"Westminster, U.S.A.  --  April 15, 2012:  The exterior of an Olive Garden Italian Restaurant, with the Olive Garden sign above a window.  The Olive Garden sign is on a rock wall."
The Secret Catch Behind Olive Garden's 'Unlimited' Breadsticks
By Chase Shustack
Olive Garden offers "unlimited breadsticks" to its patrons, but the chain is required to follow a rule of one breadstick per person at the table when serving the baskets
To give a hospitable impression, the server includes one extra breadstick in the initial basket, while the following ones contain one per person and are a professional courtesy.
This makes sense from a business standpoint, as Olive Garden can't afford to give out overflowing baskets full of free breadsticks since it has to put money into making each one.
In 2014, Olive Garden shareholder Starboard Value released a 300-page treatise regarding problems in Olive Garden's management and current day-to-day operations.
One of the most astounding concerns was that Olive Garden was being "reckless" with its breadsticks and suggested that the chain limit the number of breadsticks it served.