Olive Garden is already a pretty affordable place to get Italian food, but the food tastes even better when you walk in with tried-and-true Olive Garden deals.
There are so many different ways to save while you’re eating unlimited breadsticks and salad. We’ll share about our favorite Olive Garden specials, tell you if the Olive Garden lunch menu is worth it, and even how to always get a 5% discount with Olive Garden gift cards.
You’re going to be shocked to see how many ways there are to save. Don’t forget to download the KCL app to find out when Olive Garden offers a deal you cannot miss.
1. Sign up for Olive Garden eClub to get high-value Olive Garden coupons every month.
Before you do anything, you should sign up for the Olive Garden eClub emails since they give you the best Olive Garden coupons. We’ve seen coupons for 10% off two or three entrees or 15% off your entire order.
These coupons will automatically be sent to your inbox once a month. They will also send you information on their latest promotions so you’ll be up to date on all of the Olive Garden specials.
2. Get a free Olive Garden birthday coupon for a free dessert during your birthday month.
Be sure to put in your birthday when you sign up for the Olive Garden eClub to receive an Olive Garden birthday coupon for a free dessert up to $8.29 in value. It’ll appear in your inbox during your birthday month.
And there are a lot more birthday freebies where that came from.
3. Split your meal with your partner to use two Olive Garden coupons at once.
One coupon per purchase is the rule at Olive Garden. But there is a way to hack the system and use two Olive Garden coupons at the same time.
When you have Olive Garden, split the bill in half, so both of you can use an Olive Garden coupon when you pay. Boom. Two coupons.
4. Order Family-Style Bundles for Olive Garden to go and save around 50%.
Olive Garden is pushing their Family Style Bundles (they say serve 4 – 6 but the portions are ginormous, so I’d say serve six easily) for Olive Garden to go, and it turns out this is a great deal. They include house salad and breadsticks.
Here’s the math:
Compare to single portion entree $15.79 per serving
Save $8.12, or 51%
Compare to single portion entree $14.49 per serving
Save $7.07, or 49%
Compare to single portion entree $17.99 per serving
Save $7.74, or 43%
If you’re wondering which family meal deals are worth it, we’ve done all the math for you to help you decide.
5. You’ll get 2 breadsticks per entree on your Olive Garden to-go orders.
With Olive Garden to-go orders, you won’t be able to get unlimited breadsticks or salad — obviously. They’re not going to keep bringing this stuff to your car. Instead, you’ll get two breadsticks per entree and one side salad per entree.
You can order six more Olive Garden breadsticks for $4.29 or 12 for $6.49. These can come cooked or uncooked.
6. Be sure to grab a $5 Take Home Entree for lunch the next day.
One of the best Olive Garden deals is the $5 Take Home Entree. You’ll have your pick from Fettuccine Alfredo, Five Cheese Ziti al Forno, and Spaghetti with Meat Sauce for only $5 for you to take home for the next day as long as you purchase an entree in the restaurant.
Unfortunately, you won’t get any breadsticks with this order. It’s also only available for dine-in orders.
7. Order from the Lunch-Sized menu for smaller sizes, not smaller prices.
Olive Garden’s Lunch-Sized menu features items on the Olive Garden menu that are about half the normal size — but they don’t cost half the price. You’re actually paying about 18% more per ounce, so don’t be fooled by the deal; stick with the normal portion:
- Lasagna Classico Single Serving: $9.99; Regular Serving: $15.79 (46% larger). Costs 15.8% more per oz.
- Fettuccine Alfredo Single Serving: $8.99; Regular Serving: $14.99 (50% larger). Costs 21.4% more per oz.
- Cheese Ravioli Single Serving: $8.99; Regular Serving: $13.99 (51% larger). Costs 10.0% more per oz.
8. Ask your server to box up half your meal when they serve it to you. Voila! Two meals.
Instead of getting the Lunch-Sized serving, get the regular entree size (and better per-ounce deal) — but ask your server to box up half your meal before it arrives at your table.
Eat the Lunch-Sized serving, fill up on free breadsticks and salad, and then look forward to eating the other half of your meal later. It’s like you get two meals for the price of one.
Bonus, they’ll also box up any leftover breadsticks and salad.
9. Save 5% on all your meals when you pay with a discounted Olive Garden gift card.
One of the best benefits from the Target RedCard is 5% off all purchases, which includes Olive Garden gift cards. This way, you can get a 5% discount on all of your Olive Garden purchases. And that’s just one of the many benefits to a Target RedCard.
You can also get Olive Garden gift cards from discounted sites like Raise.com, but you’ll only get a 4.2% discount on those cards.
TIP: Olive Garden is a Darden restaurant, which means you can use Olive Garden gift cards at other Darden restaurants and vice versa. These restaurants include Longhorn Steakhouse, Bahama Breeze, Seasons 52, The Capital Grille, Eddie V’s, Yard House, and Cheddar’s.
10. Or buy $50 in Olive Garden gift cards during the holidays and receive an extra $10 bonus card.
The best times to buy Olive Garden gift cards are throughout the month of December and in mid-April. During those times, Olive Garden offers a free $10 bonus gift card with the purchase of a $50 gift card. It’s $60 for the price of $50 — a 17% discount!
11. Never pay full price for your kids at Olive Garden — wait for the Olive Garden kids meal discount.
About once every two to three months, Olive Garden runs week-long promotions where kids under 12 can eat from the Olive Garden kids menu for only $1 — an 83.3% discount.
Unless you just gotta have those breadsticks NOW, I recommend waiting for these promotions.
And since you’re now an Olive Garden eClub member, you should receive an email announcing the promotion. Here’s when they released this promotion in the past:
- March 2021
- July 2021
- Oct. 2021
There isn’t a kids eat free option at Olive Garden, but there are plenty of restaurants that do have kids eat free promotions year-round.
12. Use the Olive Garden app to get on the waitlist before you even reach the restaurant.
I have too many childhood memories of dying of hunger in the lobby of Olive Garden, waiting to be seated.
No more! Join the waitlist using the Olive Garden app to get a head start on that wait. (Order a glass of wine while you’re waiting at the restaurant too!) With limited dining in most restaurants, this is a must.
All you need to do to join the waitlist is click on the “Join Waitlist” button when you open the app and choose your preferred Olive Garden location. Specify how many people you want to bring and tap “Continue” to be added to the waitlist.
13. Don’t buy the wine! Bring your own (cheaper) bottle instead.
Another secret hack for saving money at Olive Garden includes saving on wine.
Many Olive Garden locations allow you to bring in your own bottle of wine to enjoy with your Chicken Parm.
They charge what’s called a “corkage fee,” which can range from free to $7 depending on location. This can save you a ton of money on your glass of wine. For example:
One bottle of Columbia Crest Merlot
- At Olive Garden: $33, $8.50 per glass
- Average price: $10.99, $2.75 per glass
Even if the corkage fee is as high as $7 (the highest I’ve found), you’re still saving $15 per bottle on this wine.
Be sure to call your local Olive Garden to check on this before you show up with your wine. Unfortunately, some restaurants won’t allow it.
14. Get Olive Garden wine for just $15 when you place a pickup order.
An average bottle of wine at Olive Garden will set you back around $29, but if you’re placing an Olive Garden to go order, you can get select bottles of wine for $15 — that’s almost half off. The selection ranges from white, red, and even rosé.
15. Sample up to three Olive Garden wines for free.
You’re allowed to sample up to three Olive Garden wines for no extra charge.
These samples tend to be generous, about a 3-oz pour, so if your server doesn’t automatically offer to let you sample wines, just ask!
16. Make your own Olive Garden salad using Olive Garden dressings.
If you’re making some of the authentic Olive Garden recipes, you can totally buy the actual salad dressing, cheeses, and Italian seasonings used in the restaurants.
At only $3.78 a bottle, you can make your own Olive Garden salad without paying $6.79.
17. Ask for an Italian soda on the Olive Garden secret menu.
Though no longer on the menu, you can still order an Italian soda with the flavors from the Olive Garden lattes. A caramel Italian Soda will run you about $4.00.
There are also some clever substitutions you can use to get menu items most people don’t know are possible.
Here are some things you can request that aren’t on the menu:
- Mixed alfredo + red sauce
- Extra sauce for no charge
- Raspberry dipping sauce for desserts
- Half and half soups
18. The Olive Garden gluten-free menu can be used on some pasta dishes at no extra charge.
19. The Olive Garden Never-Ending Pasta Bowl and Never-Ending Pasta Pass won’t be coming back anytime soon.
In the past, the best Olive Garden deal was the Never-Ending Pasta Bowl where you would get unlimited pasta for $10.99. But since 2020, they have stopped the promotion, and the company has said they have no plans to bring it back.
They have also discontinued the Olive Garden Pasta Pass, which would get you the same deal for 9 weeks for $100. Unfortunately, we won’t be seeing this anytime soon, but download the KCL app to be updated on all future Olive Garden deals.
20. Olive Garden delivery is only available through DoorDash in certain areas.
Olive Garden delivery from third-party apps like Uber Eats and Grubhub doesn’t exist. Depending on your location, you can get delivery from DoorDash, but we haven’t seen anything lower than $5.99.
Instead, Olive Garden wants you to take advantage of their Olive Garden to-go service that has you placing pickup orders at Olive Garden. You can get delivery at certain locations, but you’ll need to order at least $50 worth of food, and the delivery fee will be 10% of your order.
21. Employees get 50% off meals after their shift.
This is one of the highest employee discounts I’ve seen.
Considering a career in the restaurant industry and you love pasta? You’re all set.
Here are some more of the best employee discounts we’ve found.
22. The healthiest menu item is the Minestrone Soup with House Salad at 310 calories.
Who says Olive Garden hacks are only for saving money? You can save calories too.
Want something other than soup and salad? Check out these other three relatively healthy menu items:
- Salmon Piccata: 470 Calories
- Chicken Piccata: 510 Calories
- Shrimp Scampi: 510 Calories
(Dear breadsticks: You may never be on this list, but we love you anyway! xoxo)