Within about the last year or so, Carrabbas has become something of an obsession of mine. Well, both me and the GF, but I have the opportunity to obsess more. And somewhere around a year ago, Carrabbas started being open for lunch. And that’s when the obsession intensified.
I have a great liking for soup. It’s probably from growing up in the north, where hot liquid is a treat in its own right, but flavorful hot liquid is even more so. Carrabbas chicken soup is pretty much at the top of my list, and two of their three available salads are favorites of mine, too. While I can and do eat their spaghetti on occasion, I can get by with just soup and salad.
Over the last year or so, I have been getting by on just soup and salad. But here’s the problem. If you order the “soup and salad” entrée, you get a cup of soup and a half salad. No way is that enough for me. So, over time, I’ve settled into getting a bowl of soup and a side salad. This is filling (usually), but the price is rather heavy as well.
Because of my continued financial discipline to log all my receipts, I am able to accurately identify how frequently I visit Carrabbas and how much I spend there. If I have lunch there, I spend $19.02. That’s a pretty expensive lunch. I have wanted to try and cut back on that cost, but that soup! In the past, I’d considered trying Olive Garden for their endless soup, salad and breadsticks lunch, but I don’t like any of their soups. And now, after eating Carrabbas so much, I can barely stomach OG’s food anymore. It’s like someone put their food into Photoshop and went overboard. It’s an oversaturated representation of what food should taste like.
So, Olive Garden was not an option. And I continued spending $20 a lunch usually once a week for myself at work, then the GF and I would eat there for lunch together again on Sundays. Here’s a kicker: Carrabbas has a rewards program where you get up to $20 back on your 4th visit. But a visit only counts if you spend $20 or more. So, my single lunches at $19.02 (after tip) aren’t counting to that reward.
I distinctly remember commenting to the GF, “Can you imagine if Carrabbas had an endless soup and salad option?” I dismissed the possibility, because their chicken soup was so rich, they couldn’t afford to make it endless. But, here in September 2018, it has happened. An endless soup and salad lunch special for $8. I may never eat lunch anywhere else again.
How incredible is this for me? First, I can have as much chicken soup as I want. They bring it out in cups, but there’s always more for the asking. In fact, this is much better because the soup is always hot, instead of having a bowl go cold as you work on your salad. And also, I like two of their salads. Before, I was tied to only having one. Now I can get one of each and enjoy them for their differences. Finally, that price! That’s almost half of what I was paying before, and I get more food than before. And, if the GF and I want to eat there for lunch and just do soup and salad, we’ll break the minimum for the rewards.
I’m singing the praises of this new promotion and secretly already dreading the day it is retired. I’m not sure if it’s my age or the current consumer environment that makes me think of contingency plans as soon as something new enters my orbit. Aside from the fear of not having this deal available anymore, the only other negative to the lunch is that it takes a long time for me to get filled up. I have always eaten slowly, and as I get older, it’s getting worse. My lunch today was longer than normal. I sloshed myself out the restaurant door and made it back to my desk in 90 minutes. I have so much liquid in me, I’ve probably altered my natural buoyancy.
One final observation. I don’t know what communication network old people use, but the lunch special announcement made it to them early. I used to eat lunch at my Carrabbas nearly alone every time. Now, the place is flooded with old people. They say that old people are good for two things: finding good food and finding good deals.
I’m an old person.