Why Would Olive Garden Offer People the Chance to Eat Unlimited Pasta for 7 Weeks?

This past Monday Olive Garden, a chain of 800+ locations that that serves Italian food began offering passes that gave 1,000 people the chance to eat as much pasta as they wanted for seven weeks.  The passes cost only $100 and entitled the holder to any kind of pasta dish.   Plus, the pass holder and everyone who ate with the pass holder got unlimited soda.  A few days before the promotion I gave a lecture that emphasized well- run companies focused on making a profit.  One of my students asked “Why would any business do something this crazy, since Olive Garden was going to make a loss, not a profit, on every pass sold?” Continue reading