UnderCover Waitress: Anonymous Tip

Monday, October 15, 2012

Anonymous Tip

Got a note regarding Darden this morning.

It seems that in at least one location in California, Darden has dropped a waiting period for new hires to become servers. In other words, new hires could not work as servers right away, but had to work as an SA first. Now that so many older, more expensive workers have left the restaurant, new hires do NOT have to work as service assistants first, but may begin their employment with Darden as waiters and waitresses.

I am wondering how many Darden restaurants are quietly dropping an existing "work as an SA before you work as a server" requirement now that the older and more expensive employees have been disposed of, for the most part. Remember, Darden is doing all sorts of things to save money for corporate on the backs of low wage workers, without whom the business would not exist:

  • Darden gave a personality test to weed out "undesirables," which seems to be defined as older workers, among other things. 
  • Darden cut the pay of workers that they did not demote. 
  • Darden enforced new tip out policies to "make up" for the lost pay of employees, such as bartenders, whose pay was cut. Not only did the tip outs not make up for lost pay, but it is evil to expect low wage workers who lack power to pay other employees. Employers pay employees. 
  • Darden changed it's policy in order to keep less wait staff on the floor by giving servers an additional table. 
  • The general consensus from underpaid SA's is that they are grossly overworked. This is likely in order to avoid paying more of them at any one time. 
  • Darden is cutting worker hours to avoid offering health insurance to workers in 2014. 

While, to the best of my knowledge, there is nothing illegal about adopting new policies, changing policies, and being a royal pain in the ass to work for, this pattern smells bad. It seems that Darden got rid of expensive employees by adopting a new policy, then dropped that new policy in order to attract new, young, inexpensive employees.

This place feels slimy.

Anyone else with observations of the ever-changing policies at Darden Restaurants, please let me know. Thanks!    


  1. That's not the whole story. That requirement has only been dropped for new hires who have 2+ years of experience serving. New hires with less than 2 years' experience MUST do the mandatory SA stint for 90 days.

    I think they realized they fucked up and as a result, many stores (including mine) have been severely understaffed since this new serving system went into effect. We've been so understaffed that half the staff is going into overtime, big time. I'm talking 20 hours a week in overtime, in every job from server to line cook to food prep. In order to try to ease our pains they've made it possible for new servers to come in WITHOUT doing the stupid SA shit, which you shouldn't have to do if you've served before anyway. I think they realized they're driving away more experienced staff by requiring them to work the shitty SA job. And yes, it is shitty. I was scheduled as an SA last week (because, guess what, we're shorthanded!) and the only reason I made ANY money was 1) we were packed on a Monday night and 2) I didn't have to share my $30 with the other SA because she was in training. Otherwise I'd be making about $4/hr plus the $15 bucks I would have had after splitting the tip-out...and that was on a night where some servers made $100. In other words, a ballin' shift.

    Sorry, I'll step down from my soapbox. I need to before I explode. What I'm saying is, why would an experienced server EVER want to spend three months as an SA when they could go literally anywhere else and start making money immediately?

    Yes, they're pulling all this shit so that servers shoulder the burden of making income for other workers, but the new SA policy change? It's because they're getting royally screwed with the understaffing problem. Understaffed stores can't give great service, corporate gets guest complaints, so they (three months later) "fix" the problem.

    (Still can't comment using my WordPress account. Sad.)

    1. Awesome, thank you for commenting! Seems especially ironic that people are going into overtime in a restaurant that is trying to force people to work less than 30 hours per week.

      I don't know why the WP creds are not working; sorry for the inconvenience. Don't know if it is something I control or what happened...

    2. The whole thing continues to be a train wreck. In the restaurant where I work, the demoted server has to wait 3 months and "earn" being a server again. New hires only wait 6 Weeks. And now another switch. Sounds and looks like desperation to me. Dard en has made a huge mistake that will cost them for a long time.

  2. It appears I was mistaken about the wait time for new servers; anonymous is correct about 6 weeks, but a 3 month period for demoted servers.

    1. So long-term employees are treated worse than new hires. At this point, I probably shouldn't be surprised, it fits the pattern of getting rid of older, more expensive workers in favor of new workers who don't expect as much.

  3. As a devoted 24 year former employee of Red Lobster I could see when I left what Darden was up to. My pay was cut from $12.40 an hour to $5.00 an hour. It is obvious they were aiming at getting rid of higher paid long term people and also cutting hours to avoid paying health insurance. It's disgusting that they have a CEO Clarence Otis who makes millions of dollars by digging into the pockets of the hard working employees. How does this man sleep at night? Remember what goes around comes around. Darden won't stay on top for long because evil never prevails! I refused to work one minute for $5.00 an hour after receiving merit raises for excellent service. I don't regret leaving I would rather stand in a bread line than work for these horrible greedy monsters. Keep this blog going people deserve the truth.

  4. It's disgusting, that's all I can say....

  5. You've been jacked.

  6. Good Evening Folks,

    XDeadLobster employee posting again, and agreeing. Unless you reside in a rural area, I can't imagine why anyone would want to stay there for the crap they are dishing out to the employees. Remember there is job protection if you are over 40 who went through this crap. When does it become a "benefit" when you have to buy your own insurance? Which most people will if they make enough for the premiums. I elected zero benefits, because I found it not to be beneficial, does that make sense?

    Insurance will become mandatory therefore not a "benefit". I refuse to patronize Darden Restaurants due to the unlack of Dignity that it states, no such thing, non existent. A gross company, overfishing the seas, too Big for itself, wants more and more, and more and more means "we'll never be happy", unfocused, lost touch with reality, no pay raises, no incentives, cuts hours to needy people, steps on older citizens working for them, bad service, sucks. Lousy and Lazy on a Corporate company, no ideas, goes backward instead of forward, nothing inovative, doesn't stand out, factory mentality, Micromanagement, very micromangement, not a good thing.

  7. Let me make this perfectly clear, there is no such thing as an SA, at RED LOBSTER, "They may call it that", no such job exists there, because, they need someone during peak times to clean tables, therefore a busperson, they someone during peak times to run food, G.D I hope it gets there hot. Red Lobster, can you honestly, brag about the food? You can't! You serve shrimp pasta! Wow, anyone can do that at home!

  8. It won't get any better for Darden employees, (reading from the blogs and my opinion). I left due to job dissatisfaction. And numerous other reasons. Darden restaurants has no problem with discrimination.

    I feel they would be very worried if every employee decided to buy some stock, therefore making it employee owned. If every employee owned one piece of the company that would give them voting rights to decide their future and the ability to oust out some of the clowns running the place. I would rate Red Lobster a -1 yes that's right in the intergers numbers as far as it treats it's employees.

    The Dignity at Darden is a smoke screen, a lie.

  9. I totally agree. I left Darden also because they treat their employees badly. Check out their stock. It keeps dropping because what goes around comes around. So happy to hear people speaking up. Dignity at Darden is a joke. All Darden cares about is their own pocketbook.

  10. Hi Posters!

    Hope all is well. Kinda off topic here but also my post refers to the Darden stock and other stocks. For the benefit of posters reading. The stock market works in mysterious ways. Why?

    Please read and share. The stock market is betting, pure and simple. A business can be very prosperous, however if there are not buyers out there to buy the stock, the stock will not go up. It's like supply and demand, let's say 3 people buy the stock at intervals, first person buys, second person buys, stock goes up, third person buys, stock goes up, the first person makes the most money if sells quickly.

    There are aspects like a spread sheet, ask price, sell price and bid price. Another company, may have say 6 or 7 business's and their stock is really high, so it depends on the demand, not based on the company's profit. In a nutshell, stocks go up, when people buy, stocks go down and depreciate when people sell, or shortsell.

    Stocks are for gamblers, if you don't have money to loose, then do not gamble.

    Darden does not treat the employees with the Dignity statement or mission statement that they boast about. I've been thrown out of better places.

    A SMILE IS CONTAGIOUS AND IT WILL BE OK, just believe in yourself, know your worth and your talent to serve others who might need and appreciate you!


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