UnderCover Waitress: Dirt on Darden

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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Dirt on Darden

Extremely interesting question has been posted on Avvo.com, a site on which people ask questions of lawyers. (Real lawyers, not like me. ;-))  A Darden employee writes:

"I work for Darden Restaurants. They have recently announced they are removing servers from our restaurant due to a policy change that would allow servers to take more tables reducing the amount of labor required. In stead of laying off people a multiple choice personality test was given in which corporate (no one that actually works at the restaurant) would make the decision who would remain a server and who would be turned into a servers asst (making less money). The test questions were offensive to me, invasive and many of them non related to the job and because of how I answered them I was demoted. My management team informed me they did not agree with the situation but that there was nothing they could do because it was a corporate decision. I was not hired to do this job. What to do?"

Wow. Remember, Darden Restaurants own the following brands: Olive Garden, Red Lobster, Longhorn Steakhouse, The Capital Grille, Bahama Breeze, Seasons 52, and Eddie V's. Darden Restaurants have also earned the ire of ROC United, a restaurant worker's advocacy group.

Based upon the above quote, it seems that Darden Restaurants is demoting some of their servers and making them server assistants. If the server assistants earn the full minimum wage, which is set to $7.25 per hour on the federal level, then this does not seem like a money saving scheme. So I did a little digging.

Darden Restaurant Wages

GlassDoor is a website on which people may anonymously post salary and wage information from where they work or have worked. According to GlassDoor, average server pay at Darden Restaurants is $4.37 per hour, before tips. Tips were averaged at about $16,000. Averages are around the country and per year.

GlassDoor reports indicate that server assistants average  $5.98 per hour and less than $8,000 in tip outs per year.

Remember, these are averages. The fact that server assistants are making less than $7.25 per hour indicates that they are paid as tipped employees. They may or may not make a little more per hour than servers at individual locations, but their average annual tips equal less than half the server's tips. Darden is not paying out substantially more money, but server assistants are making less than half what servers are making, including tips.

That is quite a demotion for the former servers turned server assistants, and no additional money spent by Darden.

Human Resource Management

While those who have just been demoted to server assistant must be seething, those who remain servers are in the unenviable position of benefitting from the misfortune of others. And those others are expected to act as the servers' assistants. Right.

Because they will have help from server assistants, servers will be able to take more tables, which means more tips, which means more money for the servers. However, the "help" they are to receive is coming from people who are likely experiencing legitimate anger and may be willing to commit sabotage. I don't condone sabotage, but sometimes I understand it.

This entire situation is ill-thought out and turns employee morale into a train wreck. Corporate chimps should probably be sent back to the jungle where they belong. Real managers know how to help people work better together. Real managers know this is not the way.

Personality Testing

The thing that interests me the most is how the unlucky demotees were chosen. Corporate chimpanzees sent multiple choice personality tests for the servers to fill out. Based upon their answers, they got to remain servers or were demoted to server assistant.

What I would give to get my hands on that test... I want to see it so bad I can taste it. While I do not have it and can not pick the actual test apart, I can discuss ethical considerations involved in giving employees personality tests.

It is unlikely I will ever see that test, as much as I would like to. Those who give psychological tests to employees tend to defend their right to keep the content of the test secret. One problem with test questions and scoring rubrics becoming public is that then the test becomes useless. For example, if everybody knows you have to say you like cats to get the job, people who detest cats will lie to get the job. (Make sense?)

Only qualified "users" may give and interpret personality tests. A "user" in this case means the person who gives the test to somebody else and interprets the test. The Task Force on Test User Qualifications (TFTUQ) was formed, in part, to clarify and define what it means to be qualified to give and interpret such tests.

Qualified test users must have a good understanding of statistics. Many tests ask the taker to give answers that are open to interpretation; test users must understand qualitative statistics, descriptive statistics, and item response theory. They need to be able to interpret how reliable test measurements are, and how valid test scores are. Corporate chimps and bean counters are unlikely to have such qualifications.

Ethical obligations on the part of psychologists who use personality tests are are heavy: they must use the utmost professional care when evaluating workplace tests because their findings and recommendations may (and in this case, did) affect an individual's career and income-earning potential.

My questions for the test takers at Darden Restaurants:

* Were you asked to give informed consent before you took the personality test? Did you understand that you could be demoted based upon your test answers?

* Were you guaranteed confidentiality, meaning your test answers would not be made public? This also means people not involved in interpreting the tests should not have access to your test answers. If they do, your name is removed.

* Was there a time limit imposed on the test? For example, were you given just one hour to complete?

* Was a qualified test user present during the test? Or did you just take it home and bring it back later?

* Were you treated with respect and common courtesy?

These are just some of the ethical obligations psychologists have toward test takers.

Is Darden Becoming Wal-Mart?

Barbara Ehrenreich first wrote "Nickel and Dimed" in 2001. The 2008 edition includes additional commentary by the author. She went "undercover" as a poor person. She was testing just how easy it is to get by working at low wage jobs. She held various positions during her experiments; one was at Wal-Mart. To apply to work at Wal-Mart, she had to take a personality test. The person who handed it to her was a Wal-Mart manager, not a psychologist. When she finished filling out the form, it was fed through a computer to score. 

Ehrenreich discusses the experience on pages 124 and 135. While she was told there were "no wrong answers," she was also told by the Wal-Mart manager after the scoring that her answers to three of the questions required "further discussion." The test had questions such as, "There is room in any corporation for a non-conformist." The answer desired by Wal-Mart was "totally disagree." According to Ehrenreich, the Wal-Mart test was designed to find people who did not question authority and would do as they were told. Free thinking was discouraged.

It is possible this "personality test" was not developed by any psychologist; based upon Ehrenreich's descriptions it was quite obvious and transparent. It may have been designed not to truly test, but rather to intimidate into giving the right answer. This way, future employees of Wal-Mart were forewarned how not conforming to Wal-Mart’s standards would most likely result in termination.

In any case, Computerized Psychological Testing (CPT) is not immune to ethics in psychology. CPT should be used in conjunction with professional review.

Back to our hapless victim at Darden. S/he claims that the questions were personally offensive and seemed irrelevant. Managers are claiming their hands are tied because the corporate chimps made the decision from above. This person is rightly angry about the situation.

The last sentence: "What to do?" I am not a lawyer, but I am familiar with how corporate lawyers will circle the wagons to protect employee test data. I hope this sounds neither impossible nor like a cop-out, but the best thing to do is to get a job working for humans and avoid Darden like plague.

I wish this person the best.














229 comments:

  1. This also has happened to me, after 15 years with Red Lobster, and have no bad marks on my "file". More employees, including managers, were more upset than I. Altho I have rent to pay, etc I will be moving on eventually. I will also check with my states unemployment program. There are alot of people very angry. On the other hand I feel nothing but relief, because this so called "best 100 places to work" is an absolute farce and huge disappointment. I don't want to work for an organization that will treat it's long time employees like this, so ta-ta Darden. Will never enter any of your restaurants again!!

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  2. I was a red lobster employee for four years! I was recently fired and think the ones who are still working there need a new job also. To be disrespected and treated this way after so many years of loyalty is just ridiculous.! We are people not machines! We have bills to pay and mouths to feed ! If you need anymore info please feel free to contact me....

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  3. First, being a server assistant does not mean you will make a shit-ton less money. You will make less, but there are benefits to not serving, too. You get tipped out 1.25 percent of sales from the five servers you are assisting. Not from their tips, from their sales. An SA (server assistant) arrives for their shift and when they're done, they're done. No cleaning, no side work, no nothing. Factoring in all the time servers waste doing menial cleaning work, it's not much different for the time you spend there. You may be there 2-3 hours at most and take home the equivalent of $10/hr on an average night, more on busy weekend nights.

    Granted, it is considered a lower position from a server, but employees were informed in advance that their tip percentages, manager recommendations, the personality test, and GSS scores would determine if they were a server or an SA. It is NOT based on the personality test alone. You would have to score poorly in at least two areas, probably three, to be "demoted." I spoke with my current manager about it and he described "tiers" and stated that a server is ranked in relation to their coworkers. The lowest tier, the poorest performers, get the SA position. It's the people who don't have a strong team attitude, those who report the lowest tip percentages, the ones who get guest complaints and the ones that management feels can't handle the extra work that get an SA position.

    They can be "promoted" to server after 90 days, at which point their performance is re-evaluated.
    I think whoever wrote in to you didn't give you the whole story.


    To answer your questions:
    * Were you asked to give informed consent before you took the personality test? Did you understand that you could be demoted based upon your test answers?

    I don't remember informed consent, but we were informed that it would factor into the server/SA decision.

    * Were you guaranteed confidentiality, meaning your test answers would not be made public? This also means people not involved in interpreting the tests should not have access to your test answers. If they do, your name is removed.

    It did say it would be confidential.

    * Was there a time limit imposed on the test? For example, were you given just one hour to complete?

    From what I can recall there was no time limit.

    * Was a qualified test user present during the test? Or did you just take it home and bring it back later?

    It was an online test to be completed all at once (it did say not to begin it if you couldn't guarantee to have the time to finish).

    * Were you treated with respect and common courtesy?

    I don't think the questions were offensive, though I wondered about some of them. It asked how much the distance from my home to the store influenced my decision to work there...that's the only one I remember clearly that I thought was weird. The questions weren't worded in such a way that I thought I wasn't respected as a person.

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    1. Yes, that is very different from the information that I had before. A demotee claimed that management said they had no influence in the decision and that the test was the only factor. You have clarified that management feedback is a factor in the decision, which makes a difference.

      Perhaps the manager lied to this person instead of admitting that s/he thought the person should be demoted. Either that or the SA is trying to make his situation look more extreme. (The SA wants to sue, I think, but Darden has broken no laws, to the best of my knowledge.)

      Thank you very much for writing this comment!

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    2. I had to take this personality test for Darden/Red Lobster before I was hired around 9 months ago. I'm not and cannot be as good a server as the many servers with 5 years plus at these
      restaurants, including where I'm thinking that these employees of multiple years have vacation time and benefits like major medical that we new employees do not have. We also have been told that these new assistants will be running food, and bussing tables and doing side work. How much can they actually assist us with when they have 20 tables each? Its a joke. We have that ratio of bussers at our red lobster now- and we still bus the majority of our own tables. They have zero time to run food or anything else..Our side work just quadrupled to give these guys time to run food..any demoted server is quitting to go work at better restaurants with less work and a better clientele..you do not go from making a bill or two on Friday night at one of the nations most note worthy "hells kitchens" to be a busser..ANY RESTAURANT will hire an ex lobsterbot on the spot..they are notorius servers in the biz; many just do not realize it because of the constant criticism we receive from corporate and our managers...but believe me- they know it. Darden must be in a real jam..I think they deserve it..Thanks for being here-

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    3. Many of the comments here, including yours, remind me of an old one-liner: "Beatings will continue until morale improves."

      Funny how some companies still believe that the way to help employees improve is to constantly fault them. In reality, it breeds massive anger in people in who recognize that anything they do right is overlooked, and one little mistake and they get yelled at. I've quit jobs over sh*t like this. I even yelled back once I got so sick of it.

      Recognizing what somebody did well, then offering constructive criticism = good management. Unfortunattely, far too many restaurants continue to operate under the "if you can't take it, you're not a good server" theory. And some people's self-esteem and sense of self-worth drops so low that they sincerely believe they will never be hired elsewhere, so they stay for more abuse.

      It makes me sick.

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    4. After we have our BIG MEETING about the awesome changes at our
      pink crustacean Ill let you know all about it...of course I'm posting incognito because we have no right to freely speak about the happenings at our workplace without fear of being sued, and of course the poor always shake in their boots when the wealthy corporations threaten to sue...to squash you like a bug..

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    5. Thank you. A private employer may fire you for speech. Personally, would be surprised if they sued, but don't assume that means they won't! Best to you.

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    6. ok let me start by saying you either must be a manager or a server because you are on the offence about it !!!! i am a server assistant i have been for a week and it sucks im use to making 700 to 900 a week and i brought a total of 127.68 for Tuesday - 4 hours Wednesday 3 hours Thursday 5 hours Friday 5 hours and 4 hours on Saturday !!!! now can you honestly say were making enough money to support a family ???? i didn't think so and side work yes we do have side work and the pre busing isn't happening !!!! we are the servers dream we are their slaves the sit up in the walk through talk chat txt Facebook and what ever else they choose all the while they have trays of dirty dishes on tray jacks all over the dining room then they run up to the seater and have them call us on those secret agent mics and tell us to go clean their tables bc their lazy ass don't want to do it , we have been told to take drink orders and one sa took the drinks out with biscuits and the customer had the sa take their order bc the server was talking in the pass through by the bar but yet you get all huffy puffy about it !!! well i am here to tell you a lot of good servers are being demoted for no good reason some have even gave years to this company but in return they get re-payed by this ........... then when you say something to the managers they say now you know how we feel ..... well you know what we don't make 120,000 a year and you do so suck it up

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    7. This guy is CLEARLY a plant...

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    8. U r definitely a manager or server and sa have more side work than servers ur an idiot and ur devotion to corporation makes me sick. How would u like it if ur money was cut in half. But again I agree u must be a plant u idoit

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    9. I worked as a host for three years for red lobster and it took me two weeks to quit after these stupid changes. You've got highly qualified,hard working servers demoted to making 25% or less of what they used to. Then having them pick up the slack for the severs who deserved to be demoted!(ex: always 15-30 minutes late or call in sick on a weekly basis, consistently incompetent and always complaining, and the laziest slackers imaginable!) I couldn't stand watching it anymore and found myself a job at a family run business. Bottom line...Darden turns good people into angry, depressed robots.

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    10. I worked at the new Kendall location. I was an original opening crew member there. I called the district manager Chad as well as the Orlando office to report employees dipping chicken and other foods in sauces and placing them back on the alley for customers to consume. And not to mention the drug dealing by some of the cooks...I reported it and they came in to inspect. They didn't do crap about it, never warned any of the persons involved and at the end they fired me and made me feel stupid for reporting this crap...I have pics of the oil in the fryer..Looks like a moat from a mid-evil castle...Absolutely disgusting. Dan at the Darden corporate office turned out to be a back stabbing jerk...My report was supposed to be confidential and they threw me under the bus.

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    11. As far as management not having a decision, yes their imput is considered but it is not the final say. Corporate has the final say. Management showed me there comments and scores they gave me, which were all good...and specifically told me that corporate was not making me a server because of my test answers. Specifically the questions asking me how long i planned on staying with the company. My response was 2-5 years (not forever)...After already being with the company for 6 years. - the person who wrote the complaint to the lawyer site

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  4. It's just another way to reduce labor costs and subsidize it with the servers tips. Although I do not believe that servers will make additional income by adding a fourth table. There is going to be less serving shifts available. A full floor will now be 9 servers as compared to the 12 server floor there was previously. Yes SA's are going to make a shit ton less. They have combined the bussing and food running into a single position, the SA. Lowering the previous hourly rate of the busser from 5$ to 4$ per hour and increasing the tip out percent of servers up 1%. I am also sure that the SA's will have sidework, as did the bussers.

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    1. Not to mention that the SA's will be splitting that tip % when there are more than 1. I can make 100$ in an easy 5 hour Tuesday evening. I have never seen any of our busser's even sniff close to that, that is when there even scheduled at all.

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    2. NO WAY NO HOW, When business declines there could be 20 dirty tables, and when the front manager cuts them, their OUT of there, Darden wants to save the labor and wants severs to supplement SA, and bar tenders, Darden lowered theor rates as well, so instead of bar sales, and 5-10 percent, now they get a lower rate and 1.25 of your total sales, servers supplementing everyone's paid, so hope you get good tips because your paying no matter what! It is all on the server, does anyone think bus people know where to tarter sauce for you table? Who is going to train them if they wish to learn? And who is going to pay them regardless of what they know, or don't know? Us stupid servers!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This reminds me of a pyramid scam.

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    3. Hey Dumb ass check your spelling befor you post. And yes i do know were the Fing tarter sauce is but guess what your the server you get it. When me a SA, demoted server has a tabel ask for something i keep walking and dont think twice. because that is your job, Not mine. I Dont care.....

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    4. I was demoted to SA. When I work I do the job of a server, I pre-buss as many tables as possible when running around the dining room to make my job easier later, I run drinks, I get bags and boxes, I talk to guests, I refill bread and drinks, I get sauces, I run food, make teas, make lemonades, make coffees, stock the damn salad bar because everyone is too busy help the bartender. And on the end of that Friday night with 2 SA's working while the server's count their $100+ in tips for the night, I go pick up my $32 tip share the next day. I bus tables until the server is cut, once a server is cut they can clean their own tables. An SA is to help move tables in and out since your table isn't getting anymore business my attention is to be on the servers on the floor still. When I am cut I fill the pink bottles and the paper towels and I get out of there. If there are 2 servers cut they can help run food or something while they wait to check out. My $32 tip share making ass in clocking out I don't care if your table is dirty if you have time to check facebook or stand in the alley and talk, you have time to clean your own table and I can do something better with my time.

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  5. How much the SA's will be tipped depends how busy the restaurant is. On a slow lunch or dinner, they will be cut from the floor along with the food servers who are scheduled to be "first cut" such as the openers for lunch and the 3:45's for dinner. Working less hours will certainly bring in less money and for those food servers who were demoted to SA's this is going to create a hardship for them.

    Darden has saved money by not providing their food servers with a busser. We have been doing our job and the busser's job with no increase in our salary aka doing two jobs for the price of one.


    The personality test stated the test would not be timed, however we would be timed on how long it took to answer a question. I believe there were 100 questions on this test.

    This is how it was set up. We were asked a question and then chose the answer from these choices.

    Strongly agree; slightly agree; don't know; slightly disagree; strongly disagree

    Examples of questions:

    Do you perform your job without being told what to do?
    Do you pitch in and help other employees when needed?
    Did you leave your previous job because you could not get along with the other employees?
    Does the distance you drive have any bearing on your choice to work at the location you are employeed with?
    Does your family live out of state?
    Do you see your family every 2 to 4 months?
    Did you make any close friends with the people from your previous job?
    Would you say you have between 3 to 4 close friends from your previous job?
    Do you socialize with your friends from your previous job at least four times a year or more often?
    Do you get angry for no reason?
    Do you get in a bad mood for no reason?
    If another employee is upset or angry, do you try and get them out of this mood?

    It is important for Darden to understand that each of their employees want to earn a living and want to do a good job. Unfortunately, it is their policy that the customer is always right and regardless of how much a food server tries to please their customers, there are those customers who will voice complaints because they want free food, gift cards and gift certificates, yet this is still held against the food server and goes in their file.

    This entire SA situation is pathetic and this will only create an "uncomfortable" work atmosphere for Darden employees which goes against what Darden is telling us they want to achieve.

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    1. Thank you for this. :-)

      From a Human Resources standpoint, "pathetic" is much too kind. What Darden has just done is to pit the servers against the SAs. Those who took the test and remain servers are likely to feel superior and as if they passed due to personal merit; those who were demoted are feeling disenfranchised and insulted. Now, these two camps are supposed to work together in a cooperative, collaborative fashion? Servers looking down on the SAs and SAs ready to explode? What a nightmare.

      Thanks again for the salient input.

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    2. I need to clarify something from my previous post which you responded to. Any server who would feel superior or look down on a SA does not deserve to remain a food server. The food servers I work with are upset and very concerned about our co-workers who were demoted because many of the SA's have families, go to school and have bills to pay just as we do.

      Anytime a corporation puts a new plan into action which creates an uncomfortable work atmosphere, this hurts everyone.
      We are hired to be happy, smiling employees and it makes no difference which position is getting demoted, we all hurt for our co-workers when their income will becomes a hardship.

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    3. What you just said indicates that the servers you work with are nice people and above the pettiness that they are being subjected to. I am glad to see this. I hope you all get through this okay; I am writing about these things in an attempt, as small as it is, to make the reality of working in the restaurant industry known. It is very good to hear that good people are concerned and supportive of their co-workers.

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    4. The test is an excuse..I was not that thrilled to learn that druggies, felons, and gropers past the same test..Its all smoke screen to get rid of employees using up too many benefits..
      Red Lobster mentally punishes their servers with talk of how "sorry their service" is..How many places do you dine where the server actually tries to entertain and entice you with a menu? Where the server freaks out in a panic if your glass is half full??We work under god awful circumstances..we are the boot camp in the biz..PLEASE all demoted servers-KNOW YOUR WORTH!

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    5. its too weird that a "will be" Server can fail their test and a current server who has been good and sane enough to serve for many years must pass to keep their job. We were told that every server must pass to retain their position PLUS be graded on other things like tips..I was relieved that I had already passed the test before I was hired- I took it online-how do they know that it was even me who took it?? They are using it as a tool..can't an employee demand that the test they actually took be reviewed by a qualified clinical psychologist??I think any court would have a field day with this especially involving a long time employee dependent on Dardens benifits...

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    6. I am currently going over some ethics issues in psychology and preparing to post. It's a lot of information to sift through, so it is taking some time.

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  6. Due to the fact that Darden is a fortune 100 company they can do just about any changes that they deem necessary. They use the global marketing company called Kenexa. They are having trouble with profits so the employees go first, not the food. I feel sorry for the 15 year employee what a way to reward loyalty and employee retention.

    I thought some of the questions where offensive especial when it comes to family, mine are dead. Green I was told was ok to retain, yellow is neutral but may need further answerings such as just doing a background check, Red is not supposed to hire. Notice the word Hire, servers were fired then rehired as an SA, for lower wages.

    In our store it was mostly women over 40 years of age, who had green scores. Might as well put us old mares out to pasture, yet when a new hire 20 year old comes in, we have to babysit them for a long time. Darden used to give out longevity bonus's but like anything else they have to keep axing to keep the payroll down. I'm taking my college education in culinary arts and taking my talents to new levels. I started pounding the pavement within hours of notice. I've not returned, Sorry Darden Right to work state does not require me to give notice. I'm almost feel like going into the parking lot and paying people 10.00 cash to go eat in the Restaurants right next door and I've saved up some extra cash. I've also heard from other servers the lies that managers were telling them. At least I can sleep at night because my conscience is clear.

    I'm surprised Darden hasn't asked for a bailout like AIG, at the expense of hard-working Americans, the same one's now still working for you. Best of Luck and servers you might want to look at some other options, they are out there.

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    1. why does a company who is losing profits go and pay 586 million for a new string of restaurants,,,they just did that at Darden with the cash their employees have saved them..its true..

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    2. YOu are bitter and need to move on to new emplyments

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  7. How absurd that some corporate exec made a decision to evaluate servers based on standardized data and then demote their position and slash their income to fill a new position. If restaurant managers are doing their job the way they are supposed to, poor performance (or whatever factor corporate thinks an issue) should be handled in-house...further training and/or "progressive discipline,"...and server asst. hired from outside. My Red Lobster made SA's of 2 long-term employees (>15 yr) who likely bring in 20 "call parties" each per week. Our managers told us they think it was because their claimed tip percentage was low, one of the factors in the decision. This recent policy is part of a VIP-Plus Program (like the military, a name and abbreviation assigned to every "mission") being put in effect which merely re-emphasizes an elaborate procedure standard that has been in place, only now servers may wait on 4 tables at a time rather than 3...already a frequent occurrence though supposedly prohibited.

    I am disgusted with this company and the whole top-down corporate protocol. My health insurance and an uncertain and jobless economy keep me locked in here. Maybe this recent turn of events and the SCOTUS decision will push me to move on.

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    1. you are so right...I'm in a location of horrible tippers and nightmare customers..they say its about tip percentage because they need to justify the larger tip out..something is coming down the pike about waqes and they need servers to lie and report higher tips..also this keeps their available cash out of our paychecks.. just more intimidation to meet their bottom lines.

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  8. Just ask the servers that work at graphical crille - they can tell you how the food running is now done for 2.13 per hour ( subsidized by a mandatory $1.00 per entree tip out to make it "legal". So you know, we had NO choice in the tip arrangement we are forced to tip out about 40/50% of our tips every day. Perhaps it is time to step up to the plate and look for justice......via the justice system. After all, they are all about doing the "right" thing at darden :/

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  9. Thanks for the responses. I've been checking back to hear the imput. I for one am a great listener. Been doing some homework on the situation and this is what I've been gathering.

    Darden is reporting a 10% profit. Profits, disappointing due to promotionals that did not attract the guest counts. It is a bad economy. They also got rid of some jobs at corporate office. I feel bad for them too. It's called layoff's and they don't want to pay unemployment. Some of the names are listed on publications who have been demoted or transferred into other positions at corporate.

    Keep in mind, CEO's in most positions have a "Golden Parachute". I truly believed that Darden was an and nothing less than an excellent company/organization to be employed with. I was trained by them and followed all procedures and policies. I also grew fond of my "family" away from home.

    The other thing about tips, Red Lobster was one of the lowest tipping places I have ever worked. I stayed there for the positive reasons and not the less than standard tips.

    I listened to and made great conversations with the people I served, that to me, was well worth the experience.

    Did anyone at all ever notice, that when you actually try to clock out of the system and go home, and if for some reason you made great money that day, the clock will not let you clock out. Why? Because the corporation has to come up with cash not checks or credit cards to pay the IRS payroll tax. This is a huge expense on the part of being a Capitolist Public Company.

    I also worked for Olive Garden, and that was when the ecomony was in good standing. I loved all my managers and the people I worked with and they were very busy.

    I can actually do the math in my head at our restaurant and we are losing money, sad but true. But I've moved on, it's just a bad economy right now. Oh and by the way do not ever feel, threatened, intimidated to speak what's on your mind, this is a free country in which men and women die for to protect your rights as a Human being.

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    1. Excellent -- listening is an important skill if you want to learn. I think the wisest people are able to listen to the thoughts and opinions of those they disagree with. Too many people stop listening when it gets uncomfortable, so exchange of ideas stops.

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    2. How can a place stay in the red if they are constantly terrorized by customers calling in trashing their surveys and getting free meals that corporate charges to that restaurant? That is one very bad thing taking down the Lobster that I'm at..these managers life hangs in the balance over these surveys..Its nuts! The management is ONLY concerned with employees who have a knack at ass kissing these customers..the ones that pay their staff and keep the lights on-they care nothing for them...its just crazy-I kinda feel sorry for our manager giving this big meeting at our store about the new changes- with all of us staring at him likes he's a dumb ass...

      Delete
  10. To my previous post, the best thing right now is to keep your head high. Sit down quietly one day. Take some deep breaths and meditate. Get a pencil and paper and write a plan. Think of all the positives and nothing more, dream, think futuristic, hug your children, hug your husband, thank your wife, life goes on and we are all here to help one another though the journey of life.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. In response to your post, I think you forgot to tell those who are affected by Darden's new policy to go out and hug a tree before sitting down quietly and take some deep breaths and meditate.
      I'm sure this will be helpful to those who are facing financial hardship.

      Delete
    2. I think there needs to be a review of labor laws, and things wrongs need to be made right with some legal action. If the CEO gets billions in stock options why does he also need a huge income, and we are not making any money, because servers are funding payroll and working harder for less. But tipping is an option. Make it mandatory on all checks. Let's make some money for Darden, Disney does it, so should we. Just give great service and they will be back for more. Plus try and use a coupon a Charleys' steak house, the will add the tip then give you your discount. Let's change all the rules, and make it fair, servers shouldn't be paying for service not received and cant pay if they get stiffed. Guarantee a tip, and then it will lessen the burden.

      Delete
    3. Sing it, sister. I've done a 180 degree turn on my opinion of tipping and the restaurant industry. Labor is labor regardless of which company you are working for, and servers have it hard. I think the restaurant industry is still in the Dark Ages.

      Delete
    4. As an SA and Bartender I would have to say the number one phrase to get an SA to not buss your tables or get you drinks made last is "That's what I'm paying you for"

      I had a server snap on me one day. I was on the other side of the store cleaning tables then was headed to the other side. The bartender stopped me to ask a question so I was chatting a little. The server asked me to follow him. I stepped out and was like what's up. He was like "Are you the SA" I told him yes, "Then why do I have dirty tables? Isn't that what I pay you GOOD for?" I laughed and told him if he pays me good he is mistaken. While he may make 10%-30+% (give or take) in tips per table, I am making 1.25% per table, or .63% per table when there are two of us. If he calls that good for bussing tables, running drinks, greeting tables, running food, rolling silverware and doing side work he is mistaken.

      Delete
  11. In response to: "In response to your post, I think you forgot to tell those who are affected by Darden's new policy to go out and hug a tree before sitting down quietly and take some deep breaths and meditate.
    I'm sure this will be helpful to those who are facing financial hardship."

    It sure as heck beats going postal.

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  12. Good Evening Folks,

    Would anyone care to share if you are a female or male who has been "re-assigned"? And share you age? Me, over 40, close to 50.

    I made a few phonecalls to some stock firms and spoke with Brokers. I was making them aware of the possible labor disputes, and honestly they listened to me. Remember the old saying "When E.F. Hutton Talks, people listen".

    Business's who are no longer in business. Benigan's, Circuit City, Bed Bath and Beyond and many other sectors out of business. The economy is terrible and your normal American doesn't have cash in their pockets, so less people able to go out and patronize places.

    Best of Luck to everyone out there! I hope to post again if I hear any news.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. one of the demoted ones at our store is around 50-55 years old and is an excellent waiter who gets lots of positive surveys etc..comes early and helps out..just a nice man..

      Delete
    2. F, 28, working for RL for 4 years. Never a less then 4 review. No corporate guest complaints. Claim anywhere between 11-18% daily.

      Delete
    3. 30 f with 11 years at darden also 4s on reviews when they give you one anyway

      Delete
    4. I've been with RL 18 years, 4 on my reviews, 52 years old, and just got SA. I said thanks for the memories, I quit.

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    5. 20 years with the company and I am 45 and another lady was 60 I see some red flags with time and age

      Delete
    6. 24 years with Red Lobster. Excellent reviews. Great service all Quality assurance inspections passed! I'm in my 50's chose to leave when I was informed my payrate was being decreased to $5hr from over $12hr. I had medical insurance and some other benefits Darden probably wanted to eliminate.

      Delete
  13. Haven't heard any news, however I do most certainly enjoy reading the blogs. My heart, prayers, good wishes and good intentions go out there.

    What I can't figure out is, (knowing the economy is not good) why didn't this corporation ask us to fill out a questionare or survey from the employees to make it work? I would have been preferred to have been furloughed till the next busy time. Or, How come they didn't across the board ask for a V-day? You still clock in, but you don't get the 4.35 or whatever, you keep all your tips. A V-day would mean to mean to keep working, keep your tips, but not get the payroll, so you could still order food. It's a way of giving back but keeping your job too, some companies did this after 911, a volunteer day. But you still work and get tips. This to mean with as many employees Darden has would have saved tons of money, and an effort to re-start things including positive news coverage.

    Also business cards are good for servers too, they can leave them anywhere and try to entice business in. I'm really against the surveys at this point, you don't really know who is filling them out. Dine and Dash people will always be around, Prosecute them, do not steal. If you want to give away 50 bucks or whatever, do it in the restaurant in a live drawing, that for sure will get people in. Offer a free glass of wine with any Rockzilla purchase!

    Frequent Lunch Card, buy 8 Lunches, get one complimentary with purchase of beverage, the ideas go on and on, any imput?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Are u stoned!!! A "v day"! They are making billions u fool!

      Delete
    2. I wish I were stoned. I haven't looked it up, but the idea of making people clock in and not receive wages is illegal. Doesn't matter if everyone agrees to it. An employer may not ask you to give up your rights under the Department of Labor.

      u rite like u stoned...? ;-D

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    3. They are not interested in putting forth the effort a little creativity would take...they do not care..just whatever is expedient..I'm sorry for whats happened to you..

      Delete
    4. There is no need for a Volunteer day, which for servers in most states its that way anyway, unless it's a very busy day for business.
      Darden is very much like its clientele they want to get as much, for very little!

      Delete
    5. Poor Darden cant keep their employees or their benefits..but they DID just pay 586 million in cash dollars for the Treehouse restaurant chain..they exploit the hell out of the very employees worried about lunch cards and v days!!!This is evil folks....

      Delete
    6. Sorry, Its Yard House Restaurants not Tree House..I swear my manager said Treehouse..I stand corrected

      Delete
    7. Sounds juicy -- thanks for the tip. (ooh -- no pun intended.)

      Delete
  14. My heart is out there too with the managers, they work just as hard, I've seen some sweat coming from them and all I have to say is "God Bless You" you all work hard and I admire that!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Hi everyone. I was just hired into Red Lobster as a server assistant. I had heard it is going to be split tips. Im a little worried about that can someone tell me how much i will be making working full time

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. From what Ive heard its around 35.00 on a good night..keep us posted about what happens with you..

      Delete
    2. Try 13.44 for 5 hours

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    3. On a Friday night i worked with two other SA's for Four hrs ran my BUTT off and the next day my tip out was only 27 dollars for 4 hrs of work. So if there are more than one SA on the floor you will not make much, however at my location because some have already quit. i have had to work a few shifts by myself and made about 9 to 10 dollars an hr. But i was also bussing the whole restaurant by myself and running food. Sweating my head off. Good Luck. If u dont have a family or bills it may work for u.

      Delete
    4. I made $90 one night only because it was just me and the poor hotess bussing tables but i worked a nine hour shift with no break..I make $33 most nights..you will be scheduled like 7 shifts but they have so many and not much need for you so each shift is anywhere from 30 minutes to 4 hours on weekdays and about 5 to 6 hours on weekends..even doubles are only about 6 to 7 hours. Dont do it quit find a new job they told me since I had so much experience I would be on the floor in a month hahahahaaaa...NEVER HAPPENED..ive been there about three months and I am still bussing tables.Im a pretty strong girl and have done construction work with my father..you are going to be sore everywhere. THIS JOB HURTS!!! your pockets and you body. Its not worth the pay and you will feel so worthless. You are at the bottom of the bottom..you are the slave and you must do whatever anyone tells you to. You will be running all the servers food then get the table whatever sauce and refills they need then you must prebuss the table and eventually buss it off.. They also have made our hosts do the silver sort and the servers night sidework. So I am not exactly sure what the server does except take their order and ask what shrimp refill the customer wants next.

      Delete
    5. Up until your last line I wasn't going to reply to anything. I am a server and my SAs hardly ever do anything for me. I deal with horrible clientele, managers who hardly know what they're doing and other lazy servers. And for the record I do sidework, run food, closing side work, and stay late to finish up the closing sidework that other lazy servers don't do.

      Delete
  16. Under Cover Waitress:

    My answers for the questions you had about the test:

    --* I was not told if the information was confidential, but it was common knowledge that the test was made to see if you would be demoted or keep your current position as a server.

    --* The test was to be taken online & no time limit was set, I went through the answers fairly quickly, I had to try to remember my answers since A LOT of them were the same one, only worded differently.


    --* I thought the test to be invasive & irrelevant to some degree. They did ask if I had family in a certain mile radius & how often I saw them. Another question was if I felt successful in my life compared to others.


    On a sidenote: The management told the people who would be demoted that the personality test was only a small factor & that what they claimed in tips was also another factor.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much!

      I wonder if managers at different Darden restaurant locations gave different information to the servers. Some people say the test was a huge factor, others, a small factor. Sort of like playing telephone, the message keeps getting mangled when lots of people pass it down the line. and Darden is a huge corporation. So servers in different restaurants end up with different information.

      Repetition is common in tests like these; they want to see if you give the same answer to essentially the same questions. It is less trying to catch people lying, and more trying to ascertain if the questions are successfully getting accurate answers (if that makes sense.) Different answers may equal a faulty test. I am still wondering about the logic behind asking servers about their family.

      Lack of confidentiality seems concerning to me.

      Thanks for posting.

      Delete
    2. I was demoted to the SA position. When my manager first informed me he did not have an answer for me as to why I was on the list, he also informed me that his stomach was in knots preparing to tell me because he does not agree with the decision. When we first heard about the changes, no one gave us any information on how much each factor ( the server-self assessment, tip percenatages, and manager reviews) would weigh in on the decision to be demoted. I have excellent reviews, great GSS comments, tips claimed anywhere between 11-18%. Therefore I am left with the notion that I failed the self-assessment which I thought was a strange and very personal test that had no basis for determining whether or not I can continue waiting tables. Questions asked were Do I feel my parents are proud of me? Do I have many friends in the workplace? Did the location of the workplace determine in my wanting to work there? How are these questions relevent especially when all you can answer is strongly agree, agree, don't know, strongly disagree, disagree. Initially I thought a server assessment test was going to be basic math skills, and how to handle certain situations within the restaurant. Not questions on if my mother is proud of me. However I guessed I failed it, and my other SA's and myself are still upset about the situation and many of us quit the ones that remain are at least going to ride out the 90 days in hopes we make some money during endless shrimp.

      Delete
  17. I hear and heard many reasons as to how they decide, however I doubt anyone will ever know the truth. Of course you should make more money if you are selling more food, and working harder, SHOULD. People should tip, Darden should add gratuity on tables of 6 or more, instead of making it eight and then making you have a partner to take the table and split the tip. Darden should provide a positive safe and earning work environment.
    But instead servers are getting taken advantage of while the CEO is making bank. The SA does not have to do side work and can know nothing about your food, or even care to get your table a diet coke, just tell you ten times your table needs you, never mind he could have gotten it since your busier than a one legged man in butt kicking contest, and have 20 years on him, plus you out work him and do 25 things to his 2, which you have to make a list, draw a map, and give him a demonstration before he can complete those 2 things! Oh by the way your paying him to turtle time it, eat, pretend to learn, talk about sports, text on his phone, and watch television at the bar.
    None of this makes any sense to me, either you can multitask or you can't, being a server is not rocket science however it does take talent, effort, and willingness.
    Which proves that the test is a scam, and it is sad that people who do drugs, and are felons passed the test. Soon that may be all they are left with because no one who is not high will be able to deal with getting stiffed, dumped on, and worked like a pack mule.
    Darden obviously has no confidentiality.
    The catering to problem guests, then giving them gift certificates to come back and do it again is crap, and of course they do not tip! But tipping is an option.
    The CEO's bonus and benefits should be an our option, instead of part of his contract, everyone should have a vote. I imagine his bonus would be a lot less!
    Darden will never be held accountable for any of their actions, or lack of actions in some cases, and it's the little guy that gets the fuzzy end of the lollipop.
    I love the pat response, well if you don't like it find another place to work, ya you are so right miss manager, that's should be our solution for you and your attitude.
    This line of work is not for everyone, but there are no more excuses left after 17 years, you get it or you don't, and miss manager is not getting it, we need another one to take her place.
    So lets give the managers a test see if they need to manager assistance. and Server that go score could move into management, so they can problem solve, and have more good nights than bad.
    And when goals are met, rewards are given out. Either way managers need to take the test as well and if they are able to stay managers, or be managers, assistance.
    The same thing, should go all the way to the top, to see if they get promoted or demoted.
    What's good for us should be good enough for all of them, as well.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You bring up an interesting point (among all of your interesting points.) Actually, people who are applying to management positions do take a test. However, the questions on the test seem relevant. Instead of being asked about where their family lives and whether they are happy all the time, they get asked questions that require them to think about the cost of items in a dish and calculate which dish costs the restaurant less to comp.

      Delete
    2. I had to take a math test when I was hired as well, however I still believe, managers should have to take the same test.
      Darden is moving in another direction and has a different vision.
      Gross profit margin needs to be averaged, because commodities fluctuate. Plus if there are gas charges that needs to be a factor as well. When frozen items get fried, the cook time is less, and there is no prep time, and since the shelf life is longer, more quantity can be bought for a smaller price, and then there should better GPM.
      Continuing education is mandatory for realtors, and nail techs, cars evolve and education is the key.
      Teams change their play books, and when they are all not on the same page, they sit the bench, they are not put in the game.
      Coaches are to Managers what players are to crew members (managers especially)
      Some managers shouldn't be managers because they do not have the skill set to do so, and that is why the same test would work, the same test the servers had to take. If nothing else it would give some of them to do!

      Delete
    3. I like your coach/team analogy. Actually, I thought the manager test seemed relevant and a reasonable thing to expect managers to do. It is the server test that concerns me.

      Delete
    4. Oops -- I forgot to add: While the skills tested in the manager test were relevant, they were not all-inclusive. Knowing which item to comp or that made-to-order food is more expensive is only one aspect of management.

      As coaches, managers must lead their teams. I do not recall any questions that touched on leadership skills, dealing with conflict among the staff, or the like. Do you?

      Delete
    5. That is why there should be testing on skill set, and managers should have testing anytime there are new roll outs. Experience doesn't allow servers to stay servers, testing, tips, add ons, check averages etc, is reviewed and decided on by managers, who have not gone through any of these hoops.
      A good manager is aware of the slackers, and doesn't allow this to go on, they hold people accountable for being late all the time, not in clean uniforms, not being ready to work, and not working or helping others, plus the manager helps and is willing to work, not just sit back and watch crew members suffer. If managers do not know how to make a drink, how can they counsel or maintain proper bar standards?
      Proper team building is learned, but if your not taught, nor tested how does a manager manage the process, they don't.
      The rules mean nothing if they do not apply to everyone, and if the bar is on the ground, then so are your standards!
      But why would a stupid waitress know anything? I should hide in the managers office, while I text on my phone and eat!
      I guess managers just are allowing the CEO do to them what they are doing to tipped employees, but we out number corporate, but it means nothing if everyone doesn't stand together! Selfish, instead of Selfless! It will only be a matter or time, then corporate will come for managers money, and benefits.

      Delete
  18. Good Morning,

    Rise and shine! I am the one who posted about Kenexa and the V-day and no I am not a fool. Giving imput is nothing less than a great thing! Ideas are important! They are just ideas.

    Today is the day for the new implement. I did not return after I was told I could no longer be a server on June 23rd. No, to answer some questions earlier, I am not stoned, nor do I do drugs. I have a passion for people, places and things and I'm a former flight attendant. I also went to college with and "Honors Pass" in hand.

    I enjoy creative writing and being around others, who are just good people. I became a widow at 42, my husband was actually the First Pilot to take off after 911, so that is why I suggested a V-D and it was only a suggestion, I also have Multiple Sclerosis in which the company took no consideration for me whatsover. I brought in paperwork for my managers and sometimes not always just needed an accomodation.

    I can honestly tell you whoever is reading this blog, I stole nothing from Darden Restaurants. I never went to work high or drunk which I have seen first hand, I have helped every employee, I worked so hard. I have been on my own (self sufficient) for 5 plus years, and needed a job and miss my job, they did not take into consideration a woman who has Ms for the last 12 years and has been praised! So much for an accommodation!

    ReplyDelete
  19. If anyone feels offended by the v-day, it was not meant to be offensive, so I apologize. However, in any situation it is ok, for a give back to idea. I also propose a corporate idea, where as corporate excutives go out there and don on aprons or hair nets and give back too! Get your hands dirty and get out there and get involved in the so restaurants are are representing!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good morning to you! I hope you knew that "u rite like u stoned" was to the person who asked if you were stoned -- hope that wasn't ambiguous.

      And I agree with you that throwing ideas and suggestions on the table is a good thing. Not all suggestions will be perfect and many will be turned down. But without the ability to toss around suggestions, we would never come up with the eventual solutions.

      I am so sorry you have lost your job, but I admire your self-respect and refusal to accept a demotion to SA. Flight attendant, eh? I am planning on writing a post comparing and contrasting waiting tables and working as a stewardess / steward.

      Contact me privately if you wish to discuss writing endeavors. Are you familiar with Absolute Write or Writer's Market?

      And may your husband rest in peace. :-)

      Delete
    2. I agree but insted of putting on a hair nett, pick up a spray bottel and fill there pockets with paper towels and get to bussing for one day and make what i make instead of what they make to sit on there butts and come up with these hair brain ideas.

      Delete
  20. Update! Been 4 days of being an SA and let me tell you! Its exhausting Im not sure how every store runs but my manager expects me to be busy! Hands full everytime I ENTER OR EXIT ALLEY! Well after 5 hours of doing nothing but running food and bussing tables constantly my arm hurt so bad. My last tray of dishes being walked to the dishwasher I knew i was done for the day walking through the alley praying i dont drop it on the server.. As soon as i stepped in the dish area my arm gave way and there went the tray! I can already see Im going to be over worked and underpaid.. Im going to ride it out hopefully it does not stay this way but im telling you this is a hard job!

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    Replies
    1. I feel your pain, Sunday i was the only SA on the floor from 2:30 until 9:15 when i got cut and then had to do all the SA sidework. My arm was not only huring and sore but it was litterly burning and i could hardley hold anything in my righ arm the rest of the night. But i am just keeping the 90 day count down in my head to keep me going through this. 78 days to go.......

      Delete
  21. My heart goes out to the person who posted today. I hear you loud and clear. Whatever happened to happy and healthy, balanced days?

    From my perspective, and since I quit without notice. The jobs at Darden are really not that hard, except that they work you to Death!

    And, the weird thing was before my last post, was yes, Darden bought Yard House, which I went to, seeking other employment. I did have an interview and I said " I would gladly expidite food for you". I have not heard back from Yardhouse.

    Which leads to my next question? Where are all the displaced Darden servers going to do or where should they go next? Not sure, I hope happiness comes about, change is good for the better, although we may not see the better picture, I think and truly believe Darden got rid of the best people they ever had going for them. Shame on you Darden, now is my time to speak, Shame on you.

    Ok, so we are over that.

    There is nothing wrong with restaurants making profits, nothing at all. How you treat employees is another oasis? The employees make money for the "US" have you ever met the "US" Hell no, who is "US"? Can you tell me one scenario where you met the "us",

    I enjoyed the last poster who is going through some things, thank you so much for this knowledge. I can say move on and try to move one, this is truly about corporate greed, whom, (Darden) does actually not give one rat's ass about employees or managers, it will all work out.

    I am seeking work, and doing all that I can and I know it will work out.I took a gamble, because I am the poorest of poor, but took the gamble that I cannot and refuse to be treated as a nobody.

    My style or writing comes from Peter Elbow, and I just write and write, and I love to write and no one is going to stop me from writing.

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    Replies
    1. Not only do they work ONE SA, all night, alone, the same people who would rather be on their phone text messaging, are still servers, that don't stock, clean or run their own food let alone for anyone else.
      Wouldn't the solution to the problem be addressing that issue, instead of 15 different changes all at once, phase things out, and then phase things in, the alley isn't even set up for tooth picks, mayo, mustard. If Darden wants to add and change, proper storage, and execution of drinks, food, and condiments, needs to be taken into consideration. Example our salad bar doesn't even hold one full bag of salad? practical no, this one thing makes huge problems, and then there is only a one sided cooler so salads can not be pre-made
      Salads which we have to make, along with soups, and desserts. That cooler is also small, and never gets stocked either.
      Nothing is changing for the better, but if management won't provide two SA's then we need to have a full floor, so side work gets done, and food gets walked.
      But one person can only do so much, if everyone does a little it makes any burden lighter!

      If I were a manager, and people came in late all the time, high, no apron, no book, no card, no bank, no wine key, well NO SERVING. There are too many of us that show up to work will all those things, including change, coins, name tag, pens, and extra pens.
      But those are the one who are still servers, the ones that do not know how to make sweet tea, how long have you worked here? 3-4 months is long enough to know, but with that kind of drive, lack off is more like it,how can this person stay a server?????
      It is wrong to see long time servers who work hard get passed over. I guess they want your first born, or blood.
      Instead of us being the test stores, they should have to set up restaurant at corporate, and work the program with all our limitations, like no storage space for salad bar, and dessert trays etc. I would V-D that day, watching corporate have hot bread and plates on their trays, while they wait for their bar drinks, running out of ice cream, so go to the other side of the kitchen to get that out of the freezer, that big cart you passed on the way back, that is what you have to put you desserts in run back and grab some bowls, what no spoons, go get those, I could go on but I think we all get the point.
      But the double seating of 2 tables of 5, that's what I would like to really see.....I'll have four course with water and lots of lemons, me too..............
      I know I said the apple, but can I have brownie instead? I wanted that to go, but I want to eat the ice cream here, could I have a refill? Can I get more than a 5 dollar tip? no, okay, well then no, because then they still want more to go silver ware, to go bread, to go drinks, if they tip for every trip, then you would make some money. Corporate needs to feel it, see it, and live it, just like us crew members do every day, why not them????
      MELTDOWN, their tips should to go the one who have to help them, anytime they may need help, well they can pay for some, but if you don't have money,don't ask me, we should show them all this money they spent on these tests, and great ideas, and let them stand on their own, them we can QA close them, and make sure they Murphy oil all the wood in your restaurant!
      Yes, let's not forget the BATHROOMS!
      Never gonna happen but it may give me a few moments of visual pleasure!!!!!!

      Delete
    2. This comment is extremely helpful; thank you for writing it. I am getting the sense from things different people are saying that food servers got demoted and not-so-great servers got to remain servers. You just called it, as well.

      It turns out that the code of ethics for occupational psychologists is different from the American Psychological Association Code of Ethics. (And Kenexa consultants don't have to be psychologists, just have some background.) Anyway, am slowly but surely trying to piece together an article discussing the ethics involved in this situation. Also, I want to learn more about personality tests in general and see what conclusions seem to emerge.

      It's taking me a little time.

      Delete
    3. I totally agree with you and yes I would love it if corporate spent one day in our shoes. The fact that now you can get sat 4 seven tops but still cannot take an 8 top by yourself astounds me. Fact is corporate lives in a perfect world when they make decisions. They are not down in daily ops dealing with the nitty gritty of how things really work. How people walk into a restaurant and tell you where they want to sit so that server just got triple sat. Or that you have no space in the kitchen for 12 servers to bring a cup of soup out in 2 minutes. Or when you finally get your soup you don't have a spoon or the parsley is out. The saddest part though is that they don't care, we are all just numbers to them. We are drones and very easily cloned servers come a dime a dozen and the way they see it is if we don't like it, well hope the door doesn't hit you on the way out. It does break my heart though.

      Delete
    4. "Corporate chimps" is a term I learned from a fellow blogger. It fits. When people making decisions have no experience on the floor they make silly decisions. Better to have a person who is there, working with the waitresses, make decisions.

      Delete
  22. I can't wait to get a copy of undercoverwaitress's book. I'm sure if I read it before ever going to Darden, I know I would have had second thoughts for sure. I've been reading some other blogs and man people are madder than hell, do you blame them. Take a stand and stand up, this is a great place to voice and vent. I can relate to all those nasty things in the restaurant. My biggest pet peeve was not having an alley coordinator on and the servers garnishing food with no hair nets and gloves on, that is the TRUTH; and not getting paid as an alley cooridinator.
    Even worse is that alone in itself is a serious health concern, all it takes is one filthy hand to kill someone known as food poisoning.

    I think Corporate Chimps (omg I love this word!) should be required to go out there and do the dirty work themselves on a regular basis, but no you are dealing with a bunch of crooks who probably was banging their heads on their cribs as infants. I have fellow employees whom have been calling me for support and I'm now trying to help them come to grips and search for new jobs.

    What I did request from my employer was a letter mailed to my home via first class mail stating my current position and job duties and salary and my new position as an SA and what date it was going to take effect. And that the letter be mailed to my home within 5 business days. You know what they told me? It was impossible, What? A Fortune 100 company cannot mail me a letter? I told them look, I will send you the stamp and if you have to put in on Gold monogramed toilet paper with a capital D on it! ( yes they sell such products).

    You know why they wouldn't do it? Because I have MS and they were afraid of getting their butts sued off, and the accomodation is on file, they probably threw it away. Then they had someone from Corporate call me the next day, sounded like he was drinking a 12 year scotch as I could hear the ice dangling in the glass from the phone. I was like I did not call you, you called me! It was terrible, I felt worse than ever and had to mop up some tears that day.

    My managers know I live in a one room efficiency, alone, with no help and I worked in a Diamond Club restaurant, yes that's right I helped them get there. I can't wait to see Endless Shrimp this year, I will be the first one in line getting 200 refills of shrimp, throwing in my purse and down the toilet!

    Can I get an Amen for the Shame that Darden has done to it's workforce. At least I'm alone, I can't fathom those out there who have little ones right now or maybe a sick family member that relied on this little bit of income.

    I heard through the grapevine at least in my restaurant that I was "Stupid" for not staying. That is so far from the truth. They say that success is the sweetest of revenge and no one plays with my purse!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hiya, the only book about restaurants I have available at the moment is one for beginning waitresses to earn better tips. I don't want to take credit that I do not deserve; if you mean the "Behind the Kitchen Door" by people associated wtih ROC United then I did not write that. :-) However, I am also looking forward to reading it.

      Delete
  23. Exactly, Corporate needs to see it, Breath it, it should be required of any Corporate Dummy to get down and get dirty, I've moved on but the biggest weapon is that I can ad imput. If for any reason again,I hear that I am Stupid coming from Red Lobster again, if I gather again any utterance about me being Stupid, if Red Lobster evers a word again, about me being STUPID, do not ever utter a word that I am stupid!

    ReplyDelete
  24. update number 2
    Oh my gosh! Wow... This SA position is a job! constantly busy and when i say constantly I mean no time to even wipe the sweat from my head. the servers believe now that there is an SA they shouldnt do there Job. For instance im a split today I just got off gotta be back in an hour. well our store has two diff side.. One side with 30 tables other with 40. in the morning they pack the 30 side first then go to the larger side. well 30 is constantly busy being sat tables getting up.. Im constanly running food there and bussing.. well when im finally caught up on side 30 i move to side 40 and there are 9 and I mean it 9 tables not cleared and there all standing around by the drink area.. Like really! Its not my job to do every table. Im here to help you. Im not here for you to stand around when you could do your own table.. yesterday i work 10 hours I made 40 dollars tip share! Its so not worth it. If i didnt need this JOb i would tell them shove it where the sun dont shine! I guess I look on the brightside.. Ive lost 9 lbs in a week from running around like im running a marathon in there..

    ReplyDelete
  25. My name Patricia Chance, I work at store 6285 In Hollywood, Florida. Not anymore as of 3:30 this afternoon. I was told I was terminated because, my first night Monday, as an SA, I tried to do what they asked of me as requested. All it was, was a busboy position in disguise. I am a 52 year young female, who was just one of 3 females that were over the age of 45, that were told to be in the position. I came to work Monday night, July 16th, 2012, the first night of my SA position, I attempted to do this position but could not and Broke down in tears! If anyone would like to contact Patricia Chance to speak to me about a wrongful termination, please call me at 954-297-5015. I COULD NOT COMPLETE MY SHIFT!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am just a stupid waitress, however I do think they need on reason to terminate you. And there needs to be a verbal, and counseling, and then if no progress is made, then they can terminate you.Your GM sounds shady.
      Go to another concept, longhorns, or olive garden, as long as corporate does ban you, you should be alright.
      You know the system and you may like it better, let me know I may want to move to another concept.
      You are a strong women, you make it through endless shrimp.... will get hired at another concept, and you should be able to keep your benefits.
      Everyone gets sick, and need to go home from time to time.
      People just have personal issues, and they can't carry on, and have to go home.
      So this was your day, why are they giving you a hard time, they sound like Communists.
      Your better off checking out another concept, but do it right away, and if that doesn't work, then I don't know what to say.
      Four years ago I watched a crew member get fired and the next day he was working at Bahama breeze. And that is the truth, it happens all the time, people steal, and another Darden restaurant hires them, so if they can do it so can you!!!!!!!!!

      Delete
  26. My wife and have worked for RL for 20+ years and over the last 2-3 years our pay has been cut at least 5 times. I am a bartender and my wife is a server. My hours have beeen cut (opening bartender clocks in at 11,the same time we unlock the doors, giving you no time to set up to tkae care of the customers), I went from $12+ per hour to $5 per hours + tip share (I do not make $7+ per hour tip share)We now run with two-three bartenders on days where we used to have only one-two (So my 1-tip share and 2-any tips I make are split between two-three people). I was informed yesterday that the bartenders (including me,because I they said they "could'nt find my test results",which I took because I did'nt want to lose my families lifeline) are no longer allowed to wait on the two booths in the bar area which will decrease the tips made by bartenders by at least 60% (for me at least $150-$200 per week).
    My wife has to tip out, now the amount has increased (mgmt. says by having 4 tables, tips will increase But now servers are all losing at least 1 shift per week due to decrease in number of shifts available. Servers were also told through progressive discipline,if they were caught talking to seaters, they will be fired.
    Prior to the VIP plus tip share increase we werer losing $500-$700 per month form pre tip share days. That is sure to be even more with the loss of my booths and my wifes tip share increase. My director told me I would be suprised how much I would make fron the tip share change,I thought he was putting a posititve spin on it, I didn't realize he was warning me I was going to screwed so severly. This is also the same person who told me I make at least 10% on all take out orders. Take out orders are 60-70% of bartender sales,which if I made 10% off $700-1200 in take out sale life would be better.
    Basically RL is trying to run out employees who receive vacation and ins. s they don't have to pay for it. And at what cost? The losss os 1000's of loyal employees. I guess RL needs to look up loyalty in the dictionary. Ponder its meaning, and see if the way they reward loyalty is right. I'm sure if I treated a loyal RL customer the way they now treat us ,I would be immediately fired.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. I agree totally. I worked for Red Lobster for 24 years. I started as a cashier then became day hostess . I worked as a bartender for over 10 years received merit raises for a job well done. I was making over $12 an hour when the new policy came into effect. My General manager informed me that my pay was being decreased to $5.00 an hour.I explained that it would not even cover my medical insurance his reply was you will have to make a check to the company to cover it. How crazy is that! If Darden wants to push out its faithful long term employees just be man enough to say so. I resigned from the company refusing to work for nothing! I raised 2 children as a single parent but now my children are grown and I wouldn't be making enough to cover my health insurance that's insane. I hope everyone joins the class action lawsuit against Darden. They must be held accountable for these actions. It doesn't matter how big this corporation is they need to pay and thanks to the press for making the public aware of what's really going on. Darden should never again be rated one of the best companies to work for. That's a joke. They care nothing about their employees!

      Delete
    2. Please tell me how to join a class action law suit. We really need to ban together on this. I busted my but for 17 years and then get SA because of that test. I don't know if my parents are proud of me because they are gone. I know I'm not proud of Red Lobster.

      Delete
    3. Go on line to Darden lawsuit it will explain how to join the suit. Good luck I'm in a different situation but I'm contacting the law firm also about unfair labor.

      Delete
  27. Our demoted servers were told they would be SAs for three months. Any new hires for SA would only need to train for six weeks. So in theory, two classes of new hires will be on the floor when the demoted servers get back to serving. Too bad some corporate suits did'nt get demoted.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I wonder why all SA's are promised promotion? Is the goal to replace all current servers??

      Delete
  28. If so many of us weren't capable and dedicated to great service, these flag ship restaurants would have sank!
    Has anyone had as hard of a time getting what they give when they go out? It is so crazy, have an empty glass of coke and not getting a refill, but a question of what where you drinking? Um the same thing you brought me one of when I placed the order with you and didn't know what your soup of the day was????????????
    And then I wait an eternity for a take out order that is up front "waiting for me", holy shit what do you do? And I guess you forgot you needed to bring me a box for all my food, could you get that, or should I bring this up front, where my other food has been waiting?
    Not only do we need to get refills when the glass is half empty, we have to run to the bar to get classic lemonade and run back, and when we get back that's when we get asked for to go silver ware, and upon that return asked for take out drinks, cuz you know we still gonna be thirsty. ( ya, because 4 dr peppers weren't enough 20oz ) And here's a crumpled up 5 dollar bill on 46, and of that 5 dollars, I get to keep 3.96. What did I have to do for that, get 2 baskets of bread, at different times of course, get 4 refills times two, and had to go to the bar where the gold is kept, raspberry lemonade, make salads with extra ranch, clean that up and then bring their full shrimp pastas, that's when the basket number 2 came in, we will need take out bags and boxes. Would you care for some chocolate cake, key-lime pie, blah blah blah? No I am full, bring boxes, we need take out silverware, can I ask you a question? Yes what is your question, this is this good? Our chocolate cake is great, would you like that for here or to go, it has ice cream, I will have the ice cream for here and take the cake to go, here comes the fourth refill, oh we need them to go too. Well I will start putting things up front with the host, because I REALLY WANT YOU TO GO.....AWAY, SO YOU WILL QUIT ASKING ME FOR MY CONSTANT ATTENTION. Have you looked around, it's not all about you, well I guess it is although they didn't tip for that privilege, nor have enough class to get off the phone during dinner. One of these days I may just say what I am thinking, that will be the day I make a you tube, when they handed me that wadded up 5, I may say is there another one in here, cuz if there isn't, your only tipped up to this point. And if you would like anything else please ask someone that has more time on the hands, like a manager talking to a host???
    It's a funny, sad for me, story because we have it happen in our restaurant, and you have to laugh, or let it ruin your night.
    Just wanted to share my fun day with you all, it won't fix anything however, it should give some smiles.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. EPIC!!! You just won the prize for Best. Comment. Ever.

      Also, I do have an extremely difficult time eating out in some places because I no longer have any patience for lazy college brats who lose interest in my table the minute they discover we won't be boozing it up, or any server who wants to rush us and turn the table. If I can't get good service, just forget the whole darn thing.

      Delete
    2. I love when they run you to death for extra this and that. There bill is $ 49.26 they give you a $50.00 tell you, "you where great keep the change." and then have the balls to ask you for extra bread and drinks to go. I tell them ill be right back with that 10 min later they are still waiting and i dont think about them again, there dumb asses finally leave or stop someone else for the stuff. But they dont get it from me.

      Delete
  29. Great last post, keep it coming!

    If there is anything I can say or take with my prayers, let me know. I've posting quite a number of times and I even invited one of the SA's to use to my computer because she doesn't own one and I let her voice her opinion here. She felt so much better by using my computer.

    Thank you so much Undercoverwaitress for offering this blog to voice. Had no idea it existed, I have never blogged. I'm like a one year facebook person that is about it!

    What I can't figure out is, people say we were DEMOTED, NO that is far from the Truth, SERVERS WERE FIRED, FIRED, I use the word "fired" because we were!

    Management never once used the word DEMOTED in any shape or form. Servers were offered different assignments mostly what they call SA, Server assistant.

    The problem is this is not a Server Assistance program. Server assistants are mostly used in Fine Dining, or they might be dubbed a Back Waiter/Waitress. What they do is bring water, or water with ice and bread to start a meal, I've been in Fine Dining many, many times and I know what a server assistant in true life is, they serve on the right and clear on the left, something Darden has no Clue about. Remember I studied this in college and worked in a Country Club and fine dining.


    I was also offered hostess, I said no, because one. because I was being Fired not demoted, this is where the confusion comes and Corporate must be watching tooo much reallity tv! I exerragated (sp) that for a reason.

    Undercover waitress, I wanted to let you that I have a new job! I got a new job in less than 30 days that I was fired! I got a job with a restaurant that is one family owned not corporate, I did not even have to fill out an application nor take a test, I just sat down with the owner and we had a heart to heart conversation!

    When I was finished talking to the owner I mentioned another waitress who had been fired because of her age, guess what! She got a job too! So good things happen out of the ashes. My friend who used to work with me got hired too! She was in such dire straights after loosing this job at Darden, I gave her a bag full of groceries to help and her daugther, gave her some money and the both of us will be working together again!

    Do not under any circumstances, Let this happen, network, find friends, people who will help, Do not under any circumstance let Darden Restaurants ruin your life as an employee.

    Stay, strong be strong, and please post if you need to, effective communication is the best key.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Congratulations on the new job!!! And welcome to the wonderful world of family- and chef-owned restaurants. Now, we need to educate and encourage the dining public to frequent the little guys and avoid the big corporations.

      Delete
  30. Darden managers never once expressed the word demoted! Why? Because they are now clones and robots, and bots. They never expressed the word "Fired" gone get out here, you are too old!

    In my store, where I quit, I really feel bad for the managers, I know they want out of there so bad, it became so negative. But I left the day they told me, and my GM, said "I would hate to see you leave", I am praying, it will work out, and employees displaced I am praying so much for a good outcome!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. because the words fired AND demoted equal unemployment benefits..the creeps!

      Delete
  31. Store managers were FORBIDDEN TO USE THE WORD DEMOTED OR FIRED, THEY WERE NOT ALLOWED TO EXPRESS THEMSELVES AS HUMAN BEINGS.

    Please look and read at the post, Store managers were not allowed to use the word demoted or fired!

    The fact that they used the Store managers as scapegotes for the losing business, just goes beyond!

    While we can never get our jobs back, WE CAN SHUT THEM DOWN, ALL IT TAKES IS ALOT OF PEOPLE TO STAND OUT AND PROTEST,

    Here is my Sign, DARDEN HAS NO LOVE FOR IT'S BROTHER'S AND SISTERS,

    ANOTHER SIGN, DARDEN DOES NOT CARE ABOUT IT'S EMPLOYEES, AND MANAGEMENT, DARDEN DOES NOT
    CARE ABOUT GUESTS,

    I HOPE THAT SOME GANSTA RAP GROUP WILL COME OUT WITH A SONG, AND SEE THE TURMOIL, BECAUSE YOU KNOW WE WILL FOLLOW THE RAP GROUP NOT DARDEN.

    ReplyDelete
  32. It's not a demotion, it's a "development opportunity".

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. ROFLMAO Of course, we have all read George Orwell's "1984?" (If you haven't, I recommend.)

      Delete
    2. I heard through the grapevine the "development opportunity" was used by a manager at a RL from a different region.

      Delete
  33. Did managers use the word "reassigned?"

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My GM told me I was being "transitioned" to server assistant. What am I a radio? Who knew I was doing my job wrong for 16 years.

      Delete
    2. I read on a blog that demoted employees are filing for unemployment to make darden make up the lost wages of their demoted employees. They are getting checks to make it up- go to your EEOC if you have been demoted-Darden hoped its employees would be too stupid to figure it out-make them pay!

      Delete
  34. Oh wait, I will tell you about words.

    ReplyDelete
  35. My heart goes out to the 16 Year server! I was only 2 AND a half years. But again over 45.

    I strongly suggest a couple of things for the displaced servers. Please go online and you will find a tremendous amount of restaurants hiring that can use your talents. Please never give up and do not let Darden ruin your life, they tried too, but they cannot.

    When it comes to words I'm so glad the server agreed with me that management was not allowed to use the FIRED OR DEMOTED, not all, they used things or words, like congradulations you "qualify" for server assistant. I am so glad one poster only one, who told the truth that the managers were not allowed to use the word DEMOTED OR FIRED. That is the TRUTH.

    I for one loved my managers as people, hope they can sleep. Now I am worried about them. But it is ok,

    I'm not sure but I think my old employment just lost 8 servers this week alone. Do I relish on this, of course not, I do have some solutions but do you think anyone would considerite it?


    Go Green, offer more healthier meals, put some solar enengy panels on your restaurants to reduce overhead, I've blogged about this, Get off your Yachts and start making a difference.

    To the CEO of Red Lobster and Darden Restaurants, you need not hire Kenexa, you have to go Green if you want to survive, I asked about this day one, there is no recyle of used boxes, which the food is delived in. No recyle at all, Go Green Darden, that will save you so much money More than Kenexa can tell you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "Congratulations?!?" That is unreal. 0.o

      Also, you mention you have blogged. If you have a blog somewhere, would love to see it -- send link?

      Delete
    2. oh here is a good one. I was told it was not a demotion. to think of it this way RL was creating a new position and i was on of the few that would get the chance to try it out for 90 days and after that time i would be made a server again.

      Delete
  36. The test asked you if your family was proud of you, if you were proud of yourself, if you planned to work for the company for a long time, how long have you lived at your current address, how far away did your family live, how often you have moved, how much you liked to help people, etc. The questions were pretty lame and I thought several had absolutely nothing to do with my ability to serve. That said, I did pass the assessment and remained a server. At my particular location, the SA's get paid exactly the same as the servers and split the 1.25% (or whatever the % is) of tips that we tip out. No they don't make much money at all. Maybe on a busy Friday or Saturday they might walk out with a decent amount, but for anyone with bills to pay the SA position is a nightmare. They don't make squat. As for the servers, yes, having an extra table has improved my daily take home tips, but it's also caused service at my restaurant to decline. Friday night we had $500 in comps/returns from slow-service complaints. Most of our SA's are new-hires, so we don't have the anger issue, but our managers only use our SA's to bus tables and walk food which has caused us to be sat too quickly for us to keep up, and since the SA's don't know the food well enough, sometimes it's walked before it's ready and the servers are running back to the kitchen to get crap that should have been on the plate before it was sent out. Obviously these are issues that could be resolved with proper management, but our management doesn't give a rat's ass about providing their employees with the resources to do their job well. If we have an issue it is always our fault, regardless of any and all circumstances. People are quitting by the day and soon they'll be left with nobody but the new people and that will no doubt be a disaster for this location.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I ended up lumping the "I am proud of myself" and "my parents are proud of me" type questions in with "Mood." I could be wrong, but I guessed that those questions were an attempt to elicit information about sense of self-worth. (Don't get me wrong; I am not defending the practice.) Just mentioning how I chose to handle those questions in my own personal, subjective, qualitative analysis a few posts ahead of this one.

      Food leaving the kitchen before it's ready is a travesty. If nobody cares enough to train the new people there is nowhere to go but down.

      I'm rather shocked that the SA's are making tipped minimum wage -- maybe I shouldn't be. A tipped employee may make as little as $30 month in tips to be considered a tipped employee. The people who make wage and labor laws are obviously completely out of touch with the reality -- feed a kid on $2.13 per hour plus one percent of server tips?!?

      I have worked in places with "bussers" that were essentially SAs. They cleared, brought water and bread, and helped servers as much as they were able. But they made full minimum wage (or a little more) in addition to a tiny tip-out. Which still isn't much money...

      Delete
  37. Posting again.

    I do love undercoverwaitress so much and her analogy to be responsive and ad imput. The author of this blog is 100 percent correct in the fact that Darden Restaurants International disagrees with " Free thinking". To further let one know, I am a happy ex-Lobsterbot, who got hired on the spot with a restaurant who treated me with more respect than I could ever imagine.

    That fact and it is FACT, that corporate came up with some money making scheme to test is pure dishonesty, we all took tests when hired. Needless to say we were subjected to another test? What? To serve a diet coke and a Rockzilla purchase? My highest ring by myself was 160.00 other than a table split with other co-workers.

    My problem, no longer a problem but to advocate for those still there in this misery, and it is a Misery, face it. While I do not mind furloughs or layoffs, that FACT that Darden Restaurants International blamed the employees, attacked the employees ( oh they sure did by using managers as scapegoats, and intentionally inflicting harm, to employees who were 15 plus years. If anyone believes this test was justified, oh no it was not.

    I have some friends who are Military personal and they say it's called a "Forceout", Darden is interested in getting rid of employees who collect benefits, such as longevity and vacation pay.


    I'm hoping at some point to reach out to the Canadian community either via a blog or something, most business in Florida during season is with the Canadians. I'm hoping my new restaurant will be able to reach out to them to, to come to our restaurant, sorry Darden this is a free enterprise. I'm hoping to say one day My battleship sank yours!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sounds like your new job is going well! I am happy for you.

      Delete
  38. Keep typing, we want the Shareholders to see the Negativity associatied With Darden Restaurants and the Unhappy Guest and employees and managers, hint, hint, hint go Green if you want to survive!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Consumer dollars speak the loudest, I think. The more people become aware of what restaurant employees are experiencing, perhaps the more likely diners will choose to patronize restaurants with humane employment policies.

      And yes, keep typing!

      Delete
  39. During these incredible changes with employees, long term-( loyal employees) Darden bought brand new glasses and glass containers. Glass is breakable and not green. This Fortune 100 company went from smaller glasses to larger glasses and glass containers to house them in dish. They upgraded to a 20 ounce glass, which is breakable.

    Meanwhile, there are numerous companies out there selling high tech plastic cupware that looks good and last, no breakage. Some are double paned and look good and also come in sea or blue colors perfect for a seafood restaurant. Any person for Green can understand this phenomenon. Also, when you run something through the dishwasher which is not high tech either, it is only one plastic full of dishes, why not a high tech dish washer where multiple trays can be added at once, Like floors of an apartment.

    Wood fire grill, how much wood are you going to use? Maybe change to natural gas? Your overhead charges far out weigh, Light bills go up every day. How about proposing Zero Point Energy where all humans and business's benefit, you have enough money Darden to push for this change. Since you own and operate your own restaurants why not change for hydroculture where at least you can grow some tomatoes and lettuce on property, right in your own restaurants, no you can't everyone is sitting back too stupid to realize a true dream,

    ReplyDelete
  40. First off the SAs are not server assistants, they are SERVICE assistants. At the Red Lobster that I work at, they are told pretty much not to help the servers at all and to run 70% of the food and bus tables. The SAs at my Red Lobster barely do that because they're so angry that they are SAs to begin with. I agree that this is low for Dargen, there are SAs that should not be, they're great servers and Red Lobster is going to loss them. Everyone that was a server and now a SA is looking for new jobs to help pay their bills since they're not making what they were. Not to mention it's just rude to downgrade someone who's worked for your company and been loyal for years even with regular guests that come in just for them. It's annoying to tip out 10 dollars for a 4 hour shift when I bussed and ran my food anyway. Adding a fourth table did not increase my tips at all, if anything I'm making the same or a little less. With the four course I don't understand how Dargen expects a server to make a every guest's experience personable when you have a party and three other tables all getting the four course not to mention there is a 10 dollar coupon off now. The past four weekends I've seen servers getting so frustrated and having horrible nights because they are so far behind from getting sat all at the same time...quadruple sat if you will. On a friday and saturday dinner I feel like I don't have any time to talk to my guests, I barely have a chance to catch my breathe sometimes. Overall our GSS has gone down a bit since this new process and we're currently top in our region. BTW good for those of you that can take 6 tables, because all the servers that I work with are overwhelmed with a 7 top and 3 other tables. there's barely any time on a weekend dinner to do running side work, then the managers just want to scream in the kitchen like no one in the dining room can hear them or see that everyone is running around, not like any one is just standing around talking. I'm personally very frustrated with this change. I may not have the years of experience, which could be why I am so stressed out. But I'm a very good server and the ladies that have been there 23 plus years are overwhelmed and need help...which isn't there because SA's only run food and bus, at least at the red lobster I work at.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. At our location, most of the servers are not bussing thier tables at all. Oh yea remove a few plates when they walk by but if they have to pay a SA to bus, they may as well work for thier wages. So as you can guess table turnover is certainly down. Of the 6 SA assigned at our store only one is still remaining. All the others have gotten jobs at other restaurants in our area. I'm sure the "all you can stand shrimp" promo is going to be a big pain you now where.
      For those servers who read this, Im sure you know that your tipped percent does not get counted until the check is closed out. If at night you can hold off closing out your checks until at lease 30 minutes after closing, there is no tip percent because all tipped employees change over to minimum wage at that time.

      Delete
    2. SA's were referred to as "Servers assistants" until the plan was in action and servers had expectations of a "back waiter" or "servers in training" giving them help.. Now that training a server consists of running food and bussing, they are being called service assistants..and we were paying out already at our store for bussers and a table runner, and new hires in training with 2 tables also ran food..I know-I ran myself to death-now we are paying more for the same services, and are "shamed" for taking advantage of it!!With more tables, a 4course feast,and endless shrimp coming..if we cannot have the time to sell the food that costs money-they cant get paid enough..Its not our fault that of course the SA's are over worked like slaves and under paid. The managers do not put enough on the floor to do the job..they did not the first time-as bussers and not now with a new name for them-SAs.It was a gross insult to us all- nobody wants to feel guilty about their one time server friend having to bus tables..

      Delete
  41. "A lot of places that give the servers more tables don't serve biscuits and salads with every meal. Salads which the servers have to make in most locations. We also have to make our own desserts, in addition to the side work which seems to be never-ending. (stock the salad bar, ice, glasses, ice tea, lemonade, sweep the floor, change the trash, fill the salad dressings...) These things need done every hour at least. We are always running out of things at our location. We never seem to have silverware and often have to roll it ourselves in the middle of the rush. The managers stand around and yell at people to do things but they themselves spend most of the shift standing around talking and yelling. Or they hide out in the office. I know there are operational aspects they have to take care of, but I have never in my life seen a management staff so disinclined to do any actual work. Meanwhile, the hostesses have taken to triple and quadruple seating everyone. It's impossible to deliver timely service when you have to be talking to 3 or 4 tables at the exact same time. And People do not like to wait. If you aren't greeting them within minutes of sitting down, they get upset. But you can't greet a table when you're stuck at another table taking an order or answering questions. Or in the back making your damn salads. If this is succeeding at some locations, it's because some of those locations have a good management staff that makes it possible for it to work. Seems most of R.L. management however are severely lackign in management skills. "

    Saw this on another blog, its so true. and now with the 10 coupon off we can all enjoy our water loving with extra lemons people and their four courses. If there is a two top and they both get the four course and water w/ lemon they get that cheaper than if you came in with your discount for the four course

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hate those coupons..I lost one- and had to actually pay 10 dollars for that slip of paper..and no one tips on the actual price..they could at least make them buy a drink-

      Delete
    2. Corporate wants to turn the tables so fast- herd them in and get em out-I mean I wait longer in the drive thru- sometimes I feel like guests are really turned off by it-if they wanted IHOP or Burger King they would have gone there..RL has lost so much of its original class with people..I see it going down the tubes-

      Delete
    3. All of these issues exist in our location as well. Table turnover times (an open ticket to close out)are running over 75 minutes for what use to be 45 minute tickets. We make our own soups, salads, desserts, stock everything (salad bar,ice, glasses). We hand wash crab forks, crackers, and soup spoons to order. We don't have enough salad bowls, so you have to run around looking for dishes to put a salad on. We're expected to greet the guests within one minute, even when we're quadruple sat. We're supposed to ask our partner for help, but they can't even help themselves. The SA's are expected to bus tables and walk food only. I call that a busser, of which all bussers have been eliminated in the "transition" (as my manager refers to the restructuring). I have been with the company over 17 years and am disgusted by the greediness of the corporation. WE ARE NOT WORKING SMARTER, WE'RE WORKING HARDER. Nothing is going to change unless we ban together and make a stand. The only thing corporate is going to listen to are guest complaints of slow service, and low morale, with the threat of a non-return visit. There are aprox 700 Red Lobsters, with about 100 employees per location. That is 70,000 employees working for Red Lobster alone. If there were 8,000 people affected by the demotion to SA, that's a staggering amount of people that were dis-placed. Our co-workers can no longer feed their families, and are driven to desperate measures (including federally funded programs). These people WANT to work, why can't they just have their jobs back. Give them the ability to provide for their families, and have some self-respect. Darden has aprox 180,000 employees total. These are the hard working individuals that made the company successful, coupled with strong marketing campaigns, and quality food. Darden is considered one of the top 100 companies to work for in the US. I'm sure their employees would NOT agree. Especially the hourly employees. Keep posting, and letting people know about this site. Knowledge is power, so be informed. There's power in numbers, so let's ban together. Hang in there, I will too, until I'm "transitioned".

      Delete
  42. Wow, just read the last posts. What I've been able to read and gather sounds like a very horrible unforgiveable nightmare. If you are still employed or unemployed with Red Lobster, encourage your friends, family members and guests to look at this blog. Allow them or direct them here to put their valuable impute. Your imput is very valuable.

    What's happened in the last maybe 10 years or so, new restaurant concepts have evolved, therefore Darden is having a hard time keeping up. You have California Pizza, Panera Bread, Baja Fresh, Chipotle Mexican and the list goes on, and these concepts are taking a huge part of Darden. It's like a food war. This is where the employees get attacked, it's like being in the middle of a battlefield, without blood. Here you have corporations competing for the money, at the expensive of the Heart, the employees.

    This is totally true, When you get too big for your briches, it might be time to get out, or as the last posted mentioned a 10.00 coupon. Now you have to spend millions of dollars, that's right millions of dollars to have a T.V. commercial when some of your own employees barely can get by buying food to survive just to come to work for you. ( Example) I just brought another bag of groceries to help an ex- employee out and her daughter. You see Darden, people like me "get it"

    Word of mouth is the best advertising, not millions of wasted money on T.V. adds. I know for a fact that corporate is looking as these blogs, if they were not they are very stupid, very stupid, I'm sure they are trying to come up with some ideas, to make more money make more money and let us screw the managers and employees at the same time. Look at it this way employees and managers too, we ( no longer there) are truly caught in a battlefield of competion, and who ever wins are you willing to share the wealth, F8899k No!

    My guess is 8,000 employees were affected by this, that's a good number won't you agree corporate? My Dream is to sea food differently Red Lobster down in the sea, the same as Atlantis the lost city that one can never find! And you WILL be there.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I wish that all of the demoted severs could ban together somehow. Its just really crappy what this corporations is doing to people who were dedicated employees for years and years.

      I believe it was a "force out" for people that had insurance and vacation pay. I wish there could be a class action suit against them, or that a large news network would expose it.

      Is there benefit discrimination according to EEOC? Does anyone know how to go about filing for that?

      Delete
    2. Contact the EEOC, google them, and ask them if you have a case and then they should help you fill out the questions.
      And put you on the right path.

      Delete
    3. I think we all would leave for a privately owned restaurant-but lets face it-most all the chains are the same abusers-the economy is bad, and the corporations can stick it to the worker and they are..we can't live on minimum wage and 15-25 dollar an hour jobs are hard to come by anymore- no unions-no factories-no nothing...people will take a lot of abuse to support their families..

      Delete
    4. There is no "benefits discrimination," however, the feds do protect people over the age of 40. Putting all of the comments together, I do hear a theme of "people who have been here a long time" and "people who have worked here long enough to amass benefits." 20 year olds haven't worked anywhere "a long time," so there may be something to the age discrimination claim...? However, I expect a large majority of demoted servers would have to be over 40 to make a viable claim. If a bunch of young people got demoted, as well, then you'd have to reveal what they were targeted for, I think... this is off the top of my head. Will craft a blog post addressing the issue.

      Delete
  43. There was also some news recently about Dolphins turning up dead in some waters, this year and recently. If you haven't read it Darden then you may need to do so. Especially Red Lobster, our oceans are undergoing changes like there is no tomorrow.

    Red Lobster is contributing to overfishing of the seas, for it's own personal gain, I would suggest more fresh food like a salad bar or something. I beleive you are overfishing to the max, yes ok Salmon can be Aquaculture.

    ReplyDelete
  44. Our GM actually brags to new hires that RL takes more food from the ocean than the entire country of Japan every year..

    ReplyDelete
  45. Been checking these blogs daily. I would like thank a number of people because we have been responding in one way or another about about blogs and making comparisons. I responded to yours and you responded to mine. Yet, I know only one person on this blog.

    If you read a blog, where, I wanted to go give 10.00 cash in the parking lot to get people to go eat in other restaurants....Hmmm really now they are offering 10.00 off., Maybe they figured if a Red Lobster x employee can do that, maybe we can too. They must be reading these blogs.

    The more people write/type/Blog the more that Darden is seeing this.

    If it's any comfort, MSN dot com ran a blog today, regarding Red Lobster holding on. Their stock has been down graded, from Neutral to a sell. The overall operating costs far exceeds it's position to go on in an ever changing world.

    Remember this is restaurant wars, and Red Lobster needs changes, to excel. This is 2012, some bad ass serious changes need to take effect. It's imperative.

    Let me please give another example: Manager put a key in the door, opens up, turns on lights and air conditioning, wood in the grill, if no customers come in, that is a huge loss, right off the first hour, The first hour alone is the biggest loss! Time to start liquidating, or make some major changes, but not at the expense of the people who do it for you.

    Truth and face the truth, Red Lobster is overfishing the seas, at an alarming rate that they cannot comprehend.

    To the poster about your GM bragging, your GM is an idiot, with no morals.... RED LOBSTER is overfishing the seas, and this cannot continue, they need to find alternative energy sources, that is the biggest problem and Yes, Darden is facing this problem, find alternative energy sources, put a salad bar in ONe of your restaurants what harm can that do?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think it's a pity that Darden just alienated the people who could have helped them. If each store's manager asked the employees' for their thoughts on improvment, or put out a suggestion box for employees, they might have hit upon some pearls. And if not, they still had nothing to lose.

      Delete
    2. I just got home from a 10 hour shift not counting my 25 min break..I had a note from my doc covering me thru Tuesday because I have a horrible upper respitory infection and am very ill and on my second round of antibiotics after going to the ER Saturday after I relapsed again...you can't get well when you are forced to work sick..and they worked my ASS off today.This is the most horrible company I have EVER in my life worked for. The manager was actually bragging about how she is sick every other month and that SHE NEVER calls in, and looks down on others who do..I guess I know why I'm sick..She is relapsing every other month with infectious disease and too ignorant to take antibiotics-because she is not "a cry baby"..WTF!!!!Today I had so many coupons-everyone holding up their cell phones with facebook coupons for 10 dollars off..all waiting for a managers approval..Yes, as I heard on Lobsterboys blog-Darden HATES its employees...Everything has gone down hill with this new program, and I'm hitting the street tomorrow to find another job...these people are mean, and I believe that stupid people run these places-stupid brainwashed robots. Thank you for being here-I needed to rant about it to some people who care...

      Delete
    3. I also wanted to add that I have been at RL for 8 months and I have seen 23 people quit..and they were not the demoted ones!!

      Delete
    4. Hopefully they are some of the lucking one's and had a job, or the second job that they've been working & are wanted full time, and now they have a better opportunity.
      Or maybe all evil needs is for good people to stand by and do nothing, so they do not want to stay in this sketchy environment.
      I have wrote it before, if we all stick together, one person from each location make a complaint with the EEOC. and then whomever has a case files a claim, and then get a GOOD lawyer, to represent the lot of your location and for your friends at other locations, if they are not too far away them as well.
      But be ready to move on, you will not be able to keep your job, many can't stay under these conditions anyways, and wait. Have all you check stubs, and ongoing training papers, reviews, guests comments, any thing you can think of, put it in a safe place, and have copies, keep the originals with you, and never let anyone keep them, you may never get them back and then you are screwed.
      But its always about the money, the more servers, SA, etc get represented by the lawyers, the more money the lawyers make and the less darden get's to keep! Because they are wrong, so they will have to pay, but the question is how many????
      Save your late bills, your credit card statements, your doctors not releasing you to work when your sick and staple you clock ticket to it as prove, you work or you loose you job, even if you have a note.
      Write down what happens after every shift, keep a diary. Now a days everyone has a blog, but you can still do it with paper in pen, but write it down everyday. but keep it personal. Wait until you have an attorney and let them know, and they will let you know what should be done.
      We need the world to see Dardens review, hear Dardens review, understand Dardens impact on their employees.
      But this means too that all tips must be accounted for if you are tipped in 10.00 or having to add 10.00 for a large party, the managers want to police the clock outs, you have to follow the law. Calm what you make and what you tip out, so if its too low or too get a manager, so you can do the right thing, not the easy thing. Keep those slips when you clock out it tells you what you made and the last screen shows you what your total tip out is....write it down on that slip accordingly, bar 9.25 sa 15.75 large party 15.50, whatever is was, keep that in your diary page.
      And wait. All this will take years, but if you write it all down in your diary, you will have all you experience brought back to you!
      Find a better job, and by the time Darden can't drag it out any further, it will be time for you to pay a bill or have a nice dinner out and it will be them paying for it, for once.
      Let everyone know about your success, and any tips along the way, but write it all down into your diary.
      I am not an attorney, just a stupid waitress. So I hope, I may have shed some light on our problems!

      Delete
  46. Organize a walk off the job on Labor day! Get the word out, just walk off on Labor day, Unhappy employees, corporate greed, Walk off on Labor day, the airlines do it, been there done it, Teachers do it, walk off the job on Labor day, that is very organized put the word out!

    Get the word out now, walk off the job on Labor Day, walk off!

    News " Darden employees walk off the job due to unfair working conditions" CNN The first in History, Walk off on Labor day, Put the word out there and do not be 'Afraid" you have to stand up for your rights as an employee and hard working American.



    "Walk off the job day at Darden" Labor Day! Anyone in?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That would be epic! There may not be enough news vans to go around! It is nice in theory but would be the beginning of the end, because unlike teachers, Red Lobster employees are not protected by unions and will be tossed out quicker than a dead lobster!
      This corporation is " harvesting" us, if they can get credit for us and make them "look" good while doing it then they do! But they will not think twice to throw you away, down size, or whatever BS phrase they use to wrap the crap they are feeding everyone. No matter how pretty the package it's still SHIT!
      Too bad we can't get into Isleworth, and air the CEO's dirty dealings to gain his profits, huge profits, these CEO's need to share the wealth and reward his talent, that's what we do, along with much skill! The same way he rewards himself!
      In stead of compromising ourselves, research the less than moral money men, we would be exposing them without exposing ourselves, and keeping our jobs as long a Darden allows.
      Spinners start spinning. There is no spin as to why one restaurant CEO needs to live in Isleworth, courtesy of us, pay me more for what I do, and spread your bonus around, 500,000,000.00, give use a proper thank you, cut back on tennis and golf, and skip the country club, I'm no accountant however, I think I may have found 10,000.00, but I'm sure the membership fees are more steep, but none the less more found money.
      That's what we need, when someone get's fired, let go, down sized, they should be giving a last wish....doctor bills paid, rent paid, AND new job at a better place.
      I BET THEY DON'T Harvest the food from their great parties, I would be the first in line, these people do not know where to find the pulse let alone what it is, hope all of our hard work helps you enjoy your Isleworth Estate.
      My sign would read, You ask, and make stores to cut, cut, cut, and sick people work sick. What have you cut? When do you work sick, and how many people take care of you?
      The walk out would have no impact because I'm sure they will be out of town enjoying themselves, fueled for hard working employees!
      So let's out them, and show the world what is under Dardens Ocean.
      Does someone know Ellen that would be a huge stage!

      Delete
  47. I propose "National Walk out Day" While this is close to September, and very short notice..This can be done.

    "National Walk out Day" should be a holiday! It means that working Americans are no longer responsive to the "people" who are taking advantage of the working "class" poor for your benefit, even though we have brains can work this out.


    Just Walk out "National Walk Out Day" put the word out NATIONAL WALK OUT DAY!

    ReplyDelete
  48. I'm reading these post n notice that many RL have demoted servers who have been with the company for many years, however here at the RL I work, the SA's here have only been here 6 months to a year, and all under 35. I been with RL for 6 months and been demoted to SA. But what's strange to me is that a person that started with me is still a server who is lazy as hell, and about 3 ppl that started after me are servers and ppl that started after them are SA's. We started off with 9 SA's, now we have only 4 including myself and 2 former bussers. The really screwed up thing is that 2 SA's that started after me are now servers again. Come to find out and not sure if many of you current SA's know this, but anyone that started before April 31st have to do 90 days and anyone that started after that date have to do 4-6 weeks. Yep! I know this is backwards and stupid, but my GM has been on the up and up with me,and even emailed her DM and asked could I do 4 weeks and was told no b/c corporate is pretty much stickin by their golden plan and don't want to show no favortism and believe that this new change is going to work out......HA.! I laughed when I saw this. So far since I became a SA a month ago, our RL has failed to hire anyone in as a SA for the simple fact that this is a stupid position and the pay sucks. How can bussing tables and walking food make someone a better server, when you are technically dealing with the customers and taking orders? Really RL, you corporate dildos couldn't come up with anything else! And I said corporate dildos b/c you all are royally screwing all RL employees.

    ReplyDelete
  49. Right on! Great post! Darden Sux! I hope they are reading!

    Was looking at the posting regarding hand washing fish forks, crab crackers and other items. That is against the law. And washing soup spoons, all of this is against law, Health laws and violate and heavy fines need to be imposed. It so easy, as a matter of fact like 1, 2, 3 to make a call to your nearest Health department and report Red Lobster. You can remain without giving your name and they will report to a valid claim.

    Unless there is a 3 compartment sink and the dishwasher is following the rules, then no server should be allowed to grab a dirty fish fork or soup spoon and wash it themselves, those things rest with the General Manager and not the server. If any server is making those kinds of sacrafices to please the guest, you could actually make a guest very sick and die. While I type this is very very serious, there is a known case back in Illinois where the dishwasher failed to have hot water and cause so much sickness, people where in the hospital fighting for their lives.

    Pick up the phone and report these kinds of things to the health department and if cheese is not on ice, report that too. If the water is shut off for the icecream scoops report that as well and the water for the coleslaw scoops report it. If someone tells you that the soup is cold, report that as well. It is more than likely not in the correct holding temp.

    ReplyDelete
  50. Red Lobster has actually been getting off scott free with this sh876T! If someone is not wearing a hairnet, they are not supposed to wear baseball caps, they are supposed to wear hairnets and gloves. Not baseball caps, repeat, not baseball caps, if you find there is no alley coordinator there, because they are too cheap to pay someone, everytime that food is touched or decorated in the window, requires a glove and hairnet, even if you are the server doing and not get paided the money to do it, happens everyday at lunch time! Call the health department! Make them pay for this crap, been going for years!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. True true true, dirty hands splitting the potato open, pulling rubber bands off of crab legs, forking the lemons, how much cheese do those little tongs hold???????, not much use your dirty hands, that just counted some dirty money or handled some dirty ass silverware, or my favorite..... put your fingers inside the glasses instead of palming them, I think that is the most sickening thing ever. Speaking of ever, herpes are forever! Keep sticking your fingers in those dirty glasses, and the bite your nails or lick your fingers. Super gross!!!!! Oh yeah make sure you cover your mouth when you sneeze!!!!!
      Too cheap to pay for an alley coordinator.

      Delete
  51. Hi again!

    To answer a couple of questions out there for "displaced" employees at Red Lobster. Yes, you may file for partial unemployment, if you had so many hours in a calendar year, and your hours are drastically reduced, you may file for partial unemployment in most states.

    Example: if you were working 36 hours per week and your week as an Sa has been reduced to 19 or 20 hours, you may file for the difference in pay. One such person in our restaurant did that, He filed for partial unemployment and was denied and then Red Lobster gave back his 40 hour work week.

    Yes, to another question, I spoke with EEOC because I am over 40 but also was an "accomodated employee". I chose out of the option because I would just rather move on. Someone from Orlando, corporate, called me after they found out I spoke with EEOC, and that someone from corporate told me I could file for partial unemployment, they said I could be a hostess, and would accommodate with my MS.

    But because nothing was put on paper or a letter, I just said I would move on.

    There are a couple of people though who were very nice and sincere to me, when I had an attack at work, I was given money for a cab to go home, my old manager ( a female) who ask how I was and "Can you come back to work?"


    Those were the days that I do not think would ever come back, but again I moved on. Yes, again you may file for partial unemployment, you may also check with EEOC.

    Also, another employee, who left last year, Just won a lawsuit case regarding, "working of the clock" coming to work on time and not being paid, as scheduled" this is one person who filed alone, without cause or malice and won 2,600.00 in back pay.

    If you reside in South Florida Peter Bober is an attorney for unpaid wages, including working off the clock, mixing job titles with other titles, and specializes in tipped employees, what they can and cannot do by law.

    Just an eye opener.
    .

    ReplyDelete
  52. You as employee, Not sure have up to 3 years to file for unpaid wages.

    ReplyDelete
  53. So I just stumbled upOn this and I am SHOCKED at how many people are in the same place I am. 20. College student with loans. Been with the company 2 years. I got moved to SA soley based on credit cards tips. So they looked at how people tip and demoted me for that. In my town, we're only really busy on weekends and certain times of the year. It isn't unusual to get $2 tips or less here. People are rude. Being an SA is less work in a sense of no side work but it is insanely harder on the body. It is so much less money. I have found out that when I hit $200+ a week, taxes started eating up my hourly paycheck. I should have received $80~ and only got $40. It isn't fair. Some servers are genuine and care, but others don't. I spend so much time helping certain servers get out of the weeds because they can't handle the 4th table and I never even get a thank you. Darden and some mangers alreally are terrible to work for. One manager of mine is terribly verbally abusive and hateful. It's sad when crew are constantly asking who is the manager working the next day because they dread comin in to work with a certain manager. Overall SA was initially a good idea , and may get better. But right now it is falling. Yes I make more than minimum wage, but it isn't worth the stress, serious hurt on my body (I'm seriously losing weight every busy shift I work)

    ReplyDelete
  54. I have been reading this blog, and also Lobster boy's blog religiously. However, it doesn't seem to me that anything positive is happening for the SA's. Can anyone give an update on lawsuits that are being filed?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I certailnly have not heard anything about any lawsuits. It must be a big secret. Seems to be lot of unhappy people serving food, cleaning ables, and making drinks and Red Lobster. But the stock still seems to be going up. So I'm sure corporate is very happy. With endless shrimp on the menu now, the line are longer to get in.

      Delete
  55. I am getting ready to file a complaint with the Dept of Fair Employment and Housing in CA. along with another older server. I think it's maybe taking some time, as with us because we checked with a couple of lawyers first and they weren't much interested. Then I found DFEH. There is also one on the federal level as well. I am persistant and will keep on til there is no other way to go. I am the server in one of the first posts w 15 years. My crewmember is in her 40's w 25 years. They have also let younger transfer in to serve and are promoting another younger SA to server. Hopefully this is their big mistake. Don't know. Will keep you all posted. I can't imagine no one else is consulting atty's or someone.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Please let me know what you find out I have 20 years and I am 45 and was made an SA with no reason why. I think this was my worst moment we had our SA meeting "demotion meeting" and just got my 20years in and was handed my 20 year pin at my demotion meeting. Needles to say I cried.

      Delete
  56. Wow, I've been posting tremedously. First off all thank you for all the correspondence and postings. I just can't fathom being a 15 year loyal employee, when someone tells you, you have to bus tables.

    This is truly sad, with what I have been reading, so sad. I am the poster with the MS.I actually had zero consultations with a lawyer, but I did call EEOC, just to ask them what I should do. I'm also 47, I was told to be SA on June 23rd 2012. I did not take the news badly but I knew I had to move on. I did not recieve benefits. The one and aspect of my job, that I loved more than anything was the people I was waiting on, whether they left me nothing or something. That was the true drive for me to get up everyday of my life and knowing I was going to see a smile or talk to someone different at all walks of life every day.


    I had a "purpose"! I really felt robbed of that. And in the end felt like I just should move on. So....... I did, Did I waste my time? No.

    The reason I say No, is because, I didn't. I contributed, was nice, positive, helped, I still feel robbed and exploited, but I guess my "purpose" was for a reason.

    I moved on because I couldn't feel the need for another hard working American to pick up the bill for tax paying money.

    To be honest in this blog, I have been a server in another restaurant, and have been Honestly getting more than 20 percent on all checks. Example: 25.00 on 79.00 18.00 on 74.00 like real tips, the so called tips that left me in a decision whether I should stay with Red Lobster, and I have to share 2% percent with a busser of Total sales, not my tips. There is a bar, but we are our own bartendars, we do our own drinks at the bar.

    So there is happiness out there for you. I know it's hard when someone is "displaced" and you have years and years and years and years of service. I wish everyone out there the best, Keep your head high and please know that someone with years of experience can certainly use your talents.

    Darden has changed, Darden cannot survive unless they go green.

    My prayer is to wish all Red Lobster employees the best that life has to offer them!

    ReplyDelete
  57. May I "suggest" a couple of things. If you are being "displaced" at Red Lobster. Can you rely on family/friends, Church Ministers, and Temples to get you though this time?


    May I suggest, asking for help? Do not be afraid, if you need money, food, and others to help you, cling together as a community.

    There are many that can help. I was not afraid and had my rent paid through the kindness of friends and food delivered to my home. I was helped and you can be too!

    ReplyDelete
  58. If Darden can afford to pay the CEO bank, and pay cash for yard house, to the tune of millions, then they must be held accountable for the earth shattering damage they have caused!
    So if every Red Lobster employee got a little bit of money that would serve them right.
    The only way to hold people accountable is to make them pay, and everyone should stand up for themselves, yes you can move on, and if you have another job and are happy, get more happy and get reimbursed for new uniforms, short loss of income.
    There is no doubt that they are guilty as sin, and they are counting and hedging their bets, that the fall out is worth the risk.
    So show them that they are wrong, and make them PAY.
    If the fall out is great, the world will know, and they will not be as free to victimize their staff, for the gain of their profits, and tee times at their country clubs!
    Doesn't everyone know the CEO lives in the same neighborhood as Tiger Woods, hello....... did he ever work endless shrimp, which by the way is 3 months long, plus they did the 4 course meal and rolled right into endless!
    They suck.
    They know it.
    They are betting, they will win.
    Are they right?

    ReplyDelete
  59. You make them pay by walking off the job, some of "us" can sacrafice, if everyone walked off the job on Labor DAy, I am still proposing "Walk off the Job" Labor Day, this might be minute,

    "WALK OFF THE DAY ON LABOR DAY" WE AS AMERICANS ARE SICK OF THE WORK FORCE.

    Walk off the job on Labor day!


    "National walk off day'

    ReplyDelete
  60. They don't care, they will replace every single one of you like you were never there. That is the way Darden operates.

    ReplyDelete


  61. More than likely a small crew will be scheduled to work on Labor Day and a walk-out by those employees who did not show up for work would not have any effect on Darden Corporation, other than hiring new employees to replace the employees who were fired for participating in the Labor Day walk-out.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. you are right. Th other employees would have to show up with picket signs and sign a manifesto saying they would not return if any "walkers" were fired. It has to a team act..

      Delete
    2. And if any location successfully pulls off a team act, that just may be the beginnings of a union... Also, retaliation can happen down the line, so keep a journal or take notes of your job performance and treatment after.

      It would be an empowering experience, at the very least.

      Delete
    3. This is complex and will in tale coordination, which most servers have, however there will be set up (chairs, or sitting on coolers, coolers filled with ice and drinks like gator aid, water and juice boxes, snacks with protein like peanuts or peanut butter, string cheese or baby bell cheese. Simple and safe, umbrellas for the sun or rain.
      Signage, signage, and more signage. ( get a rolling suit case and lay them in there or a rolling cart, because if you attach posts to them with zip ties you could hammer them at in angle into the ground then walk around with the rest.
      People need to make the signs loud and clean no small writing, and may wish to bring a bull horn.
      Then the more people that are there the better, but you need to have time blocks, and coverage that way people can leave after they complete there time block, or some people may wish to stay all day.
      All stores get hit at different, but night time would have more impact in most stores.

      Have a few people video from set up to break down, so you have proof of your kindness.

      However the more people who participate will be the determining factor of success or not.

      Much hope any one that does this has success or another job that may want them full time.

      Maybe Mr. Otis needs a maid, pool boy, lawn service, a caddy or golf pro, massage person, or some other domestic help for all those "displaced" employees.

      But I doubt it.....maybe they should do right by us, and treat us like people. AND PAY US IF WE WORK MORE THAN ONE JOB CODE, AND ADD GRATUITY AT 6 PEOPLE NOT 8.

      BEST OF LUCK I HOPE IT HAPPENS AT MY STORE.

      Delete
  62. You want to make a difference? Of course it will affect Darden. Walk off the job, show up, But I am trying to get the word out there for unhappy employees,

    Make a stand, Go to work that day, and walk off, go home, say nothing, from reading the blogs, WALK OFF ON LABOR DAY, OF COURSE IT WILL HAVE EFFECT.

    They all ready demoted like 8,000 plus employees, and you are telling me that by 'Walking off the job" National Walk off day, that it does not effect Darden, and that they have 8,000 more employees waiting to take tables?

    I strongly believe and to believe youself, because you have talent, NATIONAL WALK OFF THE JOB DAY, WALK OFF THE JOB AND MAKE A STATEMENT.



    "NATIONAL WALK OFF DAY" lABOR DAY!

    ReplyDelete
  63. Martin Luther King took a risk, at risk that has paid off, not money wise, but vision wise.

    There is so much corporate greed, but at the expense, of hard working, Back breaking americans,. I never found one incident where Darden went to a home and gave a full bag of groceries, never. I never read it on Dish,

    ReplyDelete
  64. Would anyone care to "chime" in on Endless Shrimp? Use this blog, because this blog is great.

    Don't be afraid, you have the right as an American to voice your opinion here. You can leave without leaving your name. There are many positives as there are negatives with endless shrimp.

    Being in Hospitality it is always great to meet others.

    However, shrimp is not good for you, for your body. It is one of the most nasty foods to eat, full of cholesteral, "meaning Heart disease" On the other hand, Lobster is good for you, but who can afford it, no one.

    Ok, I was hoping to hear about endless shrimp and I hope all my fellow x-co-workers are doing well. Just let us know how it is going and of course, I wish you all the best!

    ReplyDelete
  65. I want to thank the the poster about the Tiger Woods neighborhood, you brought me to tears. Big tears.

    ReplyDelete
  66. There are a ton of good and quality articles out there for your reading. Itsmyocean.org is a great website to read about shrimp, which is no good. It is not a healthy food choice.

    Any fish with gills, would be a healthy choice. Since shrimp can be harvested in Tons, this is great for money. But not good for you, trust me if you are working Endless Shrimp I feel for you, did it, been there done!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

    ReplyDelete
  67. I was reading about the blog from the terribly ABUSIVE manager, give me the phone number, rest assurred he will be gone, if that is true?

    You have rights as a male or female, Just stand up.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. forget the abusive manager- another server has been attacked- this time a glass thrown at the back of the servers head-black women on a white woman server -again. I'm getting out.

      Delete
    2. If they went to jail and had to pay for loss of work and medical, even if it meant garnishing their well fair checks or pay checks it may be different.
      These people suck, and so does the management for not backing up their staff.
      Well if ANONYMOUS can fix the abusive manager, then why doesn't ANONYMOUS fix all the wrongs.

      Delete
  68. There needs to be a clear clase of what is happening in your restaurant. I can't fix all wrong things. And I'm not trying to, however reading your words, needs some intervention.

    Not one person should be allowed to work in a Hostile environment, you actually have a case or lawsuit, if you are continually working in a Hostile environment.

    You, as a person can correct this: Either you allow it, or do not allow it, it is cut and dry. There are laws in place( Darden breaks them all the time). Restaurants actually have "laws" it their choice to follow them or break them everyday all day long, Just like cars in a speeding trap. Everything, and everyone IS accountable that is THE LAW OF NATURE'


    Since this on the Hurricane, may I please pray for the people again, for Louisana, wow, I will leave hear to express another blog.

    ReplyDelete
  69. I find it very interesting that the "Chimp" (LOVE THAT!!) that implemented the SA system was forced to resign with a couple of weeks that it was put into effect. We were told that at my location by our managers.

    And I would like to personally thank DG, not only for offering a $10 off coupon during our low class promotion known as the 4 Course Feast but also for extending it's run all the way to the beginning if it's other (and most famous) low class promotion, Endless Shrimp. No better way to build moral then by making sure the cheap masses come in in droves all while taking away staff members and forcing the ones that are left behind to take on more work with less help and not even give them a break in between extremely busy and stressful promotions. And don't forget take MORE money out of OUR pockets so that you can line your's even more. All while making sure to get GSS up, am I right??? And at my location, as soon as renovations are complete they will also be dropping more $10 coupons so people will get Endless Shrimp for $9.99 a person. For all those not paying attention, that will be comparable if not CHEAPER then super-sizing a meal from a fast food chain depending on which one you go to. BS. Way to stay classy and upscale, DG.

    My heart goes out to the people that didn't deserve to be DEMOTED to SA's; to the one's that stood up for themselves and left, GOOD FOR YOU!! And the one's that stayed, thank you and we appreciate what you do.

    ReplyDelete
  70. Hi everyone,

    You have to look at economics and demographics. And you have to see what the average family is looking for when deciding to dine out. ( let me sideline a little bit) My grandmother was an Economics Profresor in Hungary and Ran a College and was Head Dean.

    You have to understand and have to have complete understanding of what bottom line is( profit) means. With that in mind it grows year after year like a crop. That means we are going to profit 8% percent this year but then we are going for 12% next year. Even 3% profit would not be enough, so when you are making a scale or profit margin, and even though you exceed the projection, and 1% or 2% Percent is not enough.

    Why is the profit important? It is, actually it is. But not to the point where you "personally" take it out on the employees.


    I truly beleive that Darden Restaurants "personally" attacked the employees in a bad economy, with force, and with Malice on their hands. Someone like me, and I hope others, prayers are so important.

    I just picked up and left, Please I am more than happy to reiterate, darden found a downfall, FIRED ABOUT 8,OOO SERVERS, That is is Truth.


    UHHH um,Here is my bottom and I hope some idiot is reading....It is called are you reading you morons? Zero Point Energy Techology, which would reduce overhead? Hello? I would assume a Fortune 100 company would have this knowledge, We need change, we cannot rely on the current energy now, this would reduce your overhead and bring 8,000 employees back, and customers to buy and dine and make a profit for Darden International.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. People are reading this post every day; I get plenty of hits on it daily. It is currently one of the most popular. Don't know that Darden senior managers or higher are reading it... but rest assured there are people paying attention.

      Got a great "Ask the Waitress" question regarding some of this stuff and am working on it for my next post.

      Delete
  71. forget draden i was a busser and they got rid of bussers for SA's, and more than half of what the SA's do is bus but they do a worse job because they do not have time the whole new system suck, and so does endless shrip we should get rid of that promotion because it drives everybody so crazy, and we all give worse service.

    ReplyDelete
  72. After 6 years and many acknowledgements for my great service and teamwork, I too was demoted. No reason, no course of action, only a solemn statement from my general manager that the corporation feels I would best suit them as a service assistant. I went from taking home $400-$600 to taking home zero dollars a week. Let me reiterate that. I am paid $10 an hour gross but my net is ZERO DOLLARS A WEEK. They will not let me cancel the insurance I signed up for as a server at $68 dollars a week. The rest of my check goes to the taxes that my server pay did not cover. So for the last 6 weeks I have not made a dollar, take home, from Darden. On top of this, the servers at my restaurant were, as far as I was told, forced to sign an affidavit saying they WOULD NOT TIP THE SERVICE ASSISTANTS. Now I know there are managers at my restaurant fighting to get me back on the floor, and I love my coworkers. These are the only reasons I've stayed. But its getting tiring waiting to hear any word, anything, about my reevaluation.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is ridiculous and that manager is mislead. Servers can tip extra which is why an SA would need a manager to over ride the tips he/she made if tipped extra.

      Delete
    2. Go to your local unemployment office you can collect the difference trust many are and Darden won't fight because they cannot. Many servers who were demoted are collecting the money they lost in wages when Darden came out with this outrageous way of getting rid of it longtime employees. Make them pay.

      Delete
  73. I have empathy for you. Sounds like working conditions, are just not overall satisfactory. Satisfaction is the key along with hard work.

    FYI there is also a youtube video, an interview with Cramer from the stock channel regarding Darden's bottom line, their vision and how it works. Got about 20 hits so far and was posted in March.

    It won't bring back the displaced loyal employees, but gives one an extension and understanding of bottom line, and employee cuts.


    Good luck again to all displaced employees. Happy Labor Day!

    ReplyDelete
  74. I also was made a service assistant after 20 years it was very difficult with no explanation why. I fell so betrayed and hurt.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. the same thing happened to me, i am devastated, i am doing the sa thing but feel awful when guests ask what am doing? I just cannot bring myself to tell them. I would say that I am making 1/16th of what i did before, and them watch people that you know you are struggling and will never get the 4 table thing is awful, i am doing things for there tables that they don't even know that i did, i think the cuts could have been made in a different manor and they would have gotten everyone they wanted to rid the company of. They're were some mistakes made.

      Delete
    2. I had 18 years when they did it to me. Their explanation of course was the test score. I too feel betrayed and hurt because I busted my hump for them for so long and bought into all their bullshit about integrity. Really- how could they do that to their loyal employees.

      Delete
  75. Jay Gee - you should not have to work for nothing. You can collect partial unemployment for your state. Check it out. I'm doing it as I'm sure a lot of others are as well.Also a demoted server is not eligible for reinstatement for 3 months, no matter how hard they are "fighting." I don't know how your restaurant can tell people not to tip SA's. They do at mine. Maybe a call to corporate will refresh their memories. Good luck.

    ReplyDelete
  76. At the Red Lobster I work at we do tip the Server Assistants. This is automatically taken out when we cash out at the end of our shift. Now, if management is trying to enforce that servers are not allowed to tip our SA's extra, they cannot do this. It is our money and we can tip extra if we choose to do so.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If I have a good enough night, and an SA has helped me over the top serving a big party or something I do share some of the tip with them, but honestly, if I tipped out all the SA's on top of what I'm tipping out now at the higher rate- I just could not do it. I'm a server trying to feed my kid-if you tip one you must tip them all or they hate you..it really hurt us when the tip out went up, now many of us cannot go even higher..I hate to leave but I just am feeling crappy about the whole thing now.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous, Darden WANTS you to feel crappy about it, they want you to feel guilty, and they want you to feel responsible for compensating other employees. It is the responsibility of the employer to pay employees. It is not your responsibility to pay other employees; you are there to make money just like they are. It is your responsibility to feed your child. Darden has the resources to pay people a decent wage, they just don't want to. They want you to feel obligated to do it for them. Does that make sense? No. If you have no other way of accessing how much money other positions make, look at what managers and higher-ups drive.

      Delete
  77. Hello everyone,

    Please feel free to use this blog.

    One of the greatest words as a corporation that Darden insist's upon is DIGNITY. Well, for me, I think that word is long lost.

    I want to express myself for others with an an open letter:


    To Whom it may concern:
    Orlando, Headquarters, CEO and others running this corporation.

    Red Lobster has been a brand name restaurant with loyal guests. The majority of the employees ( low waged, based minimum waged employees) are really, truly facing financial hardship and crisis. While no one condones the practice of free enterprise, However you are a Fortune 100 company or you are a true Enron, totally bankrupt,

    at The United States Debt, I would not be surprised you too will go out overnight, The whole country is in debt, There is no money coming into your restaurants,, it's all credit cards that no one can pay anymore.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree with 100%. The Roman Empire fell and it was quite a bit larger than Darden. I'm positive that 10 years from now they won't be even close to being the number one Seafood place. They have managed to create such an unhappy work place that it will reflect on it's business.

      Delete
  78. I've finally reached the breaking point after reading all of this. I just today went in to Red Lobster and gave my notice. I was hired back in June 2012 as a Server Assistant with the understanding that I would start Server Training within 3-4 weeks. It ended up taking about 2 months of busting my ass and then finally started the training. The Trainer...???? if you want to call her that was so unprofessional and went ot of her way to try to make me look bad. I stuck it out(she only covered the book)and I was then doing follows.
    The servers I followed were great but being as busy as they always are couldn't possibly over everything I needed to know. I did follows for a few shifts and then I had the Manager Serve which went fine. I was given 2 tables that night and all went great. Same for the next day. The third day I was given 3 tables and all 3 were seated right away. I then got sat at a fourth. All went great except for one table of 3. Two of them ordered drinks from the bar which I ordered and went to pick up. Upon returning I gave them their drinks and said I would return with bread. Upon returning with the bread they asked for another round of bar drinks and I took their dinner order. I went back to the bar to get the drinks, brought them back and was asked "Where's our salads?" I told them I just entered the order and would get them now. As I was making their salads in the back they had called over the Manager and told her they never ordered the other drinks. The manager came to the back, grabbed my bowls of salad and dumped them in the garbage. I asked what was wrong and got no responce. except that I was cut and had only been on the floor maybe 45 minutes. When their food came out and the manager brought it out to them they said the order was all wrong. I have been a server for over 20 years and yes sometimes you do make mistakes but these girls were playing me and every other server knew it, except the manager. The manager then told me to close out my other tables and see her in the office where I was told I couldn't serve anymore and if I was on drugs. I told her if I made enough money here I'd run across the street to Walgreens and buy a Drug Test. She had no right to do what she did and absolutely no right to accuse me of taking drugs. I was told I could stay on and SA or could leave. I needed the money so I agreed to stay on. All these things that are being said about Darden are true. I have worked doubles as a SA and have been lucky to see $50-$60 the next day for my tip out. Do a little math and see if I worked 12 hours at $4.65 an hour and got tipped out, say, $55.00(I'm being generous here. I wasn't paid minimum wage. I worked my ass off for them and all for nothing.

    ReplyDelete
  79. Want to suggest you log on to the Orlando Sentinel and read the article on Sept 18 titled "WORKERS GRILL DARDENS CEO AT SHAREHOLDERS MEETING". It's a great story about how Dardens CEO Clarence Otis completely ignores the employees of his own company and refuses to meet with them and listen to their totally legitimate complaints. Why are you avoiding us Mr Otis afraid of the truth? I wonder how he can sleep at night knowing he took money out of the pockets of hard working employees who have given years of devoted service!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lol! Already written -- I swear, I finished the post (will go live after midnight, so it will be dated 9/19) then logged into email and saw your comment. :-D Thank you for the heads-up!

      Delete
    2. On second thought, two posts on the same day won't kill me. Post re: shareholders meeting is live -- thanks again.

      Delete
  80. Hello Bloggers,

    Been wanting to find out how some of our x co-workers and or co-workers that have remained at Red Lobster during this turmoil.

    Some of you have called me and I met with some of you again while out on errands. There were quite a number of you that left with myself. I've heard ( true) heard from many sources, that most of the managers too were fired! Another great practice at Darden. It's to the point where the lawsuits kicked in, I guess Darden's mentality was let's get rid of the managers so they don't have to go to court under oathe. Shame again on Darden.

    Was actually driving by my old stomping ground and was in shock, the restaurant was empty in the back! That's right empty seats, at dinner time, which normally would have been full. They used to be over capacity in seating, not so much these days.

    If you do a google now for "yardhouse" they are begging for help. Advertisements up the yang yang. People must have left there as well.

    I hope all my fellow Red Lobster persons had a wonderful Thanksgiving, and again, best of luck to everyone still around.

    ReplyDelete
  81. #1 I've been a server for 10 years with Darden... Are the cheap? YES. Does the entire company suck and need to be sued? NO! I had to take this personality test when I first got hired. It's to make sure you have the appropriate personality type to serve guests and deal with different fast pace situations. Serving IS NOT FOR EVERYONE! I know that in our state a person can be fired for no reason, so basically if you suck at your job the managers do not need a reason to fire you. As far as demoted... I have never ever heard of that in the 10 years I've worked for the company. Maybe you guys just really do suck and your managers lied to you and told you that so they could demote you themselves! And for all you SA's out there... Your job is not that difficult, that's why you don't make the big bucks. It's not rocket science to bus a table and clean a bathroom! If the servers do their job properly the tables should be prebused, you as an SA should never have to fill drinks, run food, sweep etc! End rant...

    ReplyDelete
  82. You can find the personality test on the web site of any Darden restaurant. You have to take the test before you can submit an application.

    ReplyDelete
  83. I work at a RED LOBSTER 4 about 4 months now and Im an SA/DISH WASHER/slvr roler mainly an sa and dish though but I cant drop da thought dat it pay good sum times but still. Need to get more hrs cause it kinda strange wen ppl get told to get off da cloc and people been working there before others have this is not right like all this person get to get off the clock when I been here at least 2 hours before the person was on da cloc and dey get cut b4 me but I don't understand why people getting cught in the first place if the place is still very busy everybody needs to stay on intel the restraunt slows down

    ReplyDelete

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