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So I got a part time job....

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
I'm a server at Olive Garden. It's the busiest store in Indianapolis, the managers seem cool, and it looks like average tips are in the better-than-acceptable range. I'm actually quite impressed with the amount of money servers make... it makes me very happy... work less hours and still make as much as I need to make it worthwhile... with extras leftover! I haven't had that in a while. While I think it's good money, I must say I still don't think it's enough for a family or single mother to live off of... but that's another story and a rant I don't want to get into right now. :haha:

It's only part time, but it will help keep the pressure off my husband while I'm still in school.

I've been a pharmacy tech up until now (except the past year or so I didn't work), but it was getting old. I figured I better not hate the job before I become a pharmacist myself.

So any servers or former servers out there? Tell me what it's really like.
post #2 of 13
I waited tables in college at a Tex-Mex restaurant. Its pretty fun, but Friday and Saturday nights will kill you. On the bright side, you make alot of money those nights. Be careful though, leaving with cash everyday instead of a big paycheck is hard. Cash can be spent so easily. I also met my husband while waiting tables.
post #3 of 13
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the advice... I think that will be a big challenge for me! All that cash...
post #4 of 13
I am very interested in reading responses to this thread I have been toying with the idea of taking a job as a server while I go through nursing school. To be completely honest, I am terrified I will drop their plates as I bring the food to the table. I see servers carry huge trays and I don't know how they manage! Is is easier than it looks?
post #5 of 13
I was a server for a number of years at a few different restaurants. Most of the time it's a lot of fun and the tips are good. No matter what, you will always get one person who has to complain... and of those who complain, a good portion of them are just doing it to get free food. I mean yeah, sometimes they have legitimate complaints... but if you're going to wolf down an entire steak, lick the plate clean, and then say it was undercooked you're just trying to get it for free So just don't take it personally

But the one thing I can tell you is, before you even start working, ask the management who is responsible if a table walks out. One time while working at a bar/grill I had four teenagers come in and order big dinners. I knew they were going to walk... I just had a hunch.. so I told not only the manager, but also the district manager who happened to be in the store that day. I was running my butt off with an 11 table section, so I couldn't stand there and watch them. Both of the managers said not to worry and that they would watch the table for me. Well neither of them did, the kids walked out, and it turns out that *I* was then responsible for the kids' 60something dollar check So just ask who is financially responsible for a walk out so you are prepared. Of course, I hope that never happens to you, but I just want you to be aware on the off chance it does.

Good luck!
post #6 of 13
Originally Posted by squirtle View Post
I am very interested in reading responses to this thread I have been toying with the idea of taking a job as a server while I go through nursing school. To be completely honest, I am terrified I will drop their plates as I bring the food to the table. I see servers carry huge trays and I don't know how they manage! Is is easier than it looks?
Oh yeah, definitely easier than it looks. I am a complete klutz, so if I can do it, anyone can You'll also learn neat tricks... like how to bring 6 full glasses of soda to a table by yourself, without a tray and without spilling a drop. I still impress people with that
post #7 of 13
Congratulations on your new job! yes, the tip system is great, and Olive Gardens serveswonderful food & hires ool people! I did dinnerhouse for over 12 years and was able to raise 2 daughters, have cats, dogs, horses & buy a truck. Plus, you get paid according to how well you do (an instant raise, so to speak), at least in most cases. And you can meet so many interesting people - it's like living a real life movie!! Plus, the shift schedules often allow flexibility that is esp. helpful to single moms!! OH, I'm envious!!
post #8 of 13
Originally Posted by squirtle View Post
I am very interested in reading responses to this thread I have been toying with the idea of taking a job as a server while I go through nursing school. To be completely honest, I am terrified I will drop their plates as I bring the food to the table. I see servers carry huge trays and I don't know how they manage! Is is easier than it looks?
Yes, it is easier than it looks! And builds up beautiful arm & back muscles. The palm should be flat against the bottom of the tray, with the weight on the "sweet" of the wrist, where it meets the palm. You can practice at home, even with regular plates - try carrying them stacked, and your arm completely lifted in the air. If you have any bend in your arm, you will risk going off balance. I once dropped a tray loaded with dirty dishes during a very busy shift - when in an embarrassing situation such as that, rely on cat-style, take a bow & announce loudly, "Give me hand, ladies and gentlemen!", and walk off as if you had a tail that was waving in the air - it breaks that uncomfortable silence with humor that everyone enjoys!
post #9 of 13
All I can say is congratulations on your new job and I have nothing but upmost respect for servers! That's a job that I would never be able to do. It must take a lot of patience.
post #10 of 13
I've been with the Olive Garden for two and a half years now- a year and a half at the Muncie OG, and one year at the Ft. Wayne OG. I know a couple servers at the Castleton Olive Garden, that transfered there from Muncie. Indianapolis servers are on the higher end of the wage scale, as far as tipping goes. Suprisingly I made about twice as much at the Muncie Olive Garden as I do at the one in Ft. Wayne. I would say I average $100 as a Sunday BD, and that's after tipping out, about $130 as a Saturday BD, again after tipping out, and about $80 through the rest of the week. This is pretty common with all of the servers here. We have to tip out ten percent of our earnings to the bussers, 1% of our sales to the bar, and tip out about five bucks to the food runners. You can easily tip out 25% of your tips at this restaurant.

Try to remember to multitask- especially important if you get double, triple, or quadruple sat. Don't stress too much when you spill your first drink on someone, drop a tray of food, or get stiffed or someone leaves you less than the actual bill. It shouldn't happen very often, but most of us got pretty upset the first time!

Pre-bus!!! Look over your wine list from time to time, as well as the regular menu, remember your bar drinks. A bloody maria and anti-pasto bloody mary are not the same thing. Remember bar terms like neat, dirty, on the rocks, etc. Don't forget to ask guests if they want salt or sugar on their margeritas, and if they want them on the rocks or frozen. If you pour your own wine be sure to do a "see server" and hit "don't make." Remember that you have to go to "modify" and hit "fagioli as meal" when someone orders soup as their meal, and make sure your "fagioli as meal" is highlighted when you go to pick the time you need for holding your entrees. You don't want your soup coming up right away, and your manicotti coming up ten minutes later. If you do a "see server" but don't type in your request, make sure to tell your alley coordinator/culinary assistant right away, otherwise you'll be wondering why your food is taking 20 minutes.

Have fun and enjoy singing Buena Festa!
post #11 of 13
Thread Starter 
Wow! Thanks, esrgirl! I am sure I will need every bit of that advice.

We aren't required to tip out at our location, although I'm sure it's appreciated. From hearing all the talk, though, it sounds like we're super lucky to not have it required... the experienced ones say that a few bucks per buser that was in your section is considered generous.

Actually, I forgot that Greenwood isn't Indianapolis. I live in Indianapolis, but sorta close to Greenwood, so I'm at that location. The manager said that apart from an Evansville OG, theirs has the highest volume... or something like that. I know there are over a hundred tables and over 80 servers.
post #12 of 13
I am a waitress at 2 different jobs.
I love it. I'm perky enough for it, and that really helps. I must say though, that even if you are having a terrible day, you've got to smile like a cheerleader, or you'll notice the lack of tips. People can feel how thier waitress is feeling, just by the manner you greet. The first impression is best. I always just bop over to thier table with a big smile, lay the menu down, and say "HELLO! I'm Leah, How are ya today?!" And that always impresses them.

I'm a big up-seller too. I invite my customers to persay "buy more" without knowing it. That's a whole other story though.

K, SO carrying trays, I am so impressed at myself because I never thought I'd be able to do that. But it's so easy. Whoever said the palm thing..Is right. It's all RIGHT in the wrist. It took me a little while to get it right, but now I can carry soo much more on a tray then in your hands. Plus-a tray AND could carry out half the reastarunt.

Tips-Yes..I love the tips. But like others said..Be careful, your paychecks are scratch. Especially if they take money for "walks"(is what we call the people that walk out on us without paying), or your uniform, or meal-a-day type things. They take 3.00 every day we work out of our paycheck for eating there. So, even if I'm not hungary, I'm still working at least an hour to pay off my "meal" for that said day. Not cool. Somedays..You can leave -Especially Olive Garden- with at least 175 bucks. But it does spend fast, because you dont realize it..because you've ALWAYS got money it seems. But when paycheck time rolls around, and bills need to be paid, it's like "Oh..Wow! I spent way too much money!" So be carefull with that one.

I once dropped 3 "poached" eggs on a customer, and just kind of made it into a joke. Just have a sense of humor when you do things like that. I also dropped an enitre tray of drinks on a table, and all the drinks went flying all over my party of 6. But..Again..There is nothing you can do beyond the point of dropping it all, so make fun! It really works..Also..APOLOGIZE alot for it. Because then theyre all like "Oh It's OK!"

You WILL get your mean customers..I had some crap man throw a menu at me, and then tell me I'm an idiot in front of a bunch of people the other day.
And I wasnt sure how to handle it..SO..the managers told me to forget about, and kill him with kindness..and the other waitress's said to go back there, throw the menu back in his face and tell him off.
I killed him with kindness..And man..He sure didnt know what to say when I handed him his bill with all smiles..And said "have a great rest of the day, and be nicer to your waitress next time, or I'm told I can TELL YOU OFF!"
But he still left me tip after it all. Just suck it up..They arent there to see you..They're there to get a meal and leave. SO kill em with kindness. It's super hard to not punch them people right in the jaw.

-Other Waitress's that you work with-I find that the waitress is environment is super fast paced, and you never really get to TALK to your co-workers..And that works out great. I love my co-workers. It's like you can walk past another waitress and you can both say something to one another really fast, and get your point across, and finish what you had to say the next time you pass her. It's like once you walk into the waitress station, or into the kitchen, or anywhere BUT the lobby room, you become a "Think Outloud" person. We are always dancing, and doing odd things in the back just because it's an ENTIRELY different atmosphere then when you are out with customers. It's great.

In all..I really think you'll love it. I've got tips and pointers like a mad-man if you ever need them. PM me if you still ever have problems. I am like a walking waitress trainer.
post #13 of 13
Congrats on your new job. I hope that it works out there and that you love it!
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