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.