When Jeff Berman got a $100 card for unlimited pasta at Olive Garden, he knew it was time to cash in. The super-exclusive pasta-pass allows holders to eat unlimited Olive garden meals–worth about $16 each–over the course of a year.
That means he has to eat at Olive Garden at least 7 times to get his money back, but Mr. Berman has a much larger goal. He is hoping to save $10,000 at the restaurant–and he’s already much of the way there! By eating almost 3 meals a day on average over 2 months, he’s saved a couple thousand dollars and has no plans to stop.
Time Money has more:
After three years of trying and failing to attain Olive Garden’s coveted Never Ending Pasta Pass, Jeff Berman finally scored one last year thanks to luck and a solid internet connection. Once he got the $100 card—allowing him to eat as much pasta as he wanted, whenever he wanted over the eight-week Never Ending Pasta Bowl promotion period—he knew he had to do something special. So he started blogging about his adventures, documenting each highly customizable meal, from fettuccine and angel hair alfredo to a makeshift “triple threat” breadstick sandwich stacked with grilled chicken, crispy chicken, crispy shrimp, and sauces. He ate it all with a smile on his face — and became an Olive Garden all-star in the process.
“I didn’t even know about the record until I was over halfway through,” Berman, 36, told MONEY. He’s referring to Alan Martin, aka the “Pasta Preacher,” who ate 115 meals straight at the chain in 2014 with the inaugural pasta pass. “I did more research. I started getting some traction, and had people reaching out. I was thinking, I gotta step it up.”
Berman achieved his goal, and then some: Doing remote IT work in Inverness, Florida, that provided flexibility in his schedule, he ate 140 meals in 56 days, saving a total of $2,164.89 at the Italian chain. He won the admiration of Olive Garden fans everywhere, and even traveled to grab a bite with Martin. Onlookers, however, were skeptical.
“Some people would say that’s the most obnoxious thing on earth,” Berman says. “I would agree. I’m as far away from normal as you can go. I’ve been wanting this for years. I’ve been going to Olive Garden since I was a little kid. One of my first dates was there. You really gotta love the craziness to do what I did. I really hope somebody this year beats my record.”