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Olive Garden's "Pasta Pass" to offer a year of unlimited pasta

Major Food Group restaurants take NY by storm

Olive Garden customers who can't get enough pasta have a chance to enjoy unlimited servings for a year.

The restaurant chain is offering its first annual pasta pass as part of its never-ending pasta bowl promotion. The pass is available to 1,000 customers who pay $300.

The 52-week pass goes on sale along with 23,000 passes that offer eight weeks of unlimited access for $100 starting at 2 p.m. EDT Thursday at www.PastaPass.com. Olive Garden says 22,000 pasta passes were claimed within one second last year.

The appeal of the Pasta Pass can be found in its economics: For $100 or $300, consumers can buy a card that gives them the right to unlimited servings of $9.99 pasta over an eight-week or annual period. That might not appeal to to some, but the offer clearly is a draw for Olive Garden's core audience. 

Shares of parent company Darden have gained 34 percent over the past year. 

Olive Garden's executive vice president of marketing, Jennifer Arguello, says the annual pass was added after customers made it clear eight weeks was not enough.

The eight-week pass can be used from Sept. 24 through Nov. 18.

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