Olive Garden special offers seven weeks of pasta for $100

WASHINGTON — Olive Garden is introducing a new deal that may appeal to those with large appetites: $100 for seven weeks of pasta.

On Monday, the Italian restaurant will open online registration for its “Never Ending Pasta Pass.” The deal gives the holder the chance to wolf down all the pasta, salad, bread and Coca-Cola-brand soft drinks he can in a seven-week period.

There are only 1,000 pasta passes available and online registration begins Monday at 3 p.m. on the Olive Garden website.

The special runs in tandem with the already-established “Never Ending Pasta Bowl” promotion — from Sept. 22 through Nov. 9. The “Never Ending Pasta Bowl” lets customers eat all the pasta they want for $9.99 per visit.

“We’re trying to make our fans feel like VIPs,” Jay Spenchian, executive vice president of marketing at Olive Garden, said to USA TODAY.

Olive Garden’s efforts are a part of a growing all-you-can-eat trend among restaurants. TGI Friday’s has an “Endless Appetizers” option where customers can eat all of the appetizers their stomachs can handle for $10. Red Lobster’s “Endless Shrimp” deal lets patrons plow through bottomless shrimp, which costs about $15.99 depending on location.

While the deals may seem gluttonous in an increasingly health-conscious country, Spenchian says the deals are a way to stand out in a struggling industry.

“What we’re trying to do is get some attention,” he said to USA TODAY.

Still, the trend has some health experts worried. Robyn Flipse, a registered dietitian, tells USA TODAY that consumers should still be mindful of how much they’re eating.

“If the primary object is to get your money’s worth, it has nothing to do with good nutrition,” she says.

She suggests preparing pasta at home, where calories and money can be spared.

For those who find the never-ending pasta path appealing, Olive Garden has at least one rule: No sharing the pasta with others at the table.

Also, pass holders can take leftovers home, according to USA TODAY.

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