Olive Garden has managed to make up for the middling quality of its food by serving you a whole bunch of it. The recently announced Never Ending Pasta Pass (which for $100 one can eat all the pasta one wants for seven weeks) and Never Ending Pasta Bowl are just two examples of the philosophy in action. According to a presentation from the chain's investors, unlimited everything is not the most cost effective model.
Grub Street's Clint Rainey writes:
One of 294 slides listing reasons why investor Starboard Value should take over Darden Restaurants Inc., "Breadsticks: Just One Example of Food Waste" slams the chain, because locations today "lack training and discipline," with servers trotting out "an excess of breadsticks significantly outnumbering the number of guests."
Starboard says it wouldn't seek an end to the policy, but rather just conveniently halt breadstick delivery beyond an initial basket with one per person at a table unless otherwise instructed, thus making the famed "unlimited breadsticks" just a tad bit more limited seeming.
The slideshow presented by Starboard Value was almost 300 pages, and even tackled such mundane issues including: the unsalted water used to make pasta (how dare they skip salt?), non-industry length straws (too long!), dishwasher safe to-go containers (who needs it?) and the menu's Spanish style tapas and burgers (why are they even serving that?).
But clearly, consumers aren't too upset with the chain. The Never-Ending Pasta Pass sold out in under an hour and resulted in the website crashing from so many simultaneous attempts at purchasing it.