One of Olive Garden's famous marketing tactics is its bottomless pasta bowls and never-ending breadsticks, but whereas most customers know the breadsticks aren't actually unlimited, some have pushed employees to the brink. In particular, one Redditor who claimed to be a server at Olive Garden recounted a bread vanishing act that could be straight from a magic show.
On Reddit, the user explained, "[I] was working a lunch shift and had a table of three come in." As complimentary, the server brought out a basket of bread to hold the hungry customers over while they waited to order. However, no sooner had the server turned around had the bread vanished. They said, "Okay, y'all were hungry, that's normal. I brought a new basket out, and it happened again."
What followed must have seemed like a scene out of "Scooby-Doo." The bread appeared to vanish every time the server gave the customers more. Finally, after around eight baskets of bread, the server grew suspicious of them. "I started watching and saw that they were putting the bread in their purses. Just filling 'em up." The Olive Garden manager ended up having to step in and put an end to the bread theft.
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There's A Limit To Unlimited
While those customers with the purses may have thought they were getting a great deal, likely, they didn't even enjoy the breadsticks they were shoveling into their purses. According to data from Olive Garden's parent company, breadsticks only last for around seven minutes before they begin to lose their quality. However, customers begin to go a bit wild when it comes to free items.
It's a phenomenon known as Zero Price Effect. Some customers tend to get so blinded by the allure of free that they don't even debate if the item is worth all of their antics. It's why some shoppers end up with items that they wouldn't otherwise care about. In the case of breadsticks, it means what should be a complementary item becomes a heated battleground between staff and customers. While Olive Garden's breadsticks may be unlimited, keep in mind that there are certain rules that servers must follow.
In recent years, Olive Garden may have become stricter about giving out unlimited breadsticks. The company realized that it was wasting money on breadsticks that were potentially going into the bin. Investors were worried that Olive Garden was spending a little too much bread on breadsticks. There may be something to that. Consider that in 2009 alone, the company served more than 600 million breadsticks.
Customers Go Can Extreme Lengths For Breadsticks
While Olive Garden's breadsticks are marketed as unlimited, there's a hidden catch that customers may not realize. Otherwise, hungry diners, like the customers with the purses, may eat the restaurant out of business.
Olive Garden will give one breadstick per person plus an extra complimentary breadstick for the table. This prevents too many breadsticks from going to waste. Likewise, your waiters are unlikely to bring you a second batch of breadsticks of their own volition. If you want more breadsticks then you'll have to ask for more.
However, that hasn't stopped customers from going to some extreme ways to try to get more of Olive Garden's unlimited breadsticks. Some customers have still tried to abuse Olive Garden's policies. Taking to Reddit, some other users who claimed to be Olive Garden employees shared their horror stories. One user who claimed to be an Olive Garden server shared an experience they had in which two customers refused to leave. They got their meals at lunch and continued to sit at the restaurant until dinner, enjoying the restaurant's amenities of unlimited bread and soup. The user wrote, "They both knew what they were doing. When I left around 3 or 4 they weren't even winded."
Read the original article on Daily Meal.