very interesting thread about the unlimited meals and someone who optimized it. 

Someone good with searching should link it.  I think the deal allowed salads with meat choice, and pasta was taken home and frozen for many follow up meals at a more reasonable caloric level and it was a reasonably healthy strategy.
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ThriftyStashMan

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Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
« Reply #60 on: September 25, 2017, 11:32:48 AM »
Day 1. Bloated at work. I told myself I will go heavy on the salad and light on the bread sticks and pasta this year. Clearly, I have food boundary issues!

There were 4 others near me who had passes. I might see if they want to work out together before breakfast everyday. I'm thinking the guy who told the server he plans to come everyday for lunch and dinner and then eat leftover bread sticks for breakfast might make me fell good about myself in the gym come November.

Cassie

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Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
« Reply #61 on: September 25, 2017, 01:20:32 PM »
I just looked and it said they sold out in 1 second. How do you even know when the sale will be?  I have never seen it advertised.  It also said they inscribed the person's name on it so they could not be sold.

radram

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Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
« Reply #62 on: September 25, 2017, 05:59:31 PM »
I just looked and it said they sold out in 1 second. How do you even know when the sale will be?  I have never seen it advertised.  It also said they inscribed the person's name on it so they could not be sold.

Last year I found out just by reading the news online. I heard about it about a week before they sold. This year, I only heard about the sale about 4 hours before it started. In fact, I checked OG's website the week before, and there was nothing.

The names are not new. They were on the passes last year. I was never asked for ID last year. This year I was not asked for an ID today(first day). What some people did was to put a phrase that was clearly not a name, and then put the pass up for sale. When you get a buyer, you go back and change the name before printing to the name of the buyer. Still others just sell them with whatever name and state they are not responsible if they do not honor them.

ThriftyStashMan

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Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
« Reply #63 on: September 27, 2017, 10:37:16 AM »
I have used my card 5 times now. Never have I been asked to show ID.

The one tactic I am using this year is to not take leftovers home.

radram

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Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
« Reply #64 on: September 28, 2017, 05:39:00 AM »

The one tactic I am using this year is to not take leftovers home.

I do not understand the purpose of your tactic of no leftovers. To me, that is the only thing that makes the pass worthwhile.

ThriftyStashMan

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Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
« Reply #65 on: September 28, 2017, 12:16:26 PM »
Last year I gained 8 lbs and napped accidentally at work several times in the afternoon.

When my son is home, which will be next week, I will bring home leftovers everyday. He'll enjoy them at school for lunch and perhaps as a snack between lunch and dinner (in place of an entire box of cereal, dry).

radram

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Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
« Reply #66 on: September 28, 2017, 05:33:30 PM »
Last year I gained 8 lbs and napped accidentally at work several times in the afternoon.

When my son is home, which will be next week, I will bring home leftovers everyday. He'll enjoy them at school for lunch and perhaps as a snack between lunch and dinner (in place of an entire box of cereal, dry).

Can't you give it to friends, family, anyone?




ThriftyStashMan

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Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
« Reply #67 on: September 29, 2017, 10:34:15 AM »
Wife is on a diet and doesn't want the bread sticks of Satan tempting her dieting soul.

Son will eat everything I bring home starting next week...including the 2 mints from each meal.