Missed out on your chance to purchase one of Olive Garden’s Never Ending Pasta Passes? You can still get one — for a few thousand dollars extra.
A Never Ending Pasta Pass, priced to sell at $100 each, entitles a diner to seven weeks of uninterrupted access to the brand’s Never Ending Pasta Bowl, which will sell for $9.99 to those without a pass. Customers choose a pasta from a list that includes spaghetti and fettucine, a sauce from options that include Asiago garlic Alfredo and marinara, and a topping such as meatballs or shrimp.
Pass holders can take advantage of the bottomless-bowl perk between Oct. 3 and Nov. 20.
Soon after the passes sold out on Olive Garden’s designated site, they started popping up on eBay
. As of Friday afternoon, there were pasta passes offered at prices ranging from $180.50 to $4,500.
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Last year, Olive Garden, a Darden Restaurants Inc.
brand, made 2,000 passes available. The 2015 passes sold out in less than one minute, according to the company. The average pass holder visited the chain 28 times over the course of the seven-week promotion in 2015, the company said.
This year, they were sold in less than a second, an Olive Garden representative told MarketWatch, with 21,000 purchased as soon as the clock struck the 2 p.m. Eastern sale start time.
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Olive Garden is also auctioning passes on eBay, with all of the proceeds going to Feeding America. A minimum donation of $21,000 is guaranteed. As of Thursday afternoon, bids were exceeding $700.
In Darden’s fourth-quarter earnings release, Olive Garden same-restaurant sales were reported to have risen 1.6%, exceeding such fellow Darden brands as Longhorn Steakhouse and Capital Grille. Seasons 52, a wine bar and grill, and Bahama Breeze, a Caribbean restaurant, reported 3.7% and 5.4% same-restaurant sales growth, respectively.
Olive Garden tallied $981.8 million in revenue for the quarter, the highest of the company’s business segments yet down from a year-earlier $1.04 billion. Darden’s total sales were $1.79 billion.
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One of the drivers of Olive Garden’s performance, highlighted on its earnings conference call, was the company’s to-go platform, whose sales were up 19% from a year before, said Chief Executive Eugene Lee. (Pasta passes can’t be used for to-go orders, according to the Olive Garden website.)
Darden shares closed down 0.9% on Monday and are down 3.5% so far this calendar year. The S&P 500 Index
is up 4.7% in 2016.
View more information: https://www.marketwatch.com/story/olive-gardens-pasta-passes-selling-on-ebay-for-as-much-as-4500-2016-09-16