Now I Know What It’s Like to Work at Olive Garden

Wow, I feel I have disappointed so many people with my recent announcement that I am working at Olive Garden. Some people think it’s a huge mistake.  Let me explain.

For a couple of years, I thought it might be fun for the blog if I were to get a job at one of the places I continuously trash. You know, like Olive Garden or Applebee’s. Two weeks ago, as I walked past Olive Garden, I decided to fill out an application and see what happened. “There’s no way they will even call me in for an interview,” I thought. After all, if you Google my real name, the first thing that comes up is something about Bitchy Waiter. Surely whoever is in charge of hiring would do a simple Google search on prospective employees. But I guess they didn’t because three days later they called me for an interview. I decided to see how far I could go with this charade. I went to my interview on March 27th.

I arrived with my hair pulled pack in a tight pony-tail and I was freshly shaven to give the appearance that I could be corporate. It’s been years since I have done a corporate chain, but I knew how to play the part. The manager who interviewed me was named Charlie (yes, I changed the name for this blog) and I quickly realized I have been waiting tables since he was in diapers. My first thought when I looked at him: “Goddam, his forehead is bigger than mine. I did not know that was possible.”  After discussing my experience, why I want to work at Olive Garden (“I really like the food and I have heard that Darden is a great company to work for!”) and how I need to keep at least one or two shifts at my other job, I walked out with a starting date.

“What have I done??”

Wait, what? It was that easy? My ego was a little bruised because I couldn’t help but think, “Don’t they know who I am??” Apparently, they don’t. Ouch. I started on March 29th. And my husband thinks I’m nuts.

I show up at 3:00 on Wednesday to fill out my paperwork and do my first trail shift. As I walk in the door, I can’t help but worry that someone who works there is going to recognize me and blow my cover. In another shattering blow to my ego, no one does. I am also the oldest person on the staff except for a cook who looks like he is either a lot older than me or has never heard of  moisturizer. Somewhere in the mountain of papers, I am pretty sure I signed something that made me promise I would not blog, Tweet, Facebook or whatever about my job. You can see that I took that very, very seriously.

My trainer is Timmy (name changed) and he is actually pretty cool. He’s about 30 years old and is an actor so we instantly click when we talk about our love for musical theater. My shift begins at 4:00 and he tells me I will be there until about 9 or 10:00 depending on how busy it is. When he shows me a list of what all I will be learning over the next few shifts I am completely shook. The vast amount of crap is mind boggling. We get our first table at 4:45 when a lunch person named Alberta (actual name because it does not get better than being named Alberta) transfers her check to Timmy because she’s “on the rag and can’t handle this place right now.” That table leaves pretty soon so I learn how to close a check and then I take it upon myself to go bus the table and reset it.

Charlie the manager appears. “Hey, I like your self-motivation, but how did you know how to reset the table?”

“Well, I just looked at the other tables to see how they were set and then copied them. Is that alright?”

What Charlie did next seemed right out of a movie to me. He grinned and tapped his forefinger to his head and said, “And that’s how to use the old noggin, buddy boy. Keep it up, keep it up.”

Are you fucking kidding me, Charlie?  I already hate him, but he’s going to be great for the blog. Timmy lets me do whatever I need to do for the rest of the night. He knows that the training is just a formality, but stresses how important the menu tests are. The POS is pretty simple to pick up and table numbers I can memorize in one night. I just have to get thorough the four trailing shifts.

Who knows how long I will keep this up. This cannot be a job I keep forever and I am doing it for the sole purpose of getting some good blog posts out of it. It’s going to be difficult to balance this job with my other restaurant, but I can get my some of those shifts covered for a couple of weeks in order to see what it’s like on the inside of Olive Garden. I will do my best to take some photos every now and then and my goal is to do a Facebook Live video from the bathroom. That’s right, I am living life in the danger zone.

First impressions:

  • The menu test is going to be the death of me, but I bet that they will keep me even if I fail it.
  • It was a very slow night so I didn’t get the full experience.
  • The sections are small.
  • Timmy is cool.
  • Charlie is a fucking idiot.
  • Alberta has a cool name and is going to become a regular character on this blog because she is straight up crazy/psychotic and wears way too much make up.
  • What will come first? Me being fired or me quitting?

Wish me luck! I am officially in the Olive Garden family!

Oh, I did manage to film one quick video in the restroom and you can click here to see it.

31 thoughts on “Now I Know What It’s Like to Work at Olive Garden

  1. Waitress

    When I started at Carrabba’s I thought the menu test was going to be a joke. Like you take it enough times and they say ‘that’s good enough.’ Nooooope. I took it 7 times to pass and that was before I was even allowed to start training. I still know the ingredients for stuff like campagnolo which I’m never going to need to know again. That said, Carrabba’s was a great job and I really miss it.

    Reply
  2. robyn

    Good luck, I know this is going to be fucking hilarious. But be careful, you don’t need Darden coming after you with a lawsuit.

    Reply
  3. Ashley

    That was good. You had me hook, line, and sinker. I even said out loud “ooh I can’t wait to see how this unfolds.” Well done sir, well done.

    Reply
  4. Casey

    I knew you weren’t working there, when I read about your first shirt I knew it was a lie. I worked there and used to be a trainer. Your first official shift starts at 8am and you have to watch safety videos all day with the manager!

    Reply
    1. Alishia

      I’ve worked at two Olive Gardens (on maternity leave at the moment and will be returning this week) and I didn’t have any shifts, at the beginning or even now about 2 years later, that started at 8 am/: also, I know it’s not a fancy restaurant, but OG is a good place to work and I’ve loved it more than all my other waitressing jobs. Food could be better but hey! It’s OG after all! Lol. And yeah, the sections are only 3 tables but you can make a ton of money and when it’s slammed and people have called in, you have opportunities to pick up extra tables. I’ve had 5 or 6 at one time before and made so much money. But those are just in my experiences. Lol.

      Reply
  5. Teri

    LMAO! I worked there a really really long time ago as a hostess. That open the door with one arm thing was the death of me. I lasted a week. I would have ended up in the ER.

    Reply
  6. Holly

    This is incredible! I worked at the OG for almost two years, two very long, very miserable years. Seems like your characters are regulars in the Olive Garden franchise because I too had a “Charlie” type manager, my “Timmy” that trained me just let me take over, and your Alberta is damn near every woman in my Olive Garden. Good luck!

    Reply
  7. shelly

    Olive Garden was my first waiting job. I had recently moved home to Biloxi MS and my bf worked there so he got me on. I went on to work for Olive Garden for 13 years. Here is why: they were extremely flexible and understanding when I was going to college, then grad school, then when I got my “real job”, when I had my child, and when I was going through my divorce.

    Darden is the BEST company I have EVER worked for. Hurricane Katrina devastated the Biloxi. In the course of a day, I lost my house, everything I owned, and my job bc my restaurant was on the beach and was destroyed. Darden gave every employee a food voucher and a prepaid mastercard with their last paycheck and an addition $2500 on it. It was how I bought clothes for me and my son who was 6 at the time. They also said that we had a job anywhere in the country that we wanted to go. Fast fwd two years – I decided to move to Atlanta, after being there about 6 mos and not being able to find a job with my college degree, I called Darden. Which one would you like to work at was all they said. When I started back at OG, i started back with all of my previous 10 years time, my full insurance coverage for my and my son, and my full three weeks paid vacation that I had accrued. It was if I never even left. I had the best time working at Olive Garden and have met people that have become lifelong friends. We have celebrated births, marriages, birthdays, grandkids, etc We have also stood by each other through divorces, deaths, and bad times.

    I currently work for a very popular, family owned, French Quarter restaurant. While the money is good and it has it’s perks such as being closed for various things, I sometimes miss the corp structure at Olive Garden bc most of all it was fair and they rewarded hard work. Station assigment and side/closing work assignments were fair and everyone at OG worked together as a team. They cross trained and promoted from within and did things for employee morale such as Darden dollars where you could earn fake $$ for doing extra things which you could trade in for things such as meals, or a day off etc.

    I know many service industry people scoff at corporate and make fun of it but to this day Olive Garden was the best waiting job I ever had (I worked at three different ones in three states) and Darden was hands down the best company I have ever worked for.

    Reply
    1. Vickie ottley

      Thanks for sharing your story. It’s good to hear about companies that are good to their employees.

      Reply
  8. Felicia

    Lol I knew it was a joke but it still almost got me. And I worked for OG for 3 1/2 years 😂😂😂

    Reply
  9. Sexi

    One of my first jobs was Red Lobster. (Yes, I’m that old). There was no POS, so we had to memorize food codes. Stupidest thing ever. It was clean (for back then) but I would never EVER recommend corporate restaurants to anyone. Mom & pop, bistro, high end….they treat you like a person (usually) and the patrons are a tad nicer. (Sometimes)

    Reply
  10. melissa

    vrry funny..you had me…but judging ny some of the responses..(shelly) some didn’t bother to watch youtube..

    Reply
    1. shelly

      i wrote my response bc places like olive garden get a bad rap and made fun of. when the hurricane was over and i jumped out the side of my destroyed house and walked over to my steps (where my house once was) and i looked around at the utter devastation, wearing nothing but the wet, dirty clothes i rode the hurricane out in all i could think of was where i was going to live, what was i going to do, how was i going to care for my son. darden and olive garden was a huge lifeline for me and for many that were affected by those storms bc they cared enough about us to help us. the $$ they gave me helped me buy clothes bc we had NOTHING left. i don’t care if her post was satire or a joke. olive garden/darden took care of us and i will forever grateful for my time there. maybe she shouldn’t make fun of a business/company she knows nothing about. if she were to lose everything she owned and i mean everything from her home, to her car, to her job, to her undewear, would the people she (or you) step up and give $$ for food, clothes, and job where ever and when ever you needed it ? no? didn’t think so.

      Reply
      1. Waitress in AL

        Darden isn’t the only company that treated their employees devastated by Katrina so well Shelly. Home Depot told all their managers that if anyone walked into their store with valid ID, and was an employee of their NO area stores, they were to be given whatever they needed in order to start work immediately.

        Companies and individuals come together during crisis. That doesn’t mean they are amazing the rest of the time. I recall a story about Darden saying that one of their employees needed a life saving surgery, and he didn’t “qualify” for help from their employee helping fund.

        As a general rule, corporate serving sucks. Yes, there are good moments, but overall, it sucks.

        Reply
        1. TERRI

          If Home Depot was really that way, they wouldve included the TRUE victims of Hurricane Katrina, the employees from BILOXI MS! Sorry but it pisses me off that most ppl relate Katrina w NO when Katrina SPARED NO and Slidell LA all the way to Biloxi MS took a direct hit from Katrina! MS GULF COAST WAS GROUND ZERO!
          The reason why NO got FLOODED was bc the levees broke, which they were told years ago that the levees needed to be fixed. Bc of the looting & shooting at rescue helicopters NO got more exposure than the MS GULF COAST who were helping each other!

          Reply
  11. Pants

    Please do this for real. Please. And then make a reality show out of it so you can just continue to do what you love but get paid butt load more for it and entertain us as well. I do t watch reality TV bit I woukd do it for you.

    Reply
  12. Kelly

    I thought the way Darden helped the above poster was inspiring. I also fell for the joke and it’s pretty funny!

    Reply
  13. Aria

    Good April fools joke! I know this is a joke because Olive Garden makes you train for at least a week before even letting you on the floor alone.

    Reply

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