Consumers keen on getting their money’s worth at restaurants: You are in luck! Lately, national restaurant chains are overflowing with promotions that can make your meal “Endless” or “Never-ending.” There are not only all-you-can-eat specials, but all-you-can-drink specials as well.
Here are a few of the current all-you-can-consume chain restaurant deals, categorized by type of food (or in one case, by beverage):
Often, all-you-can-eat specials are offered for a limited time only. IHOP, for instance, has periodically introduced all-you-can-eat pancake deals, and Denny’s rolled out a $3.99 all-you-can-eat pancake promo this summer. Other chains place all-you-can-eat specials on their menus indefinitely. Last year, Steak ‘n Shake introduced a new breakfast menu that includes $3.99 all-you-can-eat pancakes, while an order of all-you-can-eat pancakes at Bob Evans runs $4.99. For the most part, these specials come out of the kitchen the same way: The customer gets started off with three hot cakes, and then can request more two at a time.
Pizza Hut recently ran into controversy when it eliminated an all-you-can-eat pizza offer in Pakistan, drawing complaints from customers. For years, the chain had hosted a bottomless pizza deal to coincide with Ramadan, when Muslims fast from dawn until sunset. Famished diners had grown accustomed to arriving after dark at Pizza Hut to gorge on the all-you-can-eat special, which cost as little as $11. “The former all-you-can-eat format served as an unrestrained invitation to gluttony and waste, colliding with the very spirit of Ramadan,” said a Pizza Hut spokesperson, explaining why the deal was ended.
Pizza Hut still has an all-you-can-eat special in the U.S., though it’s only available during lunch hours (11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.). The chain’s $9.95 all-you-can-eat buffet includes “world-famous pizzas, soup, pastas, salads, hot breadsticks and for desserts our own Cinnaparts.” The all-you-can-eat pizza buffet at Cici’s Pizza is even cheaper: $5 for unlimited pizza and fountain soda, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday.
Soup, Salad, Bread
Bob Evans not only boasts all-you-can-eat pancakes, but an Endless Farmhouse Lunch as well. For $6.99, diners can fill up on as much salad, bread (dinner rolls, buttermilk biscuits, seasonal specials), and soups (tomato basil, cheddar baked potato, etc.) as they like.
Every Tuesday is “Taco Tuesday” at Don Pablo’s, when an order of all-you-can-stomach tacos costs just $6.99 at lunch, $7.99 for dinner. The chain, with about four dozen locations in more than a dozen states, also offers all-you-can-eat burrito bowls on Mondays (from $6.99) and all-you-can-eat enchiladas on Thursdays (from $8.99).
In the hopes of attracting diners in what’s been a bad year for business at Olive Garden, the chain has introduced (or reintroduced really, since it’s been offered before) a Neverending Pasta Bowl special. For a limited time, customers have a choice of six pastas and five different sauces, as well as unlimited breadsticks and soup or salad, for $9.95. Speaking of Olive Garden and its well-known unlimited breadstick bowl, the Onion recently had some fun with the deal, “advising” consumers on how to opt out of the program.
The “Endless Shrimp” special from Red Lobster can be yours for $14.99. The current deal, which runs for a limited time (unclear when it’ll expire), includes all-you-eat shrimp in a choice of five flavors, as well as a salad and all-you-can-eat biscuits.
This summer, Capital Grille, which has scored very well in consumer restaurant ratings, introduced what it calls the “Generous Pour.” From July 9 to September 2, patrons can enjoy the generosity in the form of a $25 per-person wine special that includes “nine remarkable wines” on an “enjoy as many as you like” basis. Alas, the offer is only extended to customers who are also ordering dinner—so you can’t show up and expect just to drink. It’s a good thing this promotion isn’t paired up with an all-you-can-eat special for, say, shrimp or, perhaps even worse, tacos.