Carbo Loaders: Get a Load of Olive Garden’s Lifetime Pasta Pass

For $500, you can eat an unlimited amount of pasta every single day for the rest of your life.

How much pasta would a pasta eater eat if a pasta eater could eat pasta … in unlimited quantities every day for life?

Olive Garden is giving customers a chance to find out. For the first time ever, the Italian casual dining chain is offering a Lifetime Pasta Pass that will allow carbo loaders to load up on as much pasta, soup or salad, and breadsticks as they desire until the day they pass along to that great olive garden in the sky.

The promotion is piggy-backing on Olive Garden’s annual Pasta Pass promotion, in which diners scramble to snag a Never Ending Pasta Pass that allows them to eat unlimited amounts of pasta for a limited period of time. This year, the promotion spans nine weeks, from Sept. 23 through Nov. 24, one week longer than last year’s Pasta Pass promotion. Twenty-four thousand of the Never Ending Pasta Passes will be available for $100 apiece, plus tax, for those who manage to get one when they go on sale (for 30 minutes or until they are gone) on a dedicated site -- www.PastaPass.com -- starting Thursday, August 15 at 2 p.m. ET. (You can log on to lurk in an “online waiting room” five minutes ahead of time.)

Then, the very next day – Friday, August 16 – the first 50 people who bought Never Ending Pasta Passes and indicated interest in extending their pasta pig-out all day, every day (except Thanksgiving and Christmas, when the chain is closed), forever and ever will be offered the option of upgrading to a Lifetime Pasta Pass – procuring a lifetime of unlimited pasta, homemade sauces, pasta toppings, soup or salad and breadsticks -- for an additional payment of $400, plus tax.

Olive Garden estimates the pass will pay for itself after 45 bowls of pasta. But those bowls have to be all you – you can’t share your Pasta Pass with anyone else and they’re redeemable only in the restaurants, not for takeout or online orders. All of this is to say, these passes are probably best for serious pasta eater, rather than pasta dabblers.

“Olive Garden has always been known for Italian generosity and making everyone feel like family, which is why we introduced our Pasta Pass five years ago,” Jennifer Arguello, Olive Garden’s executive vice president of marketing, said in a statement. “With the introduction of our new Lifetime Pasta Pass, we’re excited to be a part of our biggest fans’ memories around the table for years to come.”

Those who don’t score one of the coveted passes can still get in on the all-you-can-eat action during the Never Ending Pasta Bowl promotion, starting Sept. 23. For $10.99, hungry customers can eat unlimited quantities of pasta, soup or salad, and breadsticks.

People on social media seem to be really thinking things through.

“With either pass, can you take home leftovers if you don’t finish your meal or is it treated like a buffet?” wondered someone on Instagram.

“You're able to take home what you don't finish!” Olive Garden responded.

“Can I pass this on to my offspring if I die from eating endless pasta after winning the contest?” another person asked.

Alas, Olive Garden has yet to answer that deeply considered question.

Photo courtesy of Olive Garden

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