Woman Claims Olive Garden Using Tactic To Stop People From Eating 'Never-Ending Pasta Bowl,' Sparking Debate On Value

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The number of buffet restaurants in America has fallen by 26% since 1998. So how does an industry that encourages its customers to eat as much as possible stay in business? It's a riddle that any casual Olive Garden customer has pondered.

Still, until now, few have spilled the beans on how the national chain allegedly keeps customers from taking too much Never Ending Pasta home with them.

In a video posted on TikTok, Isabel, who goes by the name @issa_chabela, shows off her second bowl of pasta and shares a theory about how it works.

The video has racked up nearly 521,000 views.

What is Olive Garden's Never Ending Pasta Bowl?

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Credit: Olive Garden

After two years of hiatus, the Never Ending pasta bowl was brought back to Olive Garden restaurants this year. According to a Forbes article on September 29, 2022:

"The Never Ending Pasta Bowl Menu includes the choice of four pastas (fettuccine, spaghetti, rigatoni, and angel hair), plus five sauces ( made-from-scratch creamy mushroom, traditional marinara, five cheese marinara, traditional meat sauce, and alfredo), plus three toppings ( meatballs, Italian sausage, and crispy chicken fritta)."

Olive Garden has been offering an all-you-can-eat pasta bowl for 25 years.

While the Never Ending pasta pass was once a popular item at the restaurant, it's no longer a requirement for those who want unlimited pasta. The Never Ending Past Bowl menu costs $13.99 at most locations.

How does the restaurant prevent customers from ordering a bowl and a second to-go?

In the video, Isabel says that the Never Ending pasta bowl is never ending, "but they bring you a smaller bowl the next time."

One commenter, who claims to have recently started working at the restaurant, said she was confused by the size of the Never Ending pasta bowl sizes:

"Just started as a server there and i was confused too when I picked up the refill like oh small bowl alright then."

Despite the motivation behind the change, the restaurant's users have defended the restaurant and said it was a consistent part of its strategy. A commenter said:

"They do this to curb waste. You get a full sized portion for your 1st and smaller ones after that until you are finished. This is not deceptive."

One user noted that they were once stopped by the restaurant while finishing their food and asked to take another refill.

The most highly-rated comment: "God I want Olive Garden now."

Final thoughts

While some customers may complain about policies at buffet-style restaurants, no doubt serving smaller bowls is helping to reduce waste.

Waste reduction is a growing concern to many restaurateurs, especially as the pressure of food prices increases.

The Never Ending Pasta Bowl has plenty of hallmarks of a true buffet: plenty of choices and variety at a reasonable price.

As of October 2022, 891 Olive Garden restaurants were in the US. In California, there are 77 branches for every 513,143 residents, equivalent to 9% of the company's US total. The state with the most locations for the company in Texas, with 104 branches. This is about 12% of the company's US locations (via Scrapehero).

What do you think about this?

Have you enjoyed this offer at Olive Garden? Should they have larger plates for their Never Ending Pasta Bowl?

Can you share any tactics to get the best experience from an All-You-Can-Eat buffet?

Share your thoughts in the comments, and feel free to share this article on social media and with your friends and family if you'd like.

Disclaimer: This article is only for educational and informational purposes.

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