The Objective Best Strategy For Olive Garden's Never Ending Pasta

Whether you're a thrifty college student or just a hungry person who enjoys a good deal, the Never Ending Pasta Bowl promotion at Olive Garden is a cheap way to gorge on a lot of food for a reasonable price and take home plenty of leftovers that gives you a precious additional meal.

Olive Garden may not be fine Italian cuisine, but it fills you up and, for students, it's at least something different from the monotonous university cafeteria lineup of sandwiches, pizza, and cereal. The most recent iteration of this longstanding promotion has seen the cost rise to $13.99, with proteins such as meatballs and Italian sausage tacking on an extra $4.99 (per Business Insider).

Back after a two-year hiatus (per Nation's Restaurant News), if you want to make the most out of the Never Ending Pasta Bowl offering, you need to approach it with a strategy. We once witnessed someone inhale five plates of pasta in one sitting (the cook even asked about him), but outside perhaps of professional competitive eaters, not everyone's stomach can handle that much sauce and noodles.

Don't fill up on soup and breadsticks

Olive Garden's Never Ending Pasta Bowl is paired with a soup or salad and breadsticks. Part of any effective strategy involves avoiding filling up on breadsticks and soup. Opt for the salad instead and save the breadsticks to bring home with you (via The Takeout).

The first portion you are served with the deal is a full portion, while every subsequent plate of pasta is only a half portion. Olive Garden also has a permanent menu fixture called a Create Your Own Pasta meal where you pick any pasta and sauce for between $12.99 and $13.99, roughly the same price as the Never Ending Pasta Bowl. It also comes with your choice of soup or salad and breadsticks.

To make the most out of the promotion, in addition to packing the breadsticks in a to-go-box and swapping the soup for salad, devouring just one or two half bowls of pasta after the main serving allows you to start surpassing the Create Your Own Pasta menu option in terms of value. If you simply can't manage another bite after the initial full portion, order the half portion to take home with those breadsticks. Whether you eat it in the restaurant or not, getting that second plate represents a slight net win for the diner. The Never Ending Pasta Bowl promotion runs from October 3 to November 20, per Restaurant Business.