UnderCover Waitress: Darden Foundation 2012 Report

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Darden Foundation 2012 Report

The Darden Foundation 2012 report, Ready and Willing to Serve, was released today. You may read the entire report at http://www.dardenfoundation.com/

CEO Clarence Otis puts a good face on everything in his executive report:

"With 180,000 employees, 2,000 restaurants and a culture that is based on caring for and responding to people, Darden works to bring a spirit of service to life every day in our restaurants and communities through our philanthropic support of charitable organizations across the country and by the volunteer involvement of our employees."

I do not wish to fault Darden Restaurants for participating in philanthropic work. Darden Foundation's three main focus areas include:

* Access to Postsecondary Education, in which disadvantaged youth are given tools to help them achieve and attend college;

* Preservation of Natural Resources, which includes preservation of parks and trails; and

* Good Neighbor, in which Darden donates unused food to food banks, schools, and communities. Other restaurants throw good, edible food away.

Attention, employees! We need to fire some of you
and ask the rest to give more of your pay to our
charitable causes.
Then, we will take credit for giving to charity.
What bag behind me? 
What the shareholders and the public need to remember when "feel good" and "warm and fuzzy" stories are published touting Darden Foundation's philanthropy is where the profits that are put toward charity come from. Percentages of profits should go to charitable causes, but those profits should come from making sales and paying corporate employees less extravagant compensation packages. Telling a waitress that her pay is slashed by half only ensures that she will need to become a recipient of Darden's donation to the food shelf. So, what next? Darden gets a pat on the back for letting workers eat for free (at the food shelf?)

If you want to build a better society, require that the rich put a portion of their wealth back into the pot to pay for social services. It makes no sense to rob from the poor to give to the poor.


I can't resist pointing out how the wealth of the Darden elite and how they treat their employees mirrors how the extremely wealthy in this country often treat the disadvantaged and the poor. When I hear the middle and upper classes scream about how the poor don't pay enough in taxes, I feel like I just fell down the rabbit hole. We have multi-millionaires who pay small percentages of their income in taxes because investment income is taxed at a different rate (among other problems.) The middle class is blind to this. Instead, they groan and moan about how they aren't able to get food stamps like poor people, as if the poor have it easy with all the "hand-outs." You want a fair system? Then tax people fairly, and make the rich pay up.


  1. Clarence Otis is, to borrow an English affectation, a complete wanker.

    Unfortunately we're living in a time when politically speaking, half the spectrum of politics views the word progressive as the most obscene word in the English language, and they'll do whatever it takes to continue to drive down the standard of living in the name of profits for their tax dodging corporate friends. It's become very, very discouraging.

    1. It is discouraging, and (as you know) it has absolutely nothing to do with the ideal of small government. If Romney/Ryan win in November, I wonder how many countries' economies will crash in four years...?

  2. This is such a great blog, does open a can of worms, I like what I've read. I'm 100 Percent for the charity route, philantropic work and as a former we are pretty much informed of this, it's posted on the walls.

    The only reason why corporations give to charity's is because it is a huge tax write off, that is the only incentive to give. Question? Why give millions away when you don't have too?

    You can't write off volunteering. I did this work for 2 years gladly twice a week and I do put it on my resume. So I wonder when the big wigs at Darden are actually going to go out get dirty and volunteer, that's right, help someone paint their house in the neighborhood, deliver a new air conditioner to someone who served our country, knock on doors in Orlando and see if someone really needs some food, all you have to do is look at citylink data for Orlando and it will say medium income quite low.

    I can do a better job just fixing peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and giving it to the neediest the HUNGRY, without a tax write off.

    Oh and here is a good one, when I was serving at Red Lobster ( no longer feel afraid to type that) Red Lobster was taking up a cash collection for other employees who were affected by a Tornado, it listed names and what they lost, roof on their house, their car, damages to property, I contribed cash only for the deaths and burials of relatives without a tax write off.

    But I asked another employee, Why are they collecting cash from us, when I don't own a home nor a car? Isn't that where home owners insurance or car insurance comes in? I'm assuming that Darden Restaurants did not help their own employees after a Tornado.


  3. Please google foundations and trusts, they are usually tax write offs. It's legal and it's ok, as long if you are really using it for real purposes, to help others in need, anyone can apply for a charity at I think it's 501c, it's been 15 years or more since I looked it up.


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