by Kerry Martin
How many people really want to go out to a restaurant simply because of the “all-you-can-eat” specials? Not to contradict myself just a few days after Thanksgiving (I only refilled my plate once), but it’s never been a draw for me to go out to a nice meal just to stuff myself until I can’t eat another bite.
When I saw the recent promotion from Olive Garden (the Italian food chain notorious for its never-ending pasta bowl), I had to give them credit for a great idea that’s a new twist on an old classic. For the last month, they offered a menu where you can order one pasta dish and receive another meal to take home for dinner the next night.
If you think about it, this promotion (called “Dinner Today & Dinner Tomorrow”) was almost the same as their traditional never-ending pasta bowl. From Olive Garden’s standpoint, they’re probably giving away the same amount of spaghetti, but the way it was marketed will likely benefit the restaurant chain so much more.
In this economy and with today’s health concerns, people would much rather capture the value of two separate meals (which could possibly be stretched even further) than tackle multiple bowls of pasta in one sitting just to get their money’s worth. Not only do they appease their loyal customers who are used to getting a certain amount of freebies (there’s still the endless breadsticks!), but they also have the opportunity to attract a broader customer base into their restaurants.
Hmm, a restaurant that gives you food to take home? It does feel like when you’re here, you’re family.