It’s A Date: Olive Garden Offering Free Babysitting to Customers

By ABC News

Jan 31, 2014 10:34am

ABC News’ Rebecca Jarvis, Jennifer Pereira and Tara Berardi report:

Want a date night with your boo, but have no one to watch the kids? Not to worry—Olive Garden has you covered. On Feb. 7, the national Italian chain is partnering with My Gym, a children’s fitness franchise, to offer free babysitting at 145 locations across the country.

“We want to give parents a break, and what better way to give them a break than to have them be able to go and have a special night, worry-free, and the kids can have a great time,” Jay Spenchian, executive vice president of marketing for Olive Garden, said.

All you have to do is drop your kids off, pay a deposit and head to dinner. Then, after your meal, present your Olive Garden receipt when you pick up your kids and you’ll get a full refund.

Olive Garden is the latest national brand catching on to the perks of free babysitting services. Other places offering free sitter services include gyms like Crunch and stores like Ikea.

“I think it’s a fantastic idea.  I have three little kids myself and I would certainly do this,” Tim Nudd, senior editor at Adweek said. “It’s also got great PR value.  It’s a wonderful idea that gets people talking.”

In recent years the casual dining sector has struggled—visits to Olive Garden were down 4% last September compared with the year before, but Olive Garden says they are optimistic about the future.

“We’ve got a lot of new things coming out for Olive Garden,” Spenchian said. “A lot of new menu items and we’re doing other initiatives and really we’re refreshing the brand.”

So consider yourself officially busy next Friday, devouring unlimited breadsticks.

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