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Working at Olive Garden — Reviews by Employees

Learn what employees have to say about Olive Garden pay, work/life balance, care potential, job security, and much more by reading our anonymous employee reviews.

Reviews of Jobs at Olive Garden

4.1Rating Details
Category
Pay4
Respect5
Benefits5
Job Security3
Work/Life Balance1
Career Growth5
Location5
Co-Workers4
Work Environment5

From Southaven, ms — 05/19/2010

I work at the Olive Garden in Southaven MS (right outside Memphis TN) and I just have to say that its a real good job, the money is great as a server depending on how much you work, and the people are wonderful, BUT as with any restaurant, there are the people who have been "oppressed" there WHOLE life and don't want to tip at all because they feel the world owes then something, people like that need to head over to the Mc Donald's and see the 99 cent menu, because unless you want to pay not only for your food but for GREAT service, then stay your butts at home with your grammy and baby momma.
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4.2Rating Details
Category
Pay4
Respect4
Benefits4
Job Security4
Work/Life Balance4
Career Growth5
Location4
Co-Workers4
Work Environment5

From Virginia — 03/27/2010

Pay- I started at $7 an hour in 2001. I now get paid $12.25 plus tips (which are unreliable and few as a take out person). You are reviewed every sixth months, and in my experience, get a raise about a little less than half of them. Of course I would love to make more money, but I feel that the pay is reasonable and competitive. As a server, it seems to vary, since you are getting paid by tips. It depends heavily on location and skill. Management is paid well compared to other restaurants in the same price range.

Respect- I am treated very respectably, as I treat others I work with. Some people are difficult, as I feel is probably common at places where you work with a large staff.

Benefits- For hourly employees it is okay. It is definately better than no insurance and no medicaid. I had a child with the ppo plan, and I was glad I did when I got my bills and saw how much they would be without insurance. They offer dental that is pretty good. But from what I understand, management and up have very good benefits.

Job Security: As with any restaurant, job security is never high. There are many things you could accidently do to get immediately fired. If some one did the math wrong while writing in the tip, and you do not catch it, and the guest calls back upset, you can very well be fired. As a manager, if you open the back door that is locked to get out into the trash area after a certain time you will be automatically fired,
But in terms of guest counts Olive Gardens usually match, if not trump, their competition.

Work/life balance: Unfortunately restaurants require lots of your time all day, weekends, and most holidays. Especially in management and above. But as an hourly, I have had fun hanging out with coworkers after work in my early 20's and I now get to spend as much time with my son as I would if I worked anywhere else 40 hrs a week. Because I have been there so long I get weekends off. In fact, his father works at a restaurant, so we only need a babysitter three days a week.

Career Potential/Growth: I enjoy working at this store. I have been here for 10 years. I started when I was 17 years old. I have met so many cool people, and friends that have changed my life. I love hearing everyone's story, and where they come from or where they are going. I usually can find good things about most of the people I work with. And if you do not really like some one, our store is big enough to be able to avoid them. I have met people from all over the world: Africa, Estonia, El Salvador, Mexico, Brazil, Bulgaria. I have learned a lot from people I have worked with, and grown as a person. I went into this job as a way to earn some cash, and it has become a part of who I am.
This store has seen many managers. Some awesome to work with, aspiring leaders, and fun bosses. Some not so much. I believe they like to make hourly employees managers, as they claim. I have seen several from my own store promoted. All of them were hardworking and competent employees.

Location: Tips and attitudes determined by individual locations. My store is a little better than in the middle.

Co-worker Competence: Well, not a lot is required in egibility to become an employee. So sometimes you get some people who aren't meant for this job, or just don't have a very good work ethic. But the lower your turnover rate, the more competent the staff.
Management usually like you if you are a reliable and hardworking employee. Some do pick favorites and pick on certain people, but the management turnover is practically as high as the servers, in my experience. The are not always fired, but can also be transferred.

Work Environment: I don't really have many complaints. I mean, it is fast-paced, high energy environment. Not a lot of quiet or privacy. It would be cool to have a break room.
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3.2Rating Details
Category
Pay4
Respect4
Benefits3
Job Security3
Work/Life Balance2
Career Growth3
Location4
Co-Workers3
Work Environment3

From Traverse City, Michigan — 11/16/2009

I have been a busser at the TC OG for a year now before that I was a dishwasher for half a year. The work is hard but rewarding. The managers allowed me to move to busing because I showed them I was a hard dedicated worker. Traverse City is a huge tourist town. People come from every where until the snow falls. So were always busy making the tips great. During the summer we never come off a wait. We have about 2 mounths where its really slow and it picks back up again fast. There are a lot of druggies that work here but that is normal for collage age groups. The managers try but its hard for them to keep up with the fast pace here. Lots of co-workers come and go because they don't like the fast pace or just cant keep up. We have 2 CA's and one waiting in line to become one. The schedules are horrible, be prepared to work lots of 11am - 8-9pm shifts. Right now were short 1 busser for a shift and the managers dont seem to care, every thursday I end up working 9:15am to 9pm with one other busser that works 1:15 to close. I cant complain tho im getting use to it and now that were starting to slow before thanks giving Im still making a lil extra with out the other busser. Over all this place grows on you. You just have to learn to like it.
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3.3Rating Details
Category
Pay2
Respect3
Benefits4
Job Security4
Work/Life Balance4
Career Growth2
Location4
Co-Workers4
Work Environment4

From Pittsburgh, Pa — 11/01/2009

The pay in most resturants is about hte same for servers. 2.83/hr plus tips....however when you run your butt off for all you can eat soup salad and bread sticks its not worth it. i am sick and tired of waiting on people to get their 1.50 to 2.50 tip on the all you can eat. They think its so easy but all I do is run. I work as much as possible. With the economy the way it is maybe OG should take into consideration that we are not making much money and help us out with the hourly pay. With our benefits ya they may be ok (cept the medical at 31.00 a week only covers 15,000 hospitalization) but I never recieve a pay check because of the benefits coming out, which in turn makes me owe in federal and state taxes, because nothing is left for them to tax. Thanks.
As far as moving up within the company.. well they just tell you what you want to hear. 6 years later, trainer completed all my requirements and 5 of us still cant move up. I guess its time to say good bye to Olive Garden
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3.1Rating Details
Category
Pay4
Respect3
Benefits2
Job Security4
Work/Life Balance5
Career Growth3
Location5
Co-Workers2
Work Environment2

From College Station, Texas — 10/24/2009

The pay is what you make it. The job security is perfect should you choose to do your job. Obviously, this is not a CAREER position unless you're a manager or cook. Typically servers are just working through school...and they know it, so they may or may not work all that hard.
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4.2Rating Details
Category
Pay4
Respect4
Benefits4
Job Security5
Work/Life Balance5
Career Growth3
Location5
Co-Workers4
Work Environment5

From Boardman, Ohio — 12/17/2008

I worked at the Olive Garden for 5 years... Tho the pay was not what i thought i should get..I was worth more... and i dont want to sound cocky.. I worked my ass off.. The job was fun, and stressful. But there was a good balance of both.. The people you meet and work with there will be friends forever... I still have many friends there.. I would go back in a heartbeat too if i was able to.. But all in all.. while i was there i thought it sucked.. there was not room for moving up, and it is not a job for life.. But now that i am gone.. i realize how good it was .. And miss it..
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4.5Rating Details
Category
Pay5
Respect5
Benefits5
Job Security5
Work/Life Balance3
Career Growth4
Location5
Co-Workers4
Work Environment5

From Colorado Springs, CO — 11/08/2008

Pay: Considering that serving is job for people that are in college or utter failures in life, the pay is pretty good. If all you have is HS diploma then you are worth about $8/ hr. I'm a college student and I make twice that so I can't complain.

Respect: I get respect from my managers because I do my job without complaining. Many tables gives you respect and the people who are relentless even when you are giving 100%, probably have a crappy life.

Benefits: I don't use any of their benefits but they are really good considering you are only worth $8. with a H.S. diploma.

Work/Life balance doesn't exist. It feels like I am always there. That's ok because most of my coworks are my age and we get along. Many friends have been made at the OG. The unfriendly ones are usually the older servers. You'd hate everybody including yourself if you were still waiting tables at 30,40, or 50 years of age.

Career Potential: only there if you want to be a manager. OG managers make pretty decent money. Our GM makes over $100k.

Location: Our location is really bad with a terrible parking lot design. Still we are slammed many days of the week.

Co-worker competence: it's average considering the the workforce is made up college students and failures at life who are worth $8.

Work Environment: Great for a restaurant. I've worked at 4 different restaurants and both the OG's I worked at are by far the best.
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4.7Rating Details
Category
Pay5
Respect5
Benefits4
Job Security5
Work/Life Balance5
Career Growth5
Location5
Co-Workers4
Work Environment5

From orange,ct — 11/06/2008

Pay: anyone can work a lunch shift and make money if you stay on! Lunch shifts can average $80-$100 b/c lazy people go homeÖ sorry you make 20-30. I work my Ďtailí off and need the money. Usually when youíre in at 12 and out by 1:30 its b/c they have other strong people who want the work and money, who donít complain- simple as that. Iím in college now and make more money now at the OG than I will starting out in my career; than most people will in theirs. Why you are complaining about people walking around like they donít need the money- thatís more for you!

Benefits: manual is dummy proof-itís even is Spanish. Yeah you have to figure it out and apply it to your own life, everyone is different. All you have to do is ask and someone will explain them to youÖ staff, managers, even the GM(he did for me).

Managers: #1-the gm is a great boss and leader. Your comment about the air-might not have been the most important thing on his plate at the time. Someone will always complain about it being too cold/hot(staff and guests)so you canít please everyone. If he said ďI donít careĒ he prob meant it- would u prefer him to lie to you and tell u heís changing it when heís not? Trivial complaint u made. Oh and if you think people are afraid of him itís b/c they are- and you are too for not saying this all to his face.

->side note: managers work 60+hour work weeks- if they are Ďhidingí in the office or talking in the back itís because they need to relieve themselves from complaining staff like yourself. When I need something I go to a blue card holder- they are there for a reason right? They usually can solve my problem ( I <3 tcg). U may not think they are working but the business doesnít run itself- a lot goes on that u and I donít know about. Just come in, do your job, and go home.

Job security: We have many people who are celebrating their 5,10, 15+years there-thatís amazing esp for a restaurant. People are dedicated and come in wanting to do their job (more than I can say for u) and no one bothers you unless your slacking.

Career potential: check the back of the news-letters we get-always a listing of people who are becoming growing w/the company. Darden is opening restaurants while the economy is forcing others to close down. Food for thought.

Clientele: deal with it! We work in a chain restaurant that caters to middle class America (including the ďCanadiansĒ). You signed up for it when you applied. Seniors who complain- wait until youíre that old. Working in the restaurant business-there are going to be people who are rude, who donít tip well, who have screaming kids, demand great service for 0 tip. Yet you declined to mention the people who make your day by giving you that $50 tip at lunch or call you beautiful-even if youíre not.

I enjoy my job, the respect I get, and most of the people I work with. I consider to have made some very good friends there, perhaps the best. We should all examine ourselves before we judge others and their actions.
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3.2Rating Details
Category
Pay1
Respect5
Benefits3
Job Security3
Work/Life Balance3
Career Growth2
Location5
Co-Workers3
Work Environment5

From orange connecticut — 08/06/2008

the pay is the worst part of all. i work a 3 hour lunch shift, get cut off the floor and go home with about 20-30 dollars in tips. WOW! for a server at a real restaurant that is horrible. they offer benefits such as medical co-pay insurance or some kind of discounts, but they never explain them to you and then you have to figure it out by reading the manual and then apply for it yourself.

there is much respect and the entire staff is really good, but everyone there seems to not really need the money! they all are working while going to school or have another job that they make real money at. the one thing i can say negative about respect: the GM John Baillie is not the easiest guy to get along with. 90% of the staff there is either afraid of him or knows for a fact he does not like them. He seems to not like anyone except the other managers. and it is ok to NOT be buddy buddy with your employees, that is fine, but some things he just takes too far. For example, I told him "my guests are cold, can we lower the AC?" his response with a dead serious face and no inclination of joking whatsoever "I don't care" and then walked away. he wasn't joking and that is not the right attitude to give to your employees and is not the right attitude to have about the guests. if you feel that way, keep it to yourself.

the job security seems pretty good. as long as you follow the rules and try and do your job you won't be fired for the little things or the trivial ones. part of that is due to the fact that so many people willingly give their notice or just up and leave because they are not making enouhg money and can not stand the clientelle and the other things that are wrong with this particular olive garden.

most of the people who do stay there have 2nd jobs or need a really flexible schedule for one reason or another. the life balance for this job is great. you can work only 2 hours and then go home and have all day and all night to do what you need to. I came in at 12 and was out the door by 1:30 one day because things were just that slow. i made only 10 dollars that day.

there is really no career potential here. there is no moving up as far as i know. co workers. some are really wild and fun and do their work and are great. others are very kind and compassionate but lazy and do nothing. there is a small minority who complain all day long and do all of the work for everyone else, the rest of the staff is fun or nice or what not but do very little and are not team players.

work environment. the managers are NEVER on the floor. I can hardly ever find one when i need one because they like to hide in the office and pretend they are not in there. or they will stand around in the back talking to each other. there are two things that are very imprtant to know about this particular olive garden: we are being boycotted and we have a septic problem.

the septic from across the street at home depot backs up into our restaurant and makes the entire place stink. you can smell sewage around the entire restaurant. and the guests pretend they don't smell it! most of them come in anyways even if they can smell it and the servers pretend it isn't there. I nearly vomit most days when I go to work. they have had people try to fix it, but it still always stinks.there are few days when it isn't rancid and horrible.

All olive gardens are being boycotted right now, but ours is definitely being affected. every day that it doesn't rain we have 3 people standing outside with a huge sign that says "Darden restaurants build their empires on blood of the innocent" or something to that affect. Darden owns red lobster, olive garden, smokey bones and bahama breeze. they are abusing nicaraguan and honduran natives by sending them diving for lobsters uneducated and without equipment. these men go down and come back up either crippled or dead due to the bends. they aren't even being paid well to do it and they are impoverished so they don't care about the risks and are uneducated about it anyways.

about the clientelle who come in to eat at the olive garden: they are predominently seniors, and they can be the sweetest in the world or the most pushy impatient, and RUDE people you have ever met in your life. they come in and don't realize how long it takes for us to lug those stupid humongous trays around and then they complain about the service. Not just about me of course, but all of us. And, they will suck down a Complimentary bread, salad, or soup quicker than you can get the refill on their drinks. then they will tip you 10-20%, but 20% of a 20 check is only 4 dollars and then you have to tip out.
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