Olive Garden Brilliantly Offers Parents Free Babysitting On February 7th

In what is probably the most brilliant marketing move since “Got Milk?” the Olive Garden is offering parents the chance to eat out sans children just in time for Valentine’s Day (albeit on the 7th, not the 14th). They’re calling it a “Parent’s Night Out,” and it’s being used to promote their 2-for-$25 deal. So where do I sign up?

According to a statement made in the Orlando Sentinel, by a restaurant rep, Olive Garden is partnering with My Gym, a children’s fitness chain with stores all over the country. Parents will be able to take their kids to one of the almost 150 My Gym locations and apparently pay a deposit, which they will get back when they bring back their Olive Garden receipt.

I say “a chance to eat sans kids” because each My Gym center can only accommodate approximately 30 children. I wonder if parents will be camping outside of the store Harry Potter-status? According to Jay Spenchian, the VP of Marketing at Love Garden, the chain wants to “help parents out:”

“We want to give them a break. What better way to give them a break than to go have a special night, worry free, and the kids can have a great time?”

The real reason for this Olive Garden babysitting deal is probably due to their diminishing sales and various promotions, who honestly? Who cares!? It’s FREE BABYSITTING. I don’t even like Olive Garden all that much (though who can say no to endless breadsticks?), but this is a deal that I like.

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  • Kay_Sue

    “We want to give them a break. What better way to give them a break than to go have a special night, worry free, and the kids can have a great time?”

    Translation: “We really want them to spend money on our food. What better way to get them to do that without bringing along screaming children that make messes than this?”

    Fixed! ;)

    • http://Mommyish.com/ Eve Vawter

      This is why you win small the advertising awards.

      Now I want endless breadsticks :(

      Stupid carbs

    • Kay_Sue

      Too much Mad Men has made me cynical.

      Also, I too want endless breadsticks. Instead, we are going bowling for date night, so I foresee cheap crappy nachos in my future. This saddens me.

    • http://www.ambiencechaser.com/ Elizabeth Licata

      If it makes you feel better, I read your comment and now I want nachos.

    • Sara610

      I don’t think there’s ever a time that I DON’T want nachos. *sigh*

    • Momma425

      We’re spending valentine’s day at a minor league hockey game. With our kid. Crappy nachos, too-expensive beer, and hairy men fighting- what is more romantic?

    • Kay_Sue

      That sounds fantabulous…makes me glad our local minor league team has not been able to reorganize. I honestly don’t mind watching it on TV, but it would not be my first choice for Valentine’s Day…

  • pixie

    There’s no Olive Garden near me (apparently other than in VT or NY) and I’m not about to go Winnipeg. So I will just dream of their breadsticks. At least we have East Side Marios here and their bread is pretty similar in goodness.

  • Sara610

    There’s a kid’s indoor play area right near my house that’s located upstairs from a pretty nice Italian restaurant. For $16, you can drop your child off for two hours (you can purchase a third hour for an additional $8) and go have dinner downstairs. Some people also go to a movie. They give the kids pizza and let them play, and the parents get to go on a date night. It’s pretty awesome.

    It’s not free, but three hours of baby sitting for $24 is an absolute steal around here…typical going rate is $10/hour (for a teen), $14-$16 (for an adult professional).

    • FormerlyKnownAsWendy

      I have always thought that would be a brilliant business idea, if ever I wanted to own a restaurant.

  • FormerlyKnownAsWendy

    I once challenged my best friend to a breadstick eating contest there. Not ashamed to say I annihilated her.

    • Katie L.

      I’m intrigued! What were the terms? Was it the number of breadsticks consumed over the course of the meal or did you set a timer and see who could eat the most?

      Either way, kudos to you on your victory!

    • FormerlyKnownAsWendy

      It was full sticks consumed over the course of the time we were there. Those were the only terms. I took it very seriously because I love the breadsticks so I just got salad; she was like, “Oooooh, but I gotta try…” and ordered a meal. It wasn’t really a challenge. I think I ate like 7 to her 2 1/2. She wants a rematch at Red Lobster; she think she can get serious. :)

    • Katie L.

      Impressive! I think the most OG breadsticks I’ve had in one sitting was 3, maybe 4 when I was younger. I don’t know if I’d discount your friend’s challenge. I think I could put away more Red Lobster biscuits than OG breadsticks. I can’t eat them anymore (thanks, celiac disease!) but those biscuits are so damn good. You should start training now. :)

    • FormerlyKnownAsWendy

      I should…..we did find the Red Lobster biscuit mix now at the grocery store so I could. Freaking dangerous to have at the house because I will eat the whole lot. :)

  • chickadee

    I find it necessary to be cynical about advertising when businesses offer what look like a goodwill gesture that actually ends up screwing over the customers. In this case, however, yeah it gets people to come to the OG, but it’s only a bad deal if you would never go there in the first place, or if they raises their prices for dinner that night. Otherwise, it’s a nice option for an early Valentine’s Day dinner.

  • DatNanny

    I like the idea of putting a deposit down on your children. If you don’t come back, they keep the kids and you lose your deposit? Kind of like a pawn shop?

    Oooh, I wonder if I could buy some good discount babies at the neighborhood baby pawn shop after enjoying some soup, salad, and breadsticks. I love this idea!

  • Justme

    But then you have to go eat at Olive Garden…

    • brebay

      That’s what I was thinking. You could just heat up a crappy frozen dinner yourself rather than paying them 40 bucks to do it…

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