Like Christmas Day or the announcement of the newest iPhone, the release of Olive Garden’s Never Ending Pasta Pass is quickly becoming one of the most anticipated events of the year.
On Thursday, Sept. 14, the casual dining chain offered its loyal customers the chance to purchase one of these coveted passes, each of which entitles the bearer to free meals at Olive Garden for eight whole weeks between Sept. 25 and Nov. 19.
And just as has happened in the previous two years of the promotion, the passes sold out within a single second, Olive Garden confirms.
Olive Garden offered a whopping 22,000 passes for $100 each, at exactly 2 p.m. ET, via www.PastaPass.com. For reference, that’s 1,000 more passes than the chain offered in 2016, and a whole 20,000 more than they made available in 2015.
This year, however, Olive Garden is tacked on an additional incentive: According to a press release, 50 Olive Garden “superfans” were given the opportunity to buy an all-inclusive tour of Italy for an additional $100 on a first-come, first-served basis. Dubbed the “Pasta Passport to Italy,” the getaway includes stops in Florence, Assisi, Siena, Rome and Pisa — and all meals, transportation, flights and hotels are included in the price.
According to Olive Garden, those too sold out within a single second.
"We couldn't think of a better way to create even more memories and a deeper connection to our brand than through a special edition Pasta Pass that includes an all-inclusive trip for two to the country that inspires us,” said Jennifer Arguello, the executive vice president of marketing for Olive Garden.
Of course, the 50 recipients of Olive Garden’s “Pasta Passport to Italy” will have to forgo their beloved Olive Garden for the duration of their Italian vacation, as there are currently no Olive Garden locations in all of Italy. Alas, winners will be forced to enjoy authentic Italian food in an authentic Italian atmospheres — in other words, there won’t be any Meatball-Stuffed Pizza Fritta appetizers. But hey, it could be worse!
Olive Garden has offered its Never Ending Pasta Pass promotion since in 2014.