Saturday, October 16, 2010

The Olive Garden: Still the Same After Seven Years

Kendra and I have something in common
I've spent a lot of time over the years at the Olive Garden. I worked at two of them during college (one near school and one near home), and I still like to eat there when the mood strikes. Sometimes you just want what is familiar.

Anyway, it's funny how much is still the same today as it was seven years ago when I worked there.
  • I don't think they've changed one thing about the uniform. Although for the most part, we had to buy our own uniforms. 
  • Even the name tags are exactly the same.
  • At least half, if not more, of the menu items are exactly the same. This is a good thing to me, since I go to these places for specific menu items (Zuppa Toscana soup) and not because I want to try something new. 
  • The interior decor is the same. 
  • Even the musak sounds like it's still playing some of the same tunes. 
I wonder if I wanted to get a second job, if I could go back to The Olive Garden without being re-trained. I'm guessing yes. 
    What's different?

    The host stand includes a computer! That's cheating. I wasn't a host at The Olive Garden, but I was at Bennigan's (the one across from the Art Institute of Chicago) and a computer would have been nice to keep organized, especially during The Taste of Chicago, Blues Fest and Venetian Night. 

    Also, some of the staff (hosts, managers, maybe also the bar staff ... didn't notice it on the servers or bussers) had ear pieces in. I assume just to walkie talkies, but man, that would have been nice.

    I could hear staff singing "happy birthday" to a table in another room. WHAT??? What happened to Buona Festa??

     So glad most cell phones didn't have cameras in 2002 - 2003.

    For the record, this is EXACTLY what it's like to be a server singing happy birthday to a table. Notice the "this sucks so much" attitude in the kitchen. I would make a whole post about what it's like working at a restaurant ... just watch the movie Waiting instead. Very accurate, and also hilarious. Maybe I'll do a Waiting vs. real life comparison post.

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