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Olive Garden mounts digital scavenger hunt

The restaurant chain offered up clues on social media leading to 10 all-you-can eat pasta passes.
Photograph: Shutterstock

Olive Garden on Wednesday launched a digital scavenger hunt, offering up clues across the chain’s social media channels pointing observant followers to 10 free, year-long all-you-can-eat pasta passes.

The Darden Restaurants pasta chain teased the scavenger hunt earlier in the week with a mysterious countdown clock website. Before the clock had fully ticked down, though, the site redirected to a page announcing the start of the scavenger hunt.

“Here’s the deal: each one of the riddles, puzzles and ciphers below uncovers the name of a Twitter profile, an Instagram handle, or a Facebook group,” the site says. “If you’re the first person to solve that puzzle and send a direct message to that profile or post in the Facebook group with the secret phrase ‘Pasta Pass Please,’ you’re the winner!”

Olive Garden’s 5-year-old unlimited Never Ending Pasta Pass promotion has been wildly successful, often selling hundreds of passes in just seconds. Last month, the chain offered a $300 annual unlimited pass or a $100 pass for eight weeks of all-you-can-eat pasta. Both offers sold out.

This latest giveaway was far more complex, however, leading to some confusion online.

The scavenger hunt rules require players to solve the riddle, head to a secret Twitter or Instagram handle and be the first to post “Pasta Pass Please” as a comment.

“There’s literally no way to follow the rules here! I just want some pasta,” said one commenter on Facebook.

“I’ve solved number 9 but I can’t DM them,” complained someone on Twitter.

Olive Garden representatives did not respond to a Restaurant Business request for comment on the scavenger hunt.

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