In the wake of Olive Garden's highly successful promotion for never-ending pasta, the Italian chain plans to bend the rules of the promotion since it faces what might be called a high-quality problem.
More than 50 of the 1,000 pasta passes are drawing bids on online auction site eBay for multiples of the original $100 purchase price even though the restaurant stipulates on its site that they are "non-transferable and may not be re-sold."
In light of this, the company faces a dilemma: it can either enforce the fine print and risk making some second-hand buyers or sellers mad, or ignore its own rules to avoid alienating customers.
Even though it's clear on Olive Garden's site that the cards aren't allowed to be re-sold, the company plans to flex on this somewhat in the spirit of maintaining good guest relations.
"The cards are personalized and not transferable; however, hospitality is core to who we are, which is why we'll work with anyone who's purchased a card on eBay to ensure they enjoy Never Ending Pasta Bowl. I'd encourage those guests to reach out to us directly via phone or social media," said Tara Gray, a Darden spokeswoman, by email.
On Monday, the pass promotion drew half a million visitors within the first half hour. At times, the volume was so great, the promotion's site suffered technical glitches.
For those who failed to snag a pasta pass Monday, Gray mentioned the company will be hosting giveaways during the next couple weeks leading up to the beginning of the promotion.
—By Katie Little