Get your forks and fingers ready, Olive Garden is bringing back its fan favorite 'Unlimited Pasta Pass' this week. And the restaurant chain is upping the number of passes it is selling to 21,000 from 2,000.
For only $100, the pass lets the holder enjoy unlimited pasta, soup, salad, and breadsticks, as well as bottomless soda for themselves and their guests. The pass lasts for seven weeks from October 3, 2016 to November 20, 2016.
But you'll have to be quick to act when it goes on sale online this Thursday at 2:00 pm ET. Last year the passes sold out within one second.
“Within seconds of last year’s Pasta Pass sale beginning, our most enthusiastic fans clicked ‘purchase,’ becoming part of an exclusive club and the envy of pasta lovers everywhere,” said Jose Duenas, executive vice president of marketing for Olive Garden, in a statement. “We know there are more fans than there were Pasta Passes so we’re expanding the club tenfold to give more guests an all-access pass to our most popular promotion of the year.”
Some of the passes later resurfaced on eBay for hundreds of dollars. Others ended up in the hands of super fans, like a Burlington, North Carolina pastor who used it to eat two meals a day, every day, for six weeks, 100 meals in all.
Pastor Alan Martin told NBC News in 2014 that getting through the first week was tough, even though he and his family love Olive Garden.
But by the second and third week, "I was craving it," Martin said. "I started getting there earlier and earlier."
The pasta pass has been a successful publicity stunt for Olive Garden since its launch two years ago, giving the struggling Italian casual dining chain a much-needed boost.
In 2014 activist investor Starboard Value replaced the entire board of parent company Darden Restaurants with its own slate of 12 nominees. Prior to the change, a Powerpoint presentation the group had made criticizing in part how the restaurant gave out too many breadsticks went viral.