Thursday, January 12, 2006

Best Resturants to work for?

The following question was posed in the comment section of my blog:

Hi. I am in the process of finding a waiter job. I never waitered before. I was trying to find out some info on what places were better to work at then others. I have found your blog useful. I was wondering if you could give me some advice. I have interviews scheduled at Red Lobster, Olive Garden and Applebee's. Do you have any thoughts on which job I should except if offered all 3. Do you know if there is any difference in earnings from waiters at those three restaurants. Thanks.
Olive Garden and Red Lobster are both the same company, different faces. Both are owned by Darden Enterprizes, which is a sub-group of General Mills Restuarant Incorporated (as in the cereal company). Applebee's is a seperate company.

Which place is better to work for? That's a tough question, as I've only worked at Red Lobster, but I have worked with people who have worked at both Olive Garden and Applebee's. My experience from what other's who have joined us at Red Lobster is that Red Lobster is the better place. This is, of course, from before Red Lobster started screwing with floor plans, adding bussing staff, and the other random poorly thought out garbage of late from corporate "leadership".

The bottom line for me has ALWAYS been ticket total per guest and total sales. I started working for Red Lobster because the averge guest ticket total is over twice as much in many cases than at Olive Garden or Applebee's. I can sell a $40.00 lobster, and many of our large platters run $18 or more. Olive Garden's pasta is yummy, but doesn't cost much. I would guess they sell more wine than we do, but that doesn't make up for it. My nightly sales (pre-moronic changes) would run from $700-1000 very regularly, and are still running $400-500ish (with 25% of my nights only being in the $300's).

If you can sell more total through volume at Applebee's or Olive Garden, you might want to work there. I doubt you can, but it can and does happen. I figure if I can sell $600 on 10 tables and 25 guests, it's much less work than $600 at Olive Garden where I'd have to take 18-20 tables, 40 or more guests to get to that same amount. I would take quality over quantity if the end result is the same.

As for the best resturants to work for, seek an independent high end resturant if you want the best of both worlds. Those jobs are virtually impossible to get though without prior experience, so Red Lobster/OG/AB's might be a good place to start.

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