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Olive Garden is already a pretty affordable place to get Italian food, but those addictive breadsticks taste even better when you walk in with tried-and-true Olive Garden deals.
Whether you’re dining in or taking your Olive Garden to go, 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 and deals, tell you if the Olive Garden lunch menu is worth it, and even share 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’ll also send you information on their latest promotions so you’ll be up to date on all of the Olive Garden deals.
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 $8.99 in value. It’ll appear in your inbox during your birthday month.
Here are the Olive Garden dessert deals that you can get:
- Black Tie Mousse Cake (reg. $8.99)
- Strawberry Cream Cake (reg. $8.79)
- Chocolate Brownie Lasagna (reg. $8.79)
- Tiramisu (reg. $8.29)
- Sicilian Cheesecake with Strawberry Topping (reg. $8.29)
- Warm Italian Doughnuts (reg. $7.79)
And there are a lot more birthday freebies where that came from.
3. You can use two Olive Garden coupons at once — just split your meal with a buddy.
One coupon per purchase is the rule at Olive Garden. But there’s a way to hack the system and use two Olive Garden coupons at the same time.
When you dine in at Olive Garden, split the bill in half so both of you can use an Olive Garden coupon when you pay. Boom. Two coupons.
TIP: Olive Garden locations have Ziosk consoles at the tables, which means you can easily pay and split the bill without having to ask your waiter.
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 four to six, 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. Most servings don’t come with breadsticks or a salad, but you can purchase them separately for $22.99 (or $3.83 per serving).
Here’s the math:
Family Style Fettuccine Alfredo $45.49, or $7.58 per serving
Compare to single portion entree $15.49 per serving
Save $7.91, or 51%
Family Style Chicken Alfredo $61.49, or $10.25 per serving
Compare to single portion entree $18.99 per serving
Save $8.74, or 46%
Family Style Lasagna $58.99, or $9.83 per serving
Compare to single portion entree $16.99 per serving
Save $7.16, or 42.1%
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 two 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 $4.49 or 12 for $6.79. These can come cooked or uncooked.
6. Be sure to grab a $6 Take Home Entree for lunch the next day.
One of the best Olive Garden deals is the $6 Take Home Entree. You’ll have your pick from Fettuccine Alfredo, Five Cheese Ziti al Forno, and Spaghetti with Meat Sauce for only $6 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. You can get this for dine-in and takeout 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: $16.99 (46% larger). Costs 8.2% more per ounce.
- Fettuccine Alfredo Single Serving: $8.99; Regular Serving: $15.49 (50% larger). Costs 13.8% more per ounce.
- Cheese Ravioli Single Serving: $8.99; Regular Serving: $15.79 (51% larger). Costs 13.9% more per ounce.
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 (a 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 Olive Garden meal later. It’s like you get two meals for the price of one.
Bonus, they’ll also box up any leftover Olive Garden breadsticks and salad.
9. The best menu item at Olive Garden is the Tour of Italy.
The Olive Garden menu is expansive and includes tons of pasta options for you to enjoy. By far, the most popular menu item is the Olive Garden Tour of Italy which gives you three Olive Garden pasta in one dish: the Chicken Parmigiana, Lasagna Classico, and Fettuccine Alfredo — all for $19.99.
Here are some other popular Olive Garden pastas:
- Shrimp Alfredo (reg. $19.99)
- Raviolo Carbonara (reg. $16.79)
- Eggplant Parmigiana (reg. $16.29)
- Chicken & Shrimp Carbonara (reg. $20.79)
- Chicken Parmigiana (reg. $18.49)
10. You can get the Olive Garden kids’ menu via takeout if you aren’t 12 or under.
Olive Garden portions are huge, so if you’re ordering takeout from Olive Garden, consider ordering from the kids’ menu. The portions are a lot smaller, and each dish is only $6.99.
Unfortunately, you won’t be able to order these dishes in restaurant if you’re over the age of 12, but they won’t be able to check on takeout orders.
Here’s everything you can order from the Olive Garden kids’ menu:
- Alfredo with your choice of pasta
- Chicken Fingers and Pasta
- Macaroni and Cheese
- Meat Sauce or Cheese Sauce with your choice of pasta
- Five Cheese Marinara with your choice of pasta
- Cheese Ravioli
- Rotini with Marinara or Meat Sauce
We know all the cheapest kids’ meals that you can order right now.
11. Save 6% on all your meals when you pay with a discounted Olive Garden gift card.
Before you get your pasta, you should always get a discounted Olive Garden gift card from Raise.com. In the past, we’ve seen discounts of up to 6% on Darden gift cards. These gift cards run out fast, so you should pick them up as soon as you can.
If you aren’t able to pick one up, you can always get a 5% discount on your gift card purchases at Target, which includes Olive Garden gift cards. And that’s just one of the many benefits to a Target RedCard.
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.
12. 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!
There are so many restaurant gift card deals that you should be taking advantage of every day.
13. 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.
14. 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.
15. Get Olive Garden wine for just $18 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 $18 — that’s 37% off. The selection ranges from white, red, and even rosé.
16. 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-ounce pour, so if your server doesn’t automatically offer to let you sample wines, just ask!
17. 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.
Most major retailers like Walmart and Target now carry Olive Garden products. At only $4.18 a bottle, you can make your own Olive Garden salad without paying $6.99.
Then just add lettuce, radicchio, endive, cherry tomatoes, croutons, red onions, and cucumbers.
18. 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.
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
19. The Olive Garden gluten-free menu can be used on some pasta dishes at no extra charge.
The Olive Garden gluten-free pasta is available to some pasta dishes at no additional charge. Just notify your server before you order, or take a look at their gluten-sensitive menu.
20. The Olive Garden Never-Ending Pasta Bowl returned in October 2022.
The Olive Garden Never-Ending Pasta Bowl made its return in October 2022. For only $13.99, you get an unlimited amount of pasta, and that price is the same for lunch or dinner. We expect this deal to come back in 2023 in October.
Unfortunately, the Olive Garden Pasta Pass, which would get you the same deal for nine weeks for $100, did not return. However, we’ll keep you posted on every Olive Garden deal so you won’t miss out if it comes back.
21. 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.
If you’ve wanted to know how to get better delivery from third-party apps, we have all the best DoorDash hacks, Uber Eats hacks, and Grubhub hacks.
22. Employees get 50% off meals after their shift.
Olive Garden offers their employees half off all meals, which is a pretty great perk and one of the highest employee discounts I’ve seen. If you’re thinking about a career in the restaurant industry and love pasta, this could be a good option for you.
Here are some more of the best employee discounts we’ve found.
Unfortunately, there are no set teacher discounts, student discounts, military discounts, or senior discounts at Olive Garden, but you should check your local Olive Garden location to see if they have any local deals.
23. The Olive Garden Minestrone Soup with House salad is the healthiest menu item 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 Olive Garden breadsticks: You may never be on this list, but we love you anyway! xoxo)
24. Olive Garden locations are open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on most days.
When is Olive Garden open? Olive Garden is open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. from Sunday through Thursday. On Fridays and Saturdays, you can expect Olive Garden to open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Be sure to check your local Olive Garden for the most accurate hours of operation.
Unfortunately, Olive Garden is closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas, but there are plenty of restaurants open on Thanksgiving and Christmas.
25. There is no Olive Garden dress code.
Despite the common belief that you need to dress up to go to Olive Garden, there is no Olive Garden dress code you need to follow. Like most fast casual dining restaurants, you just need to wear appropriate attire, and you’re all set.
26. Create Olive Garden alfredo sauce at home.
There are plenty of Olive Garden alfredo sauce recipes, but we found an easy recipe for you to follow to mimic the sauce at home:
- Melt 6 tablespoons of butter in a saucepan over medium heat with 1 tablespoon of garlic.
- Whisk in 2 tablespoons of flour.
- Add 1½ cups of heavy cream and 1½ cups of whole milk a little bit at a time.
- Bring to a simmer and continue to stir as it thickens.
- Stir in ½ cup of parmesan cheese and ½ cup of romano cheese.
- Season with salt and pepper to your tastes.