Olive Garden are giving guests even more value and variety with a three-course Italian dinner at just $9.99. The special is only for a limited time, but it will most likely bring in more customers.
Part of the Darden Restaurants group, based out of Orlando, Olive Garden has struggled as of late to attract more diners, according to Yahoo Finance. As a means of staying relevant in the full-serve restaurant business, Olive Garden is basically adding a free dessert to meals that already cost $9.99 as their base price. Those dishes already include a first course of either homemade soup or garden-fresh salad, along with unlimited garlic breadsticks.
Olive Garden added this deal to their brand new "Cucina Mia" menu, which was introduced last month as part of an overall menu revamp as a last-ditch save effort, as reported earlier here on The Inquisitr. What Cucina Mia allows customers to do is to choose from six pastas and five sauces. With the current special, Olive Garden is bringing in a customer's choice of chocolate mousse cake, salted caramel tiramisu, or traditional tiramisu for dessert. The options for the custom dinners are listed below for your convenience.
1. Start with freshly baked breadsticks and choice of unlimited homemade soup or garden-fresh salad
2. Choose from six pastas and five sauces:
- Pastas: Large Paccheri, Tri-Colored Vegetable Penne made with spinach and tomato, Gluten-Free Rotini, Bucatini, Cavatappi, Whole Wheat Linguine
- Made-from-scratch sauces: Roasted Garlic Alfredo, Spicy Diavolo, Primavera, Creamy Sun-Dried Tomato, Fresh Tomato Pomodoro
- Add a topping (additional cost): Chicken Meatballs, Sausage Meatballs, Meatballs, Sauteed Shrimp
The special is for a limited time only, and Olive Garden did not disclose when it would end, as stated by the Orlando Sentinel. However, Olive Garden will most likely come up with another special after this one is over. Throughout the previous year, Olive Garden has come up with some very unique specials to keep up with the competition. This includes their endless pasta bowls for $9.99 early last year. After that, Olive Garden had the "buy one dinner now and take one home for tomorrow" deal.
Deals like this aren't exclusive to Olive Garden because they aren't the only restaurant suffering. Because of restaurants that provide the speed of fast food and the hospitality and luxury of a full-serve restaurant, many traditional full-serve restaurants are struggling. Along with Olive Garden, many other restaurants, some under the Darden brand, are trying to stay relevant. Red Lobster has a 5-course dinner special for $15.99. Longhorn Steakhouse provides free appetizers with lunch. Even other restaurants, like Applebee's and Chile's, are struggling to keep up with Einstein's Bagels, Tropical Smoothie Cafe, and probably the one restaurant that has hurt all full-serve restaurants the most, Panera Bread Company.
In the end, Olive Garden's attempt to stay relevant is a gain for diners. However, what Olive Garden needs to remember is that diners go to them not mostly for food, but an experience. Unfortunately for Olive Garden, society is moving generally at such a fast pace, it's rare to find anyone who has time to enjoy an experience.