Saturday, July 14, 2012

Server Assistants in the Orlando Sentinel

Over the years I've spoken with Sandra Pedicini on quite a few occasions (she wrote the piece).  She's always given us - the working stiff - a very fair shake.  Check out her article here

From the article:

Red Lobster is revamping the way workers wait on tables in a move that some employees and experts say could hinder service at the world's largest casual-dining seafood chain.

In a plan that starts nationwide Monday, the chain owned by Orlando-based Darden Restaurants will eliminate busboys, demote many waiters and reduce the number of servers working each shift by assigning each four tables instead of three.

Darden said the new system will cut costs but actually improve service. Unhappy employees and some restaurant experts warn it could result in demoralized, stressed-out workers — never a good thing in the hospitality business.

"We're going to be completely worn out," said Bob Meehan, a longtime server at Red Lobster in Lake Worth. "It's definitely going to hurt service."

Chris Muller, dean of Boston University's hospitality school, said worker morale will likely suffer. "If you don't like the people you're working with and for … it's going to show," he said.

Red Lobster spokeswoman Heidi Schauer insisted many employees like the changes and that diners at restaurants that tested them seemed to approve as well.

 I'm guessing that Heidi didn't ask the server assistants, nor did they have an outside and unbiased party ask.

Read the comments here.  Server ASSistants is a fucking train wreck for Darden.

Seeing as how I've have left the Red Dumpster, I'd like to connect some existing employees with Mrs. Pedicini.  She can/will keep it completely anonymous.  Let me know at RLserver AT gmail DOT com if you'd be interested in talking to her from time to time about the ongoing bullshit we know as working at Red Lobster.


Jake said...

Alright, so RL employees are complaining about having MORE tables, therefore being able to make MORE money? I can see the complaints about not having bussers, but I must be missing something here. I have NEVER worked in a restaurant where servers each only had 3 tables. The restaurant I work at now often times has 6 or 7 tables per server.

From what it looks like, there will be fewer people to tip out, but more of your tips going out. Seems like it would be the same amount of money...?

I can't believe the statement that "it could result in demoralized, stressed-out workers." You're getting stressed out with just 3 tables? You're in the wrong business if that's all you can handle...I could do that in my sleep.

I do agree with the demoting of people. That is just plain wrong... But I've seen in the industry that some people who are servers definitely shouldn't be and those that are good servers will always make it back to the top.

Lobster Boy said...

Jake - what you are missing is the history of these clusterfuck transitions.

When I started with Red Lobster, if you were a good server you could have 6+ tables - especially at close and over the mid-afternoon after everyone else got cut. If you were good, this was a reward. You got to stay on longer and make more money. This was prior to bussers or server assistants - you did all the work yourself, and if you couldn't handle it you either didn't get those shifts, or in the odd situation we'd go on wait. This went on for many years and worked very well.

Then someone had the "genius" idea of adding bussers. Unwanted and unneeded. If you can't bus your tables & keep up you shouldn't be on the floor. Period. But they forced them on us and forced us to pay for them on direct tip outs. Many nights would go by where a busser never touched my tables. I'd always contribute something because they'd do a bit of sidework here & there, but I was not a big tipper because I was taking care of my business. Then Darden started to force us to tip out via the computer system - automatically taking it from me. You can imagine how that pissed me off. I can't force a customer to tip me, but they can force me to tip an employee I have no use for. For many years I was one of the best (if not the best) tipper of my bartenders. I upsell everything. I had a bunch of regulars who drank quite a lot. As a former bartender I could get people to try all sorts of new things they'd enjoy from the bar. Then the day came along where we began to be forced to tip out out bartenders - again a mandate from corporate. It pushed all of our long term bartenders out - cutting their tips from 40-60% often times. Not only were their hourly wages greatly decreased, but their tips went in the crapper at this time. Then with new bartenders we as servers started getting crappy service. A swirling pool of corporate bullshit.

Somewhere in this time Darden, in its infinite ability to fuck up even an orgasm, decided to move servers to 3 table sections. You can search my past posts on this, but this might have been the pinnacle of corporate stupidity. It served to push many of the most competent staff out of our store. People with 20 years of service who were our workhorse people left in droves.

Now, they are moving away from the bussers, giving many of the busser duties to servers, demoting those same servers to server assistants, and forcing the servers to tip them out. They are saying to the server assistants you aren't worth putting on the floor to make your own money, and we won't guarantee you any hours, but you have to work these shifts with the hope of ever being a server again. Truly a shitty way to treat your staff - even if they are incompetent staff.

Sure, a table has been added back to the server's section (sometimes - likely NOT during peak hours) so there is a nugget of good in there. But that's like finding an undigested piece of corn in your shit and thinking you hit the dietary lottery.

Even as a long term server (10ish years with Red Lobster, years elsewhere, years bar tending and some mid-level management in a non-service food industry) I was told I might be asked to cover server assistant shifts. They wanted to be "fair" with it and let everyone experience it.

Yeah, I have better things to do with my time.

Anonymous said...

We were told that we would be losing shifts,therefor losing any "extra" money we would be making. Which cut hours, and any potential vacation pay and insurance that Darden has to pay.

And we were also told through progressive disipline if we were caught talking to host/hostesses we would be fired.this was after 90 minutes of a meeting about commmunication being a key to VIP plus.

Anonymous said...

Our manager forewarned us at our lobstertalk that this article appeared in the Sentinal, and if any guests inquired about this new program, we were to say that it was working very well. Well, haha, I don't agree with that assessment!

They hired this new guy, who's really overqualified, and starting him as an SA. Well, 4 weeks later, he's still doing it and is about to quit, cause, c'mon, how long can you bust your ass for nothing? And what happens when all the SA's are promoted to server? Hire more SA's? Who, in their right mind, would continue to work for such menial pay?

Anonymous said...

i work for red lobster now and i am being demoted to an SA. I was told it was because my tips were low and it made me look like a weak server. however i only work weekend any way so of course i will not make as much as someone who works all week long. I do have a full time job working for a school durring the school year. I am going to give it two weeks and maybe i will stay for my 90 days but if i cant make my bills then i say its time to look for something else. i was really POed about the whole thing but there is nothing i can really do about it now. However SA is just a better way of saying BUSSER and FOOD Runner, because at the SA meeting that is what we were told we would be doing and assisting servers if there was no food to run or tables to be bussed. Also for those who dont understand how it is being paied. You will make server min wage + 1.25 percent of the server tip out. Ya i dont see me making my bills with chump change.

Anonymous said...

At our restaurant we don't even make tips!! We make $10 a hour. After taxes and insurance, about $6.00. This whole system is a joke! And they can't even give us much information about it. And to the above comment, say its working well, YAH RIGHT!! There has got to be something we can do??? Meeting with my district did NOTHING. This is unjust in every way!!

Anonymous said...

Maybe this could go viral on you-tube?

And just for an FYI, as an added bonus, Mrs. Pedicini's article also appeared in The Chicago Tribune.

Anonymous said...

Here's another blog in regards to the server assistant:

Anonymous said...

In my rl all the s.a's do is bus tables and walk food. I wish it was as easy for us servers as you are making it seem but now i am always taking 4 tables ( which everyone did pretty much all the time in our resturant) and i have to tip out more and have les people there to bus my section... complete bullshit

Anonymous said...

i work for RL and probably could get fired for saying this, but that place is the worst place to work for. i have been wating tables for 7 years. Red Lobster WAS a good place to work for it was fast easy money and paid the bills. I have been there for almost three years and just got demoted for SA's. LET ME TELL YOU! YOU ARE JUST A BITCH BOY GETTING PAID SHIT! its a joke i went from making 300+$ a week to 100$ a week. The servers got lazy. I even had a server that told me i was their bitch for the day! now there were 8 servers on the floor with 4 tables leaving every hour or less. can you do the math? i cant handle the stress... not to mention i was sexually harrassed 3 different times complained three different times and had a witness ( which got fired a week after) and nothing was done.I EVEN CALLED CORPRATE and I still have to work with that dirty slob. oh did i tell you we get verbally bashed as well by mangers. anyways im done rambling. DARDEN = NO GOOD!. FRESH FISH MY ASS! FRESH FROZEN IS MORE LIKE IT!

Anonymous said...

I wish Ms. Pedicini would dig and publish the real ugly story..This SA thing is a smokescreen to put less servers on the floor, kick up the tip out to make up for less servers-so Darden can still pay the help they do not pay-thus slashing server hours so they cannot qualify for benefits..its not even like a demoted server gets their so called "test" back graded by a psychologist-they just tell who they want that they failed-they do not give you a comparison chart of your stores tips reported by your fellow servers-to show that you are tipped proof-no nothing. They will keep the SA's bustin their butts hoping to be promoted, and threaten servers with the fact that SA's are just waiting for them to be fired. Its God awful bullshit-thats all.

Anonymous said...

Hey, guess what the corporate wiz-kids came up with now!? There's a $10 off coupon for 2 dinners on Facebook that you can use, even on the $15 meal deal. So, that means all those cheap water-with-lemons people will get the four course for only $10.
So, if you get a 2-top with a coupon, and they both order the 4course, they actually get it cheaper than if you came in and got your employee discount. Nice, eh?

Once again, RL is sticking it to the server, cause you damn well know that the guests don't tip on the dollar amount before coupon.

Anonymous said...

My fellow Lobster people. You haven't been told the truth. This is all about saving money to pay for Obamacare! Lobsterboy, you got made an SA because you should have been
gone years ago because you hate RL, you have a bad attitude, but you are too smart to fire.

Bob S said...

I Been following your blog alot lately and feel like I been writing it cause I have same thoughts. Wish I knew how to start one.. Anyway I dont believe you guys got hit yet with the new hours they changing too and that makes everyone miserable. I too dont feel that I am a valued and respected employee and am leaving to focus on my other venture. However Id like to make Darden understand what they doing. Any ideas on how Id go about setting up a union etc? So of us have talked about a lil strike, they cant fire all of us so there is power in numbers, but do we get those numbers.

Anonymous said...

A lot of places that give the servers more tables don't serve biscuits and salads with every meal. Salads which the servers have to make in most locations. We also have to make our own desserts, in addition to the side work which seems to be never-ending. (stock the salad bar, ice, glasses, ice tea, lemonade, sweep the floor, change the trash, fill the salad dressings...) These things need done every hour at least. We are always running out of things at our location. We never seem to have silverware and often have to roll it ourselves in the middle of the rush. The managers stand around and yell at people to do things but they themselves spend most of the shift standing around talking and yelling. Or they hide out in the office. I know there are operational aspects they have to take care of, but I have never in my life seen a management staff so disinclined to do any actual work. Meanwhile, the hostesses have taken to triple and quadruple seating everyone. It's impossible to deliver timely service when you have to be talking to 3 or 4 tables at the exact same time. And People do not like to wait. If you aren't greeting them within minutes of sitting down, they get upset. But you can't greet a table when you're stuck at another table taking an order or answering questions. Or in the back making your damn salads. If this is succeeding at some locations, it's because some of those locations have a good management staff that makes it possible for it to work. Seems most of R.L. management however are severely lackign in management skills.

Anonymous said...

Ok. i posted a week ago. I Hate this F%*@!ing job. I worked 3 hrs on a Friday night and because i was first on i was first to go at 8:30. the next day i got my tip out i made 27 dollars and word harder and ran more than any one of the servers. And for the servers who say they do it. they forget they can make up there money waiting tables i cant, not for 90 days. 3 SA's have quit. But i cant because i have a family to worry about. School will be sarting soon. Oh and i dont know about other locations but at mine we run food, bus all the server tables, do server side work if it needs to be done and have side work we have to do befor we leave. WE DONT HAVE IT EASY!!!!!

Ranting Bartender said...

Ok so tonight we got a little busy. Which in unusual here in July. So we had 7 servers on and one SA and me the irked bartender. Well you had 7 pissed off and tired servers pretty quick cause they were all running 6 to 7 tables. While I the bartender sat in the corner wasting time cause I had nothing to do. So mmm how is that fair or beneficial to RL. Most nights I dont ring in enough food for the RL to pay my wages. Then of course servers were pissed cause they all had 6 to 7 tables and how did it go from 3 to 4 to 7 so quick. Funny how they could all get 6 tables when that not corporate standard yet as a bartender I cant get one. So needless to say service quality was in the toilet tonight but oh well apparently thats where RL wants it

Anonymous said...

Does anyone else have the 3 shift rule in effect at their restaurant?

Anonymous said...

What about new hours??

Ranting Bartender said...

I assuming you mean you can only work 3 shifts a week?? I can tell you all we are test marketing a new hour schedule out here that is suppose to go live soon. They go back your last 6 months of work and take you average hours worked, ( now my last 6 months covered most of our slow season so I got screwed), and whatever that average is will classify you into a group. So I had a 31 hour average and that classifies me as a M28, which means I can only get scheduled for 28 hours in the computer and can not work more than 30. Needless to say we started this back in March and people left in droves cause so many lost so many hours. Just yet another fu pah on Dardens side. I still dont see the benefit to the system or any cost savings.

Anonymous said...

what I was referring to is a rule we have just implemented which says you must work at least 3 shifts for consecutive weeks or you will be bumped down to SA

Anonymous said...

What gets me is the number of servers that were forced to quit, quit on their own, or were demoted. I was hired directly into the bar and many of these people were servers when I started. At least in our restaurant, the feeling I get is "let's piss off all of our experienced servers, hire SAs, then beg the bartenders to pull serving shifts". We lost bar tables and I have seen my take-home decrease by a good 40%. It's not cool that I can just pick up a serving shift whenever, especially because people lost their jobs over this (ie they were a hell of a lot more qualified than and had seniority over me).

Anonymous said...

In the meeting, they told us that there would be help. I would rather them have told us that we were going to get an extra table and tip out more rather than selling us the dream of SA's really helping something. The help is just not there for this. Servers in my restaurant have responded that they can feel that their level of service has declined for their guests. Servers aren't bussing their tables just so they can have time to take care of their guests...Leaving more work for the limited amount that SA's can do. Our managers help a lot...I get the sense that they are supporting this change because they have to...We just don't have the help we need in our area.

Ranting Bartender said...

Yes I agree. So many servers are complaining that they are tired all the time etc. Also for some odd reason they are getting 5 and 6 tables at a time more often. 4 tables use to be forbidden, now you can have 5 or 6 and no one says anything. Again the SA's cant help like they should and the tables arent getting the service they use too. I too saw a huge pay cut again cause I lost my bar tables. As for being hired in as a bartender but no restaurant that is good at service would hire a bartender off the street. Thats how we use to be but they screwed our position so much no one who works there will bartend there.

Anonymous said...

I posted a few weeks back about being slapped in the face with the demote to an SA. Before I left my job, I worned the other Sa's they were lied to and will not make money. They now call me and tell me I was right and they should have listened to me. Like I said I was a server, bartender, trainer, and a service pro. I was not given a reason for my slap, but all the others did. I am looking for the reason, and so far nothing. For those who think most deserve this, try telling that to ones who are still servers and should not be. They are the ones making an SA job worse. For those trying to tough it out, good luck and I hope it works out

Anonymous said...

I have started making a bit more money but I can handle the 4 tables most of the times just fine as long as the hosts don't sit all 4 at once. I definitely thing they should have hired the SA's rather than demoting the servers. If they wanted to decrease their benefits cost then this was the way to go so of course it is smart on their part, just stinks for those that got demoted. Over half our SA's quit.

fed up said...

I have been for red lobster over 8 years, I am tired of this crap . I got promoted to server professional 5 years ago, and that's that, I can't even become a manager because of my age, the director piece of crap. I hope we can lose this director so I can be promoted. I agree with everyone here. Red lobster don't even give a damn about their employees, only themselves, i.e. they want their bonuses. did you know they get quarterly bonuses for their kiss ass service. I am tired of this, some of the employees work here are quitting left and right 2 servers per week. The management don't give a damn, and dealing with 20+ year old manager. Come on now. Crew relations don't even give a damn about you, all they tell to talk to your chain of command, of course you can be anonymous but leaving a message with your name and number and they will get back to you huh huh talk about anonymous. You are right about the SA not making money that is b.s. also., also we have 6 server professional in our restaurant because the piss of sh*(*t managers are lazy and want days off. In reality don't become a server professional you will fall in that trap and never get out, because they will use you and take advantage of you.

Anonymous said...

I served at Red Lobster for 2 years and was demoted to a Service Assistant. It is f***king bull sh*t. I used to pull in about 500 to 600 a week. Now I only pull in a MAX of 300. I've already found another job and am putting my 2 weeks in. I honestly think this is Darden's way of forcing people to quit. I suppose only time will tell with this new crap they have started, but I can honestly say that out of the about 40 servers I work with NONE like the new system. 100% hate it (including servers, SAs, bartenders). But why should the managers give a sh*t? It doesn't effect them directly. Hell most of the managers at my store should be demoted to SAs. Some are just extremely disrespectful. I'll flat out refuse to be their b*tch. And I have actually refused to do certain things.

Anonymous said...

So, this $10 facebook/red coupon is bringing people in by the droves. Plus, another $4 coupon in the Sunday insert. And what do those managers do? Do they schedule extra servers and SA's?


We are on a false wait, as there are not enough servers to cover the empty tables. This pisses the guests off, cause they can see all the empty tables. We finally have customers walking in our front door, and you would think this would be an opportune time to "wow" them with service, but with only 1 SA on, and 10 servers, guests are waiting in the lobby, waiting to get greeted, waiting for their drinks... all while we're making salads, desserts, boxing up the meals....

The two line cooks are yelling for help, as they're being overwhelmed with orders, there isn't an AC scheduled till 6pm, there is NO bread... WHAT ARE THESE MANAGERS THINKING? WHY ARE THEY HIDING IN THE OFFICE? Why should we servers give a damn about GSS, if managers don't seem to care?

Not ONLY are you pissing the guests off, but the servers are getting really f*cked over, and we're all looking for jobs elsewhere.

I heard that Darden's stock is falling. What will it take to open their eyes?

Anonymous said...

They made servers S.A.s because they can't legally pay anyone less than a servers wage to preform busboy and food running which were traditionally paid at least minimum wage. By branding these positions as server-type jobs they get the benefit of support staff without the cost of paying minimum wage. The company reaps the reward of no labor cost while the servers tips are plundered to make up the difference between the tipped min wage and regular min wage. It's a fact. Additionally- if more than 20% of your shift is spent doing non tip producing work like cleaning stocking polishing sweeping ect. It is a violation of the department of labors guidelines. Just google Fast v.Applebees and Capital Grille Lawsuit. Make those corporate "you know what's" pay by joining a suit - u can not be fired for doing so, in case you wondered. If they do it's illeagel and you can make butt loads in a retaliation suit. Do yourselfs a favor and look it up

Anonymous said...

Darden Corporation needs to make up their minds about what their agenda is.
Is providing VIP Service to our guests their priority or is cutting back on labor costs their priority?
As a server, I find this confusing when I am told providing our guests with the top VIP Service is our number 1 priority, yet we are not receiving the support we need to provide this to each and every guest due to labor costs.

Too often, the opening servers for the lunch shift are cut, along with the SA (if one is even scheduled) as guests are coming in the door waving their $10.00 coupon and the two or three severs left on the floor are not just getting four tables seated all at once, but as many as five and six tables. Our guests do not want to wait when they are able to see empty tables and do not understand the term "false wait" and the host has no choice but to seat them even when severs are overloaded with guests who are waiting to be served, while other guests are waiting to have their order taken, not to mention the dirty tables which also be cleaned by the servers.

We need support to give our guests the best, and Darden's refusal to meet our needs puts severs in the position of getting complaints about slow service, or the guest doesn't feel special because we are not hanging out at their table trying to bond with them. If Darden cares about giving their guests the best service possible, then support the servers who are out on the floor busting their ass to provide this.

Demoting servers to SA's and not giving them enough hours to support themselves is one of the worst examples of corporate stupidity I have ever seen. I can only wish the innovative jackass who came up with this destructive solution would be fired, or perhaps Darden wasted funds on hiring a focus group who gave their opinion on how they think a restaurant can be successful by fucking over the servers, and placing demoted employees in the situation of not being able to support themselves.

Each of our SA's are out job hunting and it infuriates me to see people I care about having to worry about how in hell they are going to pay their bills when their income has been cut from making between 75-100 dollars a day to 15-20 dollars.

Anonymous said...

Lobster Boy,

I am really interested in your reaction regarding the waitress who was attacked by four females at a Red Lobster in Fairview Heights,Ilinois.

Other employees and customers managed to get the four women off the this waitress and the manager then escorted the four women out the door without detaining these women or calling the police.

Thankfully, a customer filmed the attack on their cell phone and the police were able to use this film in an attempt to try and receive information or identification of the four attackers.

Is this Darden's policy when one of their employees are attacked by their "guests"? That managers are instructed not make any effort to detain the attackers or call the police so the attackers can be arrested because these guests take priority over the safety of their employees?

The waitress suffered injuries and was off work for several days. Of course someone from Darden Corporation issued a statement saying the waitress has healed from her injuries and is happily back at work doing her job. Had I been this waitress I would have sued Darden Corporation for every penny they had. It is inexcusable for a manager to escort four women who attacked an employee out the door and to safety.

Another incident took place at the same Red Lobster in Fairview Heights.

This time the three women were detained and the police were called and the three women were arrested.

Do you know if Darden changed their policy and someone made the decision that employees are important and their safety should take priority when a guest physically attacks them?

Anonymous said...

Wow, I'm glad it's not just my store suffering from the SA debacle. We were decently staffed over the spring, but when the plan was announced all the "worst" servers quit because they knew they would end up as SAs, so four decent servers got demoted instead. Two of them quit shortly after, another transitioned to the kitchen (and is now a kickass AC) and only one remains. Of all the new-hires into the SA position, only one has stuck around long enough to become a full-fledged server. At least a dozen stellar new-hires have gone through a day or so of SA training and quit, some just dropping off the face of the earth. Our GM is very sensible and HATES the SA program, and I hear has even begged corporate (to no avail) to let us hire new people directly into the server position because we are incredibly understaffed. In addition to everyone we lost (and have failed to gain) through the SA issue, we had even more staff leave for various unrelated reasons, like moving and starting college.

So now we're all consistently hitting overtime with one or no days off a week, split shifts (with little to no break) every day, and more and more people looking to quit. We're all exhausted, and like others have pointed out in these comments, even the customers are suffering. The managers will stand stationary and yell at us to run food while we're already overwhelmed by getting double sat, making salads, grabbing basket after basket of bread, ect. One of my managers has on multiple occasions interrupted whatever I was doing and physical blocked my path with a tray of food to be walked, so now all of my guests have to wait longer for their drinks to be refilled or whatever instead of just taking the food out his damn self.

Anonymous said...

I got hired on at RL at the end of June this year. I was (and still am) in the first group of SA's to start the new system at RL. IT'S A JOKE!!! I can barely survive on the money I am making. All of my bills are late, I can't even afford a freaking hair cut!! I work so hard that my body hurts every day when I go home. I am 100% o.k. with working hard, but not for $4.00 an hour and 30 dollars a day. I do not understand how they can expect people to make it. I am an experienced server. I served in another restaurant for many years. I came to work at RL because I thought that it was a good opportunity for me to make some good money, that's why I haven't quit yet. But if I don't start serving soon, I'm out. They tell you "4 to 6 weeks of SA, then you will be serving." Lies lies lies. It's been WELL over 6 weeks, and I'm still busting my a$$ trying to survive on 30 bucks a day. I don't see this system lasting. How can they expect someone to stay for that long? I feel like I'm doing volunteer work. If things don't change I'm leaving. ANYTHING is better than this. Question for all of there a way that I can give my feedback about this new SA program to Darden? Anonymously? I feel like if they find out who I am they will fire me at the drop of a hat for speaking my mind. That seems to be the kind of company this is. But who am I to judge, I've only been there for 2 months...

Anonymous said...

Darden as a corporation does not care about you! This is all about cutting costs and increasing productivity. This is the 2nd of many changes to come and the only people that matter are the shareholders! RL cut the pay for the bartenders, that went over so well for them that they decided to go after the bussers and foodrunners. Who's next?? Just wait until they start cutting your hours so they don't have to offer you benefits, cause its coming!

Here's a quote from Clarence Otis when we made the Forbes 100 best companies to work for-
"Today is a very proud day in our company's history," said Clarence Otis, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Darden. "Our founder, Bill Darden, said it best when he said, 'the only edge we have on our competition is the quality of our employees as reflected each day by the job they do.'

"That same belief holds true today, and we've remained steadfast in our commitment to foster a strong, values-based culture where employees can learn, thrive and grow. This recognition is a testament to the dedication and talent of our nearly 180,000 employees who strive every day to create exceptional dining experiences for our guests."

I wonder how proud he would be if he had to face the couple of thousand of crewmembers that were demoted/forced out.

Do you think Bill Darden would be patting him on the back?

I hope his $7million dollar a year salary buys him some peace of mind.

Anonymous said...

Our store has been a disaster since they demoted some of our servers to SA's. First of all, those demoted were totally random and no one would have picked them to be the "worst" servers at RL.

On one hand, we make a lot more money during our shifts since we have be allowed to take 4 tables, but everyone is working at least one shift less. Second of all, our side work has become a huge burden on the closers who end up having to do almost everything. I work as a 4 o'clock most of the time and I will have 4 tables up until a half hour before I leave, often having to transfer one of them before I hit my 6 hours, leaving me with little time to do sidework. I either have to clock out to avoid violating and leave, pissing off my friends and co workers, or-work off the clock. Every day I see people working off of the clock for this reason which is illegal but a regular occurrence

Since endless shrimp started, things have gotten worse. Most people can handle 4 tables just fine, but with everything else on top of it (refills taking forever, being triple and quadruple sat etc.) everyone is mad and fighting all of the time which happen rarely before. I've worked at places where we took 6+ tables as well, but we were not as responsible for as much as we are at RL.

Our SA's actually do work pretty hard, but there is only so much they can do. Not to mention they leave before we are closed leaving a closer with 4 tables to serve, run food to and bus, all while doing everyone else's side work and drowning in endless shrimp refills until they hate every person they lay their eyes on.

Anonymous said...

I've worked at Red Lobster for 9+ years. I can attest to the downhill of late.
Our restaurant is slightly different though. Servers are NOT required to tip at all. I've tipped out a bartender before of my own volition, but it's never, ever required to tip anybody. Our SA's get $12/an hour. They do not get tipped out. Servers make (I think) $9.90/ an hour.
We are a Canadian restaurant. I am not sure if that's why there's a difference. With Darden being an American company, you'd assume (besides wage), that the rules would apply to everybody across the board.