From Franklin, TN — 04/14/2010
I think that many of the complaints/concerns leveled about TGIFriday's in these posts, are merely across the board complaints that are applicable to any service job in a commercial restaurant. I think that if an individual is considering empoyment with TGIFriday's that he or she should read my post for an objective opinion about the company.
Pay: I worked for Friday's off-an-on for about four years beginning in 2006. I was always a server however, there were many opportunities for advancement (Bartender, Key Hourly, Management) that I decided not to pursue. The Friday's in Franklin, TN is centered in a pretty well-to-do part of the country, so the tips were intially very good. In 2006-2007 I would routinely average any where between $12.00 and $15.00 an hour in tips alone after tip-out, this money excludes my $2.13 hourly wage, as well as the money I would charge to roll other servers' silverware at the end of each shift. When the recession hit hard in late 2007 tip incomes began to decline steadily, mirroring the drop in consumer spending. By the time I left in late 2009 I was lucky to get $8.00 in tips after tip-out. The money you make will be entirely dependent upon consumer spending, something to think about as we come out of the recession.
If you don't know what tip-out is, here is a primer. TGIFriday's management forces all servers to sign a tip-out agreement contigent upon employment, whereby a server's daily tips will be garnished in order to subsidize the wages of other departments like bartenders and hosts. The real kicker is the tip-out is non optional, a great host gets the same amount as a crappy host, because the server has no say-so. The tip-out is based on sales and not tips, which hurts as well. For instance, if you sell $100.00 worth of food and tip-out is 5%, you tip-out $5.00 regardless of what you made in tips. Pretty crappy deal considering you might occassionally get stiffed on a big check, or under-tipped. I vehemently disagree with this practice, as I believe it hurts servers and allows other employees, most notably hosts, to slack off and still get paid. A Server Union would eleminate this problem, and many other of the problems that servers continue to face. Tip-Out is probably my single biggest beef with TGIFriday's as a whole!
Respect: Pretty bad from guests, no surprises there, you serve tables! Surprisingly the respect I enjoyed from management, and especially fellow employees was very good! I only had trouble from a younger female manager who was trying to assert her authority over me. She is the main reason I don't want to return and make a little money at Friday's while I finish my college degree.
Benefits: Benefits are pretty much non-existant, once again you serve Tables! However, if you get your shift covered you can get off work anytime you want! Vice-Versa if you need extra money for unexpected expenses, there is usually a shift available to pick-up. I would definetly consider these abilities a benefit that I didn't have at other jobs, where I had to work unless I had accrued vacation time, and then be scheduled off.
Job Security: If you work hard, stay out of the drama, and never insult a guest you are golden! Turnover in this industry is high and dependable hard working employees are valued, at least in my experience.
Work/Life Balance: The comments on this criterium in other posts have surprised me. The schedule at Friday's was always flexible for school, vacations, or working another job. I never, repeat NEVER had a probelm getting the shifts I wanted, even when I first started. Now if you want to hangout with restaurant people off the clock, that is another story. If Friday's and the people that work there are your life, I would argue that the problem is with you, not Friday's.
Career Potential/Growth: Food service, while although low paying is continuing to grow. I outlasted many a manager so those postions are available. Honestly though bartending is where you want to be! When the economy is hot my bar buddies were making 50K-65k annually, when I was making 25K! That is some pretty good money for someone with no education, or formalized skills. To get in the bar though will entail some politiking, which you may not want to do, I didn't.
Location: Once again Franklin, TN is pretty upscale, but competition for dollars is fierce! Try 100 other restaurants in a 3 square mile range fierce! I would try to focus on a Friday's near a mall or movie theater like the one I worked at. After cuts are made the late night can be really good, especially in the summer from movie and mall traffic. Avoid ghetto locations, as Friday's liberal alcohol serving policies will affect not only your tips, but also your life!
Co-worker Competence: A mixed bag, but a mixed bag everywhere. Some awesome people, some average people, some crappy people. I made many friends, but also hated some of the idiots that I worked with, but it's like that everywhere. When I was younger, and more naive, I worked my butt off for people! When I got older I just did my fair share. My advice would be to focus on your guests, they pay the bills not Friday's!
Work Environment: It's a commercial restaurant, so you should just expect a level of unproffesionality. Don't however compromise your morals and values! If someone asks you do to something unethical, or harasses you in an innapropriate way, get a lawyer! Lots of lawyers are driving cabs to make ends meet like everyone else, and they would be happy to go after a deep-pocketed company like Friday's. I will say that the work environment can be extremely stressfull due to the poor systems that Friday's has in place. Friday's definelty doesn't make it easy for a server, you will have to work hard to make any money. Also while my experience was mostly good, Friday's is a company that doesn't value its employees at all. It just didn't bother me as much, because I expected that. I hope this review helps.