The Never Ending Pasta Pass’s instant popularity may have spawned a black market, but the viral, carbo-loaded stunt apparently failed to impress a group of investors apparently willing to sacrifice the most Olive Garden–y thing of all for higher profit margins: One of 294 slides listing reasons why investor Starboard Value should take over Darden Restaurants Inc., “Breadsticks: Just One Example of Food Waste” slams the chain, because locations today “lack training and discipline,” with servers trotting out “an excess of breadsticks significantly outnumbering the number of guests.”
Starboard says it wouldn’t seek an end to the policy, but rather just conveniently halt breadstick delivery beyond an initial basket with one per person at a table unless otherwise instructed, thus making the famed “umlimited breadsticks” just a tad bit more limited seeming.
The stinginess, however, could translate to $5 million in annual savings, investors argue. At the same time, they’re apparently all in agreement that not enough is being spent on salt: “If you Google ‘How to cook pasta,’ the first step of Pasta 101 is to salt the water,” another miffed-sounding page notes. “How does the largest Italian dining concept in the world not salt the water for pasta?”