UnderCover Waitress: Darden Salaries and Wages

Friday, September 14, 2012

Darden Salaries and Wages

The following comment on Dirt on Darden got under my skin. My sympathies, of course, are with the anonymous waitress who wrote the comment:

"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."

This is my response in the comment thread:

"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."

I am so tired of corporate and managers at various businesses that employ low-wage laborers (not just restaurants) extracting a sick combination of loyalty and guilt from workers in order to save money. It is worse (in my opinion) in restaurants because managers essentially sick waitresses and other FOH staff against each other by making waitresses responsible for paying other employees. Everybody starts fighting about the tip outs and forgets who is truly responsible for worker pay.

I have been on the fight from both sides: waitress and hostess. As a low-paid hostess, I depended on the tip out to supplement my little-over minimum wage, hourly pay. Of course, I got angry when people tried to pay less than policy dictated. As a waitress, some restaurant tip out policies are so high that you feel like your blood is being siphoned at the end of the shift.

While battling over tips, everybody loses sight of who is really responsible for paying restaurant staff, and the resources that are available with which to pay people. So I visited the Glass Door website and poked around looking at various Darden careers and their salaries.

People at the top are certainly making six-figure salaries.

The Executive Vice President of Operations is making about $240,000 annually in salary alone.

Directors average $137,000 per year.

Brand Managers pull in about $100,000 per year.
Associate Brand Managers only make $80,000 per year.

Accounting Supervisors make about $70,000.
Employee Relations Managers also make about $70,000.

Assistant Managing Partners: $65,000.
Analysts: $60,000.

Executive Assistants: $50,000.
General Managers: $50,000.
Kitchen Managers: $50,000.
Assistant Managers: $30,000 to $50,000 annually.

Sales Managers at least $40,000 per year, but
Sous Chefs may make less than $30,000 per year.
It seems that Darden values it's salespeople more than it's cooks. Good food, however, sells itself.

BOH Employees in general: $8 to $10 per hour.
Host / Hostess: $8 to $10 per hour.
Bartender: $2 to $15 per hour; I am sure that it depends upon the state and the $15 may include tips.
Busser: $11,000 annually.

Some of you are probably screaming about how expensive it is to run a restaurant. Yes, it is. The profit margins for restaurants are lower than other retail businesses because the product cannot be stored forever; food goes bad.

And most people don't go into the shoe store hoping for free shoes. "Hey! I tried on these shoes and they hurt my toes! I want to take them home but not pay for them." What?!? That's like the people who complain about the food but still want you to pack it up for them. Some of them have the audacity to claim it is for their dog. (Too cheap to buy dog food?)

But I digress. There are two main points to this blog post: 1) I think it is safe to assume that Darden can afford to pay workers a little better than they are paying them now. It would mean shaving the top off of some of the six-figure salaries. 2) Business owners and those who make decisions regarding salaries and wages have a responsibility to pay workers a living wage. There is no excuse for waiting around for the government to raise the minimum by another 25 cents. When your employer pleads poverty, look at what he drives.


  1. I've said it before... the place comes across like promoting indentured servitude.

    1. Oh I thought it was the SERVICE industry..Genius We all serve others to make money. That's why we don't do it for kicks. Some places make more than others. We always have a choice. We can leave or work hard to move up like most of us do. The ones that don't are your seasoned vets that do what ever it takes to make that great tip, or get that next raise. DARDEN GIVES Hourly employees raises every 6 months and pays every week. Think about that, because MORE THAN MOST DONT!

  2. I work for a DARDEN concept. Our servers make great pay. I know because I interview people everyday that make less. Bartenders make a lot more than $ 15 an hour. Schedules are flexible, and management is held accountable to treat there employees right. DARDEN was voted TOO 100 COMPANIES TO WORK FOR. We are growing and need managers. We are constantly pushed to developed our staff, no help them reach their financial dreams... Trust me when I say their is more than enough room to go around. I came from an hourly position. Many directors, Vice Presidents, and Red Lobsters President worked from the ground up. This country was built on hard work, and it hurts that you talk bad about a company that has shown me there are restaurants out there that care. I know MANY servers that clear 500 to 700 a week working 30 to 40 an hour. HOW MANY JOBS PAY THAT? Know your numbers before you attack. I wish no harm on you, but I want you to remember how unfair you are to others by your comments, when you cry life is unfair..KARMA

  3. BTW DARDEN PAYS WELL ABOVE MIN WAGE! A server position is what you make of it. Bad service, bad tips. It's not for everyone. If you don't agree with me leave a great tip for your server next time you receive bad service. I'm sure you can shave a little extra off your hard earned money to make it happen. LIFE IS WHAT YOU MAKE IT.


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