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General Discussion => Share Your Badassity => Topic started by: SnackDog on September 13, 2016, 03:35:35 AM

Title: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
Post by: SnackDog 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 (http://www.olivegarden.com/specials/never-ending-pasta-bowl)
Title: Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
Post by: Cassie 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.
Title: Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
Post by: terran 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.
Title: Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
Post by: ohmylookatthat on September 13, 2016, 07:15:10 AM
pasta everyday, just how healthy is that
Title: Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
Post by: froggirl 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!!!
Title: Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
Post by: Miss Piggy 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.
Title: Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
Post by: Helvegen 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.
Title: Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
Post by: icemodeled 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.
Title: Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
Post by: GuitarStv 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.
Title: Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
Post by: Hotstreak 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!
Title: Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
Post by: I'm a red panda 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.
Title: Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
Post by: Jack 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...
Title: Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
Post by: Roothy 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.
Title: Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
Post by: gimp on September 14, 2016, 04:31:07 PM
mfw malnutrition

but then

mfw much of america already does this anyways
Title: Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
Post by: Debts_of_Despair 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.
Title: Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
Post by: patrickza 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.
Title: Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
Post by: MrRealEstate 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.
Title: Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
Post by: MandalayVA 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).
Title: Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
Post by: I'm a red panda 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"
Title: Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
Post by: justajane 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.
Title: Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
Post by: SnackDog 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!
Title: Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
Post by: AlanStache 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/ (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. 
Title: Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
Post by: steviesterno 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/ (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.
Title: Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
Post by: TheAnonOne 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/ (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.
Title: Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
Post by: I'm a red panda 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.
Title: Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
Post by: AlanStache 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/ (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. 
Title: Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
Post by: TheAnonOne 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/ (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.
Title: Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
Post by: radram 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?



Title: Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
Post by: I'm a red panda 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.
Title: Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
Post by: jacksonvasey 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.
Title: Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
Post by: MVal 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.
Title: Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
Post by: SnackDog 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???
Title: Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
Post by: radram 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.

Title: Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
Post by: Blindsquirrel on September 24, 2016, 03:24:24 PM
    Does that come with a side of diabetes?
Title: Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
Post by: kudy on September 24, 2016, 03:44:55 PM
Now I want gorgonzola pasta with steak!
Title: Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
Post by: PizzaSteve 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)
Title: Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
Post by: okits 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!
Title: Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
Post by: Herbert Derp 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.
Title: Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
Post by: GuitarStv 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 (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2533353/Forget-Super-Size-Me-Man-loses-37lbs-lowers-cholesterol-eating-McDonalds-three-months.html)
Title: Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
Post by: radram 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.
Title: Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
Post by: SnackDog 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?
Title: Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
Post by: radram 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.
Title: Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
Post by: radram 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.

Title: Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
Post by: thisisjeopardy on October 06, 2016, 12:31:21 AM
Holy sodium and health issues, Batman!

Sent from my Nexus 7 using Tapatalk

Title: Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
Post by: Debts_of_Despair 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.
Title: Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
Post by: PizzaSteve 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.
Title: Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
Post by: radram 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 :)
Title: Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
Post by: arebelspy on October 23, 2016, 02:56:05 AM
Love the review, radram.  Thanks for posting the extensive details!
Title: Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
Post by: Metric Mouse 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?
Title: Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
Post by: radram 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.
Title: Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
Post by: arebelspy 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.  :)
Title: Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
Post by: radram 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.
Title: Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
Post by: Debts_of_Despair on October 24, 2016, 10:20:39 AM
What is a soda party?
Title: Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
Post by: radram 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.
Title: Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
Post by: SnackDog on October 24, 2016, 11:20:42 AM
Thanks for the detailed update!  Fantastic.  Post some photos of what you are eating!
Title: Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
Post by: radram 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.
Title: Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
Post by: SnackDog on September 25, 2017, 10:44:08 AM
Very impressive.  Well done to getting passes again.  Let us know how it works out.
Title: Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
Post by: okits 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.
Title: Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
Post by: PizzaSteve 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.
Title: Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
Post by: ThriftyStashMan 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.
Title: Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
Post by: Cassie 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.
Title: Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
Post by: radram 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.
Title: Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
Post by: ThriftyStashMan 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.
Title: Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
Post by: radram 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.
Title: Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
Post by: ThriftyStashMan 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).
Title: Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
Post by: radram 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?



Title: Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
Post by: ThriftyStashMan 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.
Title: Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
Post by: SnackDog on July 06, 2018, 06:12:28 PM
How did last year work out???
Title: Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
Post by: GuitarStv on July 07, 2018, 12:33:49 PM
No further posting = Death by carb.
Title: Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
Post by: radram on July 08, 2018, 10:14:26 AM
No further posting = Death by carb.

LOL. Still alive and well. Just enjoyed a wonderful trip with family, and am getting back to leisure reading in the a.m.
Title: Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
Post by: radram on July 08, 2018, 10:33:17 AM
How did last year work out???

It was great, though very different than the year prior. Not getting the soda made a big difference, not for me as much as not being able to invite others to join us and get some benefit.

We went far less frequently, but did enjoy the inexpensive noon "dates" together. College daughter ate almost all of the pasta after freezing them and delivering them about 3 weeks later. She still does not request spaghetti for dinner now that she is home for the summer:)

I remember at the end of the pass thinking we would not be interested in repeating the experience again if given the chance this year. We, in fact, found an even cheaper date lunch-time experience. In January, we purchased 2 Moviepass cards for $95 each. I bet I saw about 4 movies total in a theater the past 5 years prior to getting the pass. Have seen about 30 since January. The pasta pass required continued outlay in the form of gratuity, while the movie pass has no additional ongoing costs if you commit to never buying food. We get free popcorn on Tuesday's, and we earn points toward food credits for an occasional free treat.

Now that the kids are home from school, we go much less often, since we would have to pay for their ticket. I know there is a risk Moviepass will go bankrupt, but we rolled the dice and have already considered the cost "worth it".

We are thinking about getting pasta passes again, doubling our dates to lunch and a movie. We will see.
Title: Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
Post by: soccerluvof4 on July 08, 2018, 03:04:18 PM
you could easily make pasta , soup or salad and breadsticks at home even healthier  for under $1.50 a day and even healthier at home but like others have said , get sick of it pretty quick.
Title: Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
Post by: thisisjeopardy on July 21, 2018, 06:16:18 PM
I'd like someone to post their blood test / lab work before and after this. The pure amount of sodium in everything is absolutely bonkers. Oil, yes, even olive oil, is not healthy. It has zero nutrients or even fiber, just pure fat - to which is proven to cause lesions an blockages in the arteries.
Title: Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
Post by: Pizzabrewer on August 23, 2018, 07:01:44 AM
This year's pass goes on sale today at 2pm.
Title: Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
Post by: SnackDog on August 23, 2018, 07:58:27 AM
Yes and this year they have a new pass.  365 days of unlimited pasta, soup, salad, and breadsticks for $300!  You can eat three squares a day (or more!) for a whole year.  Holy cow. 

Last year all the passes sold out in less than one second, so be ready!
Title: Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
Post by: katsiki on August 23, 2018, 08:00:27 AM
You will die prematurely.  That is all.

:)
Title: Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
Post by: coldestcat on August 23, 2018, 09:03:11 AM
I hope someone gets it and continues this thread.
Title: Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
Post by: GuitarStv on August 23, 2018, 10:10:54 AM
I feel like people should give out these passes to the homeless.
Title: Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
Post by: Pizzabrewer on August 23, 2018, 12:09:21 PM
Don't know if I'll get it or not. In my haste to enter payment info I mis-typed my last name. I assume the cc company will reject the transaction.
Title: Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
Post by: kpd905 on August 23, 2018, 01:01:33 PM
If anyone gets it, please do a weigh-in before and after.  For science.
Title: Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
Post by: Pizzabrewer on August 23, 2018, 05:52:55 PM
Looks like I might be good.  No cancellation notices and the charge is now showing as pending on my cc account on the app.

I must admit I was half hoping it would be declined.  Buyer's remorse and all that.  Do I really want to eat at Olive Garden often enough to make it a good deal?  I guess I'll have to see.

So, YAY!  I guess.  :)
Title: Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
Post by: radram on August 23, 2018, 08:18:46 PM
Guess who got an 8 week pass. I DID!!!!

Guess who got a 1 YEAR pass. I DID!!!!

We were trying to get 2 8 week passes, and 1 year pass. Had we gotten them all, we would have sold the year pass. Now we will probably keep it. 8 weeks of cheap afternoon "date night" with the wife, paired with our movie pass that expires in January(or when they are out of business, boy they really messed up that deal). 8 weeks of dinner and a movie for $5 per trip, including tip, with at least 4 take-home meals . We will see how many times we do it to see how that averages out after the cost of the passes. Maybe we will try to sell the annual pass for face value after the 8 weeks.

To add to the experience, each of our 2 daughters had a friend over as we were getting the passes. We were able to brag to our daughters, in front of their friends, that we got 2 passes. I even said I had to give them their Christmas present early in the form of pasta:) They were not amused, lol. In front of their friends, one daughter was less enthusiastic, but I could tell she still wants the pasta when at college (and the chicken Gnocchi soup).

Up-thread I have some posts with calorie counting, and my experience the past 2 years. This will be the third year in a row the radram family had a pass. The first 8 weeks will be like last year(my wife and I each have a pass), then afterward it will be more like 2 years ago, when we only had 1 pass. As far as the health of it, the way I use the pass it is not actually that unhealthy. I am sure a lot of salt though.

This is clearly no longer an experiment in frugality, but a bunch of little adventures close to home.

Last years bonus card was the one to get. It was the pasta passport. Pasta for 8 weeks, and a trip to Italy. That pass was $200 and their were only 50 of them. Hope they do that again.

One more great interaction story with my children:
After I just paid $400 for the 2 passes, my youngest said, "Dad, you could have bought a TV for only $300(they have been looking for months for a second TV for upstairs). I then had my oldest help me change the coils and plugs on my Fit, taking about 1 1/2 hours and saving, you guessed it, about $400.
Title: Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
Post by: Pizzabrewer on August 24, 2018, 02:43:51 AM
It looks like they go for about $200 on eBay.  Hmmmmm.....
Title: Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
Post by: tj on September 14, 2018, 07:14:03 PM
Damn, I missed it. Commenting so that I see it in my unread posts next year.
Title: Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
Post by: Pizzabrewer on September 15, 2018, 05:43:38 AM
Here's what I ended up doing. I sold 6.5 weeks of my card on eBay for $99.99. I'll use the card for one week then mail it to the buyer. I think one week of unlimited OG is about my limit.
Title: Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
Post by: SnackDog on September 15, 2018, 09:51:09 AM
I like that idea. Maybe next year 8 of us could buy one shared card for $12.50 each and mail it to each other after a week each!
Title: Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
Post by: Pizzabrewer on September 26, 2018, 12:48:15 PM
I've been twice now and am happy I sold the remaining 7 weeks. I don't think I can do much more than that.

The salad is good but has way too many croutons and onions. The dressing is a little "hyper-charged" for my tastes though. I haven't asked if there are other dressing options.

My surprise favorite sauce is the creamy spinach/artichoke. It's not too heavy like the alfredo sauce. I didn't care for the cheese marinara but the regular marinara and the meat sauce are decent.

My favorite topping is the grilled chicken. I found the shrimp was too fried/MSG-batter tasting. The sausage is a bit mushy and I thought the meatballs were gross.

Of the pastas I prefer the angel hair.

Overall it's been a mixed bag for me. I'll go one or 2 more times then mail the card off with no remorse.
Title: Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
Post by: tj on September 30, 2018, 12:46:32 AM
This may be of interest to others.

SmashBurger has - a SmashPass 100 days for $100. Good from 11/5/18 tp 2/1419 minus Thanksgiving & Christmas I just ordered one. =)

https://smashburger.com/smashpass/

What entrées are included with a Smash Pass™? All signature beef burgers, chicken sandwiches, turkey burgers, black bean burgers, and salads. The base Craft Your Own sandwiches are included, but all premium add-ons will be charged at regular price. The base salads are included, but protein and premium add-ons will be charged at regular price.
What’s not included with a Smash Pass™? Add-ons, salad proteins, sides, and beverages are not included with the Smash Pass™.
Title: Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
Post by: ACyclist on September 30, 2018, 09:22:39 AM
If you stick to the salad, and really limit the pasta intake...cause that much pasta, you're could get type II diabetes.
Title: Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
Post by: SnackDog on October 01, 2018, 06:37:01 AM
Red Robin did a year of Yumm in 2017 which was interesting.  RR has fabulous burgers, if you are into that sort of thing.   I wish my favorite local cafeteria would so some sort of meal plan. I know there are people who eat there almost every day.
Title: Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
Post by: Pizzabrewer on August 07, 2019, 02:02:45 AM
It’s back!  Pasta Pass goes on sale August 15.

They are also doing some kind of online mystery-solving-thing for unknown BIG surprises. Check out their Facebook/instagram/twitter. There’s lots of speculation...
Title: Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
Post by: GuitarStv on August 07, 2019, 09:11:24 AM
Has radram survived his last experiment?
Title: Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
Post by: zoochadookdook on August 08, 2019, 08:58:17 AM
To chime in.

I've had one the last few years. A few things to note:

You have to tip. Well....you don't have to and this is a forum of frugality but honestly-if you show up every single day for 8 weeks to a year and take up an actual tipping position in a restaurant/have someone wait on you and you don't throw them a few bucks......like have some humanity. If they allowed you to order a to go it'd be different but they don't.

It all tastes the same after a while. The sauces are sodium heavy. The bread is ok. The salad dressing/croutons pop up the calories. In no way, shape or form is it fun nor healthy to eat every single day.

I'm a wrestling instructor. I gained around 20 pounds eating there 8 weeks. I worked out frequently. I got stronger. Cardio suffered despite upping interval work. My metabolism is good. A lot was bloat/considerable body fat. This was doing cardio and strength training every single day at ages 25/26. God help someone middle aged without an insane metabolism.

Anyways this year I'm considering actually documenting/running blood panels before/during after.
Title: Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
Post by: radram on August 12, 2019, 09:47:14 PM
Guess who got an 8 week pass. I DID!!!!

Guess who got a 1 YEAR pass. I DID!!!!

We were trying to get 2 8 week passes, and 1 year pass. Had we gotten them all, we would have sold the year pass. Now we will probably keep it. 8 weeks of cheap afternoon "date night" with the wife, paired with our movie pass that expires in January(or when they are out of business, boy they really messed up that deal). 8 weeks of dinner and a movie for $5 per trip, including tip, with at least 4 take-home meals . We will see how many times we do it to see how that averages out after the cost of the passes. Maybe we will try to sell the annual pass for face value after the 8 weeks.

To add to the experience, each of our 2 daughters had a friend over as we were getting the passes. We were able to brag to our daughters, in front of their friends, that we got 2 passes. I even said I had to give them their Christmas present early in the form of pasta:) They were not amused, lol. In front of their friends, one daughter was less enthusiastic, but I could tell she still wants the pasta when at college (and the chicken Gnocchi soup).

Up-thread I have some posts with calorie counting, and my experience the past 2 years. This will be the third year in a row the radram family had a pass. The first 8 weeks will be like last year(my wife and I each have a pass), then afterward it will be more like 2 years ago, when we only had 1 pass. As far as the health of it, the way I use the pass it is not actually that unhealthy. I am sure a lot of salt though.

This is clearly no longer an experiment in frugality, but a bunch of little adventures close to home.

Last years bonus card was the one to get. It was the pasta passport. Pasta for 8 weeks, and a trip to Italy. That pass was $200 and their were only 50 of them. Hope they do that again.

One more great interaction story with my children:
After I just paid $400 for the 2 passes, my youngest said, "Dad, you could have bought a TV for only $300(they have been looking for months for a second TV for upstairs). I then had my oldest help me change the coils and plugs on my Fit, taking about 1 1/2 hours and saving, you guessed it, about $400.
I am still here. Thank you @GuitarStv for the shout-out. COOL. My one and only groupie lol.

Our movie passes ended up being worthless soon after the post I replied to. I still think they were worth the $95 or so we paid for them before moviepass went belly up. They were nowhere near the value they advertised. I see after they went belly up they tried to roll out another unlimited pass, and it too was met with troubles. Turns out, they were changing the passwords of heavy users in order to slow them down on using the passes. Based on my first experience, I was fine waiting to see how they did before getting in. I am glad I waited. I will not be buying the new moviepass.

My wife and I very much enjoyed our 8 weeks of lunch dates. It was no where near the "value" I tried to get out of my first pass. You can read about that up-thread. We went about 2 times per week or so, so each visit was about $8 each, after the cost of the 8 week pass, my 8/52 portion of my pass, and tip per visit. That left me with a cost of about $200 and about 44 weeks remaining to use it.

For the rest of the NFL season, it was fantastic. I do not have cable, so I do not get Monday Night Football at home. I played volleyball 20 minutes from home every Monday, and then went to Olive Garden to eat and watch the rest of the game. My daughters continued to enjoy the left-overs, and I very much enjoyed seeing some "extra" football. My wife taught lessons at home on Mondays, so I lost no time with my spouse.

Volleyball continued until the end of May. I still went weekly, though not with as much excitement. The kids were tired of the pasta, and watching the NBA just wasn't the treat the NFL was for me. I decided around mid may to try to sell my pass. At that time, I noticed that a few passes sold for face value in late February. I got greedy and  made the opening bid the $300 face value. After a couple of weeks with no bites and a few price changes, I found myself still holding the pass in early June on my way to a 2 week trip to Ireland with my family.

My garden started producing on my return, and I found the unlimited salad at OG to be worthless, since I was getting unlimited salad for "free" at home. I ended of using the pass only a couple of times this entire summer.  I decided I will wait until volleyball starts again in the fall, and retire the annual pass with 4 weekly visits in early fall.

Looking back, I should have sold the pass in late February at close to face value. That would have been about 5 months of "free" pasta, with only the tip per visit as payment.

I see the 2019 "bonus" pass is that they are selling 50 LIFETIME passes for $400 each.We have already decided we will only try to get the lifetime pass, and will not try to get the 8 week pass. If we get one, I will either keep it, or try to sell it on ebay for about $5,000. If you sell it immediately, you can have the buyers name placed on the pass. I think that was the major sticking point of trying to sell my annual pass with my name on it.

Assuming I do not win one of the 50 lifetime spots, this is most likely the end of my 3 year pasta journey. I can say that I DESPERATELY miss cooking pasta. I make a GREAT homemade spaghetti sauce from my garden, and have only made it about 5 times in 3 years.  I look forward to adding that back to my cooking. That said, I have countless memories that are worth far more than I paid for the passes.

Good luck to all that try on August 15th.
Title: Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
Post by: WhiteTrashCash on August 12, 2019, 10:14:19 PM
I think we're missing the real tragedy of this entire thread, which is that you are stuck eating at Olive Garden.
Title: Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
Post by: Pizzabrewer on August 13, 2019, 04:06:03 AM
Radram, the lifetime pass is being sold as an “upgrade” to the 9 week pass. 50 people will be offered the chance to upgrade (first 50 who sign up?  50 chosen at random?  IDK). So you’ll have to buy the 9-week pass in any event.

$5k on eBay wouldn’t surprise me.
Title: Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
Post by: EngagedToFIRE on August 13, 2019, 06:51:16 AM
I think we're missing the real tragedy of this entire thread, which is that you are stuck eating at Olive Garden.

Right?!  I'd rather eat the $100 bill than Olive Garden for 9 weeks.

And again, TIPPING.  The lunches I bring to work cost me under $1.  The tip alone, if you are not a jackass, would be $5.  Plus the cost of the pass.  Figure putting you $7 - $9/meal.  That's not a bargain.  It's really no different than going out to lunch every day for fast food.  It's unhealthy, expensive, and in this case, you get the same garbage every single day.  Sounds both financially stupid and gross.
Title: Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
Post by: WhiteTrashCash on August 13, 2019, 10:22:05 PM
I think we're missing the real tragedy of this entire thread, which is that you are stuck eating at Olive Garden.

Right?!  I'd rather eat the $100 bill than Olive Garden for 9 weeks.

And again, TIPPING.  The lunches I bring to work cost me under $1.  The tip alone, if you are not a jackass, would be $5.  Plus the cost of the pass.  Figure putting you $7 - $9/meal.  That's not a bargain.  It's really no different than going out to lunch every day for fast food.  It's unhealthy, expensive, and in this case, you get the same garbage every single day.  Sounds both financially stupid and gross.

Why would anybody pay $7-$9/day to eat at Olive Garden, when that's what I spend on special occasions to eat full steak dinners at home? It makes absolutely no financial sense whatsoever.
Title: Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
Post by: EngagedToFIRE on August 14, 2019, 07:22:53 AM
I think we're missing the real tragedy of this entire thread, which is that you are stuck eating at Olive Garden.

Right?!  I'd rather eat the $100 bill than Olive Garden for 9 weeks.

And again, TIPPING.  The lunches I bring to work cost me under $1.  The tip alone, if you are not a jackass, would be $5.  Plus the cost of the pass.  Figure putting you $7 - $9/meal.  That's not a bargain.  It's really no different than going out to lunch every day for fast food.  It's unhealthy, expensive, and in this case, you get the same garbage every single day.  Sounds both financially stupid and gross.

Why would anybody pay $7-$9/day to eat at Olive Garden, when that's what I spend on special occasions to eat full steak dinners at home? It makes absolutely no financial sense whatsoever.

That's exactly my point!  And in order to get it to that price, you have to go virtually every day.  The potential damage to someones health eating that over salted processed food should also be factored in.  What's the price of a doctor visit and blood pressure meds?
Title: Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
Post by: radram on August 15, 2019, 10:50:22 PM
Radram, the lifetime pass is being sold as an “upgrade” to the 9 week pass. 50 people will be offered the chance to upgrade (first 50 who sign up?  50 chosen at random?  IDK). So you’ll have to buy the 9-week pass in any event.

$5k on eBay wouldn’t surprise me.

I tried with 3 different computers, but no pass this year. So we had 1 8 week pass our first year, 2 8 week passes our second year, and 1 8 week plus 1 year pass our third year. Our streak has ended.

Maybe I will ramp up my visits for the last few weeks of my annual pass just for old times sake.

It looks like the 50 lifetime winners will be notified tomorrow. I wonder what they will sell for on ebay.

Title: Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
Post by: Pizzabrewer on August 16, 2019, 06:00:37 PM
It looks like the one lifetime pass that was listed on ebay went for $2700.

I did manage to buy one of the 9-week passes.  I have it listed on ebay but so far no takers.
Title: Re: Olive Garden - eat for $1 per meal
Post by: radram on August 17, 2019, 11:13:28 AM
It looks like the one lifetime pass that was listed on ebay went for $2700.

I did manage to buy one of the 9-week passes.  I have it listed on ebay but so far no takers.

congrats on getting one. At that price point, I think I would most likely have kept it and put it into my daughters name.