Woman with cheese grater(l), Olive Garden restaurant(c), Woman with italian food in car(r)

@bo_gjerness/Tiktok JHVEPhoto/shutterstock @courtneydanielleyt/Tiktok (Licensed)

The sauciest Olive Garden stories of 2023: Cheese graters, never-ending pasta fails, and a $6.99 meal for 2 hack

Olive Garden has had quite the year.


Eilish O'Sullivan


Posted on Dec 22, 2023   Updated on Dec 21, 2023, 12:00 pm CST

Eater declared casual dining chains like Olive Garden as “back” this year. If you have a TikTok, and scrolled through it at all in the past year (or are a reader of the Daily Dot), you’d probably have to agree. Just like its soup and salad, the viral moments involving the socio-economic melting pot—it’s reportedly one of the only places where the rich and the poor mix—have been endless. From customers purchasing cheese graters to take home with them to its never-ending pasta deal returning in full swing, these five stories will tell you all you need to know about the brand’s year—an “Olive Garden Wrapped,” if you will. 

Olive Garden customer goes in for never-ending pasta and discovers you can take home a cheese grater

While popular TikToker Jordan Howlett (@jordan_the_stallion8) helped popularize the trend of purchasing cheese graters from Olive Garden, it was actually a TikToker named Bo (@bo_gjerness) who started it. 

In October, Bo said she visited an Olive Garden to celebrate her birthday with never-ending pasta when she realized she could leave with one of the joint’s cheese graters. 

“Do you guys sell the cheese graters?” Bo recalled asking the server, only to find out that “they do!” 

Not only did Bo secure a cheese grater, but the workers also gave her a tub of cheese so that she could test her new gadget out (Bo called the complimentary cheese tub the “best part”). Bo’s video inspired countless others to try the hack out for themselves, leaving many Olive Gardens across the nation barren of cheese graters.

Read the story here.

Olive Garden customers say both server and manager yelled at them for sharing unlimited pasta

2023 was the year of never-ending deals at casual chain restaurants. Applebee’s had its moment when it offered unlimited wings, and Olive Garden followed suit with an all-you-can-eat deal of its own: never-ending pasta. While the deal started at only $13.99, a few TikTokers sneakily tried to get an even better bang for their buck. 

That didn’t always go to plan, though. A group of customers learned this the hard way after getting caught and reprimanded for sharing one unlimited pasta deal among three people, dividing viewers into two camps: rule followers and those who felt Olive Garden’s policy was too strict. 

For rule followers who want to maximize the deal, this TikToker broke down exactly how much pasta one would need to eat to make it worth it. 

Read the story here.

Olive Garden customer gets pasta, breadsticks, side, and drink for $7 in kids’ meal hack

Everyone is a kid at heart—and at Olive Garden, perhaps?

With the cost of seemingly everything going up these days, it makes sense consumers need a break every now and again. One way to catch that break is to order a kids’ meal, rather than a regular meal, at a restaurant because kids’ meals are known for being more affordable. The downside is that they are also a lot more exclusive, meaning you usually have to be in the 12 or under club to order them. 

TikToker Courtney Danielle (@courtneydanielleyt) shared her workaround for successfully ordering a meal off the kids’ menu: Just order for pick-up. For $6.99, Danielle said she received fettuccine alfredo, spaghetti, a drink, two breadsticks, and a chicken breast. 

Danielle also quelled the concerns of those who think they would not get enough food with a kids’ meal. 

Her meal, she said, was enough to feed two people, making this hack one of the best we’ve seen on TikTok this year. 

Read the story here.

Olive Garden worker complains about when tables of 6 or more all order never-ending soup and salad

You’re the worst if you order the never-ending soup and salad. You know that, right? 

Just kidding. 

Sort of.

Before there was unlimited pasta, there was Olive Garden’s never-ending soup and salad. The OG menu item costs around $7.99 at lunchtime and $9.99 during dinnertime, making it a go-to choice for customers. 

One thing customers who order this may not take into account is the strain the order puts on the workers. A server brought attention to that in a video posted in May. 

TikToker Emily Taplay (@emilyytap16) complained about a table of six all ordering the never-ending soup and salad. While Taplay didn’t detail why large tables ordering the never-ending soup and salad would be a problem, judging from other posts on social media, there are two primary reasons. The first is that it’s labor intensive, requiring servers to go back and forth from the kitchen to the table in order to refill the table’s unlimited breadsticks, salads, and soups. Secondly, it doesn’t bring in tips that match the effort the server will put in due to combo’s low cost. 

At the end of the day, viewers agreed that it’s OK for customers to order this if they acknowledge the effort a server puts in and tip accordingly. 

Read the story here.

Former Olive Garden worker shares way to try 3-4 different pasta dishes with ‘never-ending’ hack

With the never-ending pasta deal, a customer can try 20 different pasta combinations—there’s five sauces and four pastas to choose from. 

And according to the Washington Post, the average stomach can hold roughly one liter before getting full. That’s a whole lot of pasta and not nearly enough stomach room. 

Former Olive Garden worker @authorofmanymuses shared a hack that allows customers to try at least a few of these different pasta dishes without getting full too fast. 

When partaking in the never-ending pasta deal, a customer will first be brought out a full-size serving of pasta, and each subsequent serving is a smaller, “refill-size” portion. The former Olive Garden worker revealed that servers have the ability to make the first portion the smaller size so that customers don’t get full too fast and can try out new dishes (you just have to ask nicely). 

The TikToker who worked at Olive Garden for seven years was ahead of her time, too. She dropped this hack in July—two months before the never-ending pasta deal officially returned.

Read the story here.

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*First Published: Dec 22, 2023, 4:00 am CST