Tuesday, July 03, 2012

The Red Lobster Server ASSistant

Edit:  Server Assistant = a person and/or shift where someone who might normally be a server is a server's server for less wages.  Responsible for a lion's share of the side work the server otherwise would be expected to do.  Responsible for nearly all other grunt work that isn't schmoozing the customer.  Largely the shifts are being assigned to older servers who don't want a "flexible" schedule (many times lunch-only servers), as well as new servers, marginal quality servers, and anyone who has made it to a manager's shit list.  Not a tool of corrective action, but rather a stick to punish in the management's hands.  SA's are being paid sub-minimum wage (as is allowable for tipped employees) but then aren't being rewarded with the same amount of tips as a server would make.  So all-in-all more work for less pay and you have to eat that bowl of shit soup or hit the bricks.

Pure and unadulterated Red Lobster management clusterfuck is my opinion.  When you are shitting yourself in the corporate office because your stock price may be tanking and you are losing ground to your competition, you have one of two ways to go.  Go cheap and fuck the working man, or go big in the right areas and invest your way to improvement.

Care to guess what the dickless wonders in Orlando chose?  (Option A in case you're are new here.)

Let me quote myself for a moment:

In my years I've seen Red Lobster (Darden) do some pretty petty and asinine things to screw their best employees.  They do it regularly enough that it has become par for the course.

If you click on my profile it says: 
I've worked for Red Lobster for the better part of a decade. They used to care for their employees, now we're just another warm body in their soulless corporation. The views expressed here are OBVIOUSLY not corporate Red Lobster's or Darden's. If you can't figure that out, press your call button and someone will be right by to smack you in the head with a hammer.
The blog formerly known as "Red Lobster hates its employees".


I've been sounding this warning for years now.  Red Lobster hates its employees.  You are just another cog in the machine. Start squeaking and you don't get oiled, you get removed and replaced with another nameless cog.


So this comes as no surprise that Darden would bend over their most important asset (service staff) and give it to them in the ass.

Restaurant wisdom #1 - don't fuck with the people who will be serving you your food.

Restaurant wisdom #2 - don't fuck the dish crew.

Restaurant wisdom #3 - don't fuck with the people who serve your customers their food.

This falls into category #3 obviously.  And when you start screwing with your most important asset, it never goes good for you.  I've been in/on/near RL staff off and on since the early 90's.  Every time Darden has taken care of their service staff, they've been rewarded.  Every time they pull stupid shit like this and it costs them.

So if you are holding Darden stock (WHY!?!) liquidate that sooner than later.

I've been hearing stories out of Red Lobsters that are sure to inspire a number of law suits from this move.  I do think it is going to get ugly.  And I'll be hear laughing and cheering for the working stiff that's been getting stiffed by their corporate master far too frequently in recent years.

I've suggested it before, but look into unionizing.  Seriously.  It can't hurt, and it might help.  I know unions are falling out of national favor, and I can't say I disagree with many of those reasons, but this is a place where I think a new union movement might well be worth the people's time, effort and money.

Workers unite!


38 comments:

Anonymous said...

thank you so much for taking the time
to post on this SA issue..I agree with you 100%..

Lobster Boy said...

I hope there will be a lot of lawsuits against Darden. The problem is though, Darden has deep pockets and the single mom they are fucking over doesn't. So it is hard to bring suit. But I sure hope a lot of people find a way to do it anyhow. There is some discrimination going on without question, but it may be tough to prove. This may be the stupidest thing I've seen Red Lobster do, and that's really saying something.

J.R. Locke said...

I'm a restaurant manager and I work for a big chain as well, and you're right, the corporate guys who call the shots don't have any skin in the game, for them its just a daisy chain of ass kissing to get to pay day. 9 out of ten, they care less about the restaurants than the rank and file.
http://www.complaintothemanager.blogspot.com/

steve_in_pa said...

I've been with Darden almost 20 years now, and like you, kind sir, have seen some strange ideas come and go. No iced tea spoons. Huh? Patty paper to pick up each and every piece of fruit to garnish a beverage. No knife to put a slit in the fruit to hang it from the glass, for fear of stray cuts, and now black tongs and a plop in the glass. The insane bread portioning, from 1 for the table, to four per basket no matter the number of guests, back to one for the table. You get my point. No one knows how to make a decision and stick with it. And now, from 4 tables, to three, to a six-table-two person station, no station rotation slash sheets, back to three with 1-2 zone partners and so-called VIP service. Now "VIP Plus". I have a hunch, but more so I am hoping, that this hare-brained scheme won't make it much past the first of the year. Execution during pull-up-a-seat-at-the-trough Endless Shrimp will be a good trial by fire. I unfortunately don't have much of a back-up plan like you do, have way too much time invested (read: I get vacation pay and the decent insurance), so I am going to ride out the storm. I wish you all the best in your future endeavours, and shall keep hoping that one day, someone in Orlando who owns a working pair shall put them to good use for the benefit of the mindless corporation. Oh, and I'll always be thankful for the SFC shoes!!

Anonymous said...

I heard tonight that the Insurance is going away, that they will be more served by the Obamacare than paying for their employes insurance.

That just bite as they are totally fubaring their employees!

Anonymous said...

It is stupid..what is even more stupid- the olive garden next to our Red Lobster..well, their manager got sued and found guilty for stealing wages from single moms but they are sill alive and well..if you or I were caught doing that we would go to jail..corporations enjoy the same rights as individuals under the law but never receive more than a fine..which is like a rich man paying a speeding ticket..its just not close to fair. It totally sucks...

msj09027 said...

What is the issue? I have read the post over and over and I still don't know what the problem is. I have been a fan of your blog for a long time. I know how corporate restaurants are, I used to work for some, and that is why I never patronize them anymore.

mj

Anonymous said...

What msj09027 said.

It's not that I disagree with LB, but rather that those of us outside Darden (and, yes, you have extra-Darden fans!)don't know the definitions of these terms.

It sounds as if an assistant is a server with the same duties, but who gets paid less and gets a smaller tip-out. Thus: Screwed. Correct? No?

Please remember to define terms for those of us on the outside!

Anonymous said...

This company continually takes from their employees to increase their profits. First they decreased the salaries of bartenders and busboys, and made the servers pay them instead. Next, they eliminate busboys, demote servers to do busboy work, and increase server tipout. Tipout is based on sales, not tips, and many guests are from areas that do not tip well. Yes, $5.00 on a $100.00 check is not uncommon. Now, tipout is 2.25% of the $100.00 check, so the server made $2.75 on that $100.00 check. No way to pay the bills. Guest satisfaction sucks. Employee moral sucks. Management sucks. After your server sputs in your food, it will suck too.

Anonymous said...

I've been with Red Lobster 15 years and just got SA. Thank you Red Lobster very much, I really needed to get out of that hell hole but couldn't seem to do it on my own. My store has been going down the tubes for quite some time,and I know it will crash and burn soon. Bill Darden is rolling in his grave. He cared about the PEOPLE not the numbers.

Anonymous said...

From what I understand the SA's will be paid the same wage as servers due to be "tipped" employees, but the drawback is how long a SA will be kept on the floor. If business is slow, they will be cut along with the openers/lunch shift or the 3:45 dinner servers. It will be interesting to know if the SA's will only be tipped according to the hours they work, or if they will be tipped on the "total" server sales for lunch or dinner, even if they did not work through the total lunch or dinner shifts.

Anonymous said...

I started serving at RL right after Endless Shrimp..I escaped demotion but it is always going to be the big stick the managers hold over your head-we will never be safe from it..I'm just plain terrified of Endless Shrimp at our location..customers ask me daily about it..why would they start this SA 4 table stuff now when we are under staffed and facing Endless Shrimp?? We have to work mandatory doubles or face punishment with either no shifts/SA demotion/bad sections when times are better if we complain. The turn over is very high- I've seen 18 servers go in 8 months..I would appreciate any guidance to make it thru Endless Shrimp..

Anonymous said...

The SA's will be tipped according to the hours they work. If you work three hours you get only a percent of those three hours worth of sales.

Anonymous said...

I sure hope these people know what is coming.

http://online.wsj.com/article/BT-CO-20120712-714231.html

http://www.yardhouse.com/default.aspx

Darden just bought them for $585 Million CASH. Wonder which server they stole that cash from?

Anonymous said...

I was with RL for 15 yrs and got the hell out when I found out about server demotions...which is pretty much based on subjective reviews. My case in point. I had my review and was rated a "2" which is a needs improvement, by a manager whom I will NOT wear his shit on my nose. When I refused to sign the review, stating that he has said nothing about poor job performance until now, and he wants me to agree to sign? No way. So I took it to the GM, and he agreed with me and had him change the review. HMMM....Who did he want to exploit? Yep, it always takes some sort of unethical insight to move me. After having a meeting with my GM about my resignation letter, he informed me that this was all b/c of the Obama plan...hmmm. Also, 3 of the servers that are demoted have been with the company for over 25 yrs, so yes, they are older and to RL, a legality that they wont have to worry about if they dont fire them and base thier demotion on slower service or whatever the hell they conjoured up.

Anonymous said...

To the above comment, are these servers fighting it? I've been demoted after 12 years, and have been fighting with a specific manager for almost a year. Because of Obama, GET REAL!! I would like to fight this someone, but nothing seems to work!! GM doesn't help (clueless) District manager doesn't give a shit... Somethings gotta give!?!?!

Anonymous said...

hey,I just started working in RL and its true alot of servers are being demoted.Ive seen a busser who was with me in SA training . And he said he got paid 200 a week but it would be lower now.I have been told pay for Service Assistans are .75% from tips meaning its not even 1 percent.Our hourly wage is 5 dollars an hour .I havent got paid yet but will be very interested to see how much i will be payed,the positive is that our restaurant is busy.

Anonymous said...

As far as server assistants go at my RL, they just bus tables and walk food. However there should be 1 SA for every 4 servers and that has yet to happen. So right now server are still doing the same amount plus an extra table while tipping out more. Our SA's make more then servers hourly(not by much). This past weekend has been a shit show, more so then usual. Our newly promoted GM, who nobody cares for, is an even bigger bitch then normal. Standing at the entrance way to the kitchen making sure we are always leaving and entering the kitchen with full hands or we get sent back. When we get busy, she just stands there and screams instead of helping. More people than usual are contemplating quitting. I think a mutiny is afoot.

Anonymous said...

i've been with red lobster 8 yrs now...used to be a great place to work..now we are working twice as hard (i'm not afraid of hard work) tips are less due to the economy..and my income is steadily tanking...because i am paying the wages RL should be paying..how the hell do they justify taking over 2%of my SALES??!! I'm looking for a job..and guess what? ..there are jobs out there for people willing to work..i would lead the revolt if i didnt live in a right to work state(def: we can fuck you anytime we want to..you either like it or we send you packing and you have no legal recourse)

lamont doss said...

I been with RL almost a year & transferred from one store to another in the alabama area and I went from bar / a/c / truck / server to simply a/c @ the new store & I already hate it, servers here do nothing, sa's are basically their bitch stick (including the managers tool of injustice & domination) & now a/c's have the entire upkeep/closing duties of the servers, we do their entire salad bar, from filling/refilling sauce bottles to keeping them stocked throughout the day to closing it entirely for them on top of our own prior responsibilities, now add on the fact we gotta close down their drink station as well adding another hr to our closing time, all servers @ my location gotta do is clean their last tables @ night, tip out & go home while everybody else does their grunt work, not to mention that new servers wont even touch their food then complain to/on us when their food sits in the window forever, I actually had one tell me its not her job description to run HER own tables food... all of that and its only 1 a/c to close @ night >.<

Anonymous said...

Lamont- ouch. Our ACs responsibilities have increased as well, but definitely not as much as yours. All servers here still have sidework. In fact, a few have increased.
I have only been with RL for 3 months and am already looking for another job. I know buttfuckery when I was see it. I can't live with the constant threat of demotion looming over me.

Anonymous said...

@lamont wow! yeah that sux..but once again lack of consistancy on the part of RL. nothing like that here..our SA's only run food and bus tables. However, i always bus my own because i'm all about table turn..cant make money if my tables are sitting waiting on someone else to bus them. Also we have been told "there is no such thing as being triple/double sat" i have 3 six tops sat at the same time thurs night..and guess what nobody to take a drink order..customer had to wait(i did greet the table and let them know i would be right there) but i dont see how thats going to improve cust service? and i felt bad about making them wait...but i couldnt be in 3 places at the same time..my bad.

Ranting Bartender said...

Some of the people to get a clue what they talking about. Seems like every manager is blaming this all on Obamacare. Does anyone see how false that is. Obamacare is going to make a company like Darden offer insurance anyway. Since Darden already does there is no difference. Also I dont know if you people have looked into insurance but most of us Darden people dont use their insurance cause you can get better insurance cheaper on your own. So much for a Fortune 500 company. The SA at my store do no more than busing and running food. They get 4.65 and hour plus 1.5%of sales. I bartend and get 5 an hour and 1% tips. Then because of SA's they toook away my tables. I now work and collect unemployment. I use to make 40k + a year and because they keep cutting our wages and crap I be lucky to break 25k. Id love to organize a one hour walk out across the country :). Ohh and for the person who is afraid of doing anything cause you are in a right to work state. You need to realize what that means. Yes they can fire you for whatever, however they must fire everyone who does the same thing or be caught for discrimination. So if you get fired for being late 2 times, then all people late 2 times must get fired to avoid such a law suit.

Anonymous said...

ga server...i have been with the rl for 19 years, I got demoted to sa not knowing why. It really sucks that the management cant give you a reason and you know they know the reasons. I went from about $450 a week to not even $100, What are we suppose to do? Thats not even gas an food, what about bills? Are we suppose to go on welfare like most of the country? I feel like instead of firing us so they dont have to pay unempolyment, this is a way to make us quit. Im a good server an I feel like they should look at time working for the co. and evaluate that. I must have done something good along the way or I wouldnt have been here this long. I do feel like it needs to b brought to someones highers attention, but how when nobody really cares? Hell the servers I work with care more an cant understand just like I dont understand. We are just a busser that can help guest and help servers and its the hardest job in the restarant an not getting $ that is deserved. If servers cant handle 4 tables then let em go cuz servers like myself can an want to make the $$$$!!!!

Pissed Bartender said...

I feel you guys , but in regards to the anonymous guy on not making enough and going on welfare. YOU ALL LISTEN UP NOW'''' Darden hates this but they have to abide by it they just wont tell you about it. If you work less than 31 hours and have taken a drastic pay cut, you can file for and collect unemployment. I am doing it now..You do not have to wait or get fired. YOu can keep working and whatever you make is deducted from whatever your weekly benefit amount would be in your state.

Anonymous said...

When I worked for the OG, I always suspected Darden execs did nothing but hold meetings to figure out how best to fuck over it’s employees. With this SA thing, my suspicions are confirned. I am grateful I now work for a chain that actually seems to give a semi flying fuck about it’s employees. Or maybe it’s just my restaurant haha.

I broke my leg 3 weeks ago while out hiking. Within hours, I was assured by one of my managers I would have a job to come back to. If I was still working for the Olive Garden when this injury occurred,I either wouldn’t have a job to come back to or they would use this as an excuse to demote me to an SA. Fuck this company.

Anonymous said...

To all of you who have worked for the company for years and got demoted- contact your local EEOC office- I'm sure you will find them very helpful!!!! One of the most stupid things that RL did is demote many of their long time servers- paybacks are a bitch.

Anonymous said...

To all of you long time servers who got demoted for no obvious reason or unfairly- contact your local EEOC office- I'm sure you will find them most helpful!!! Demoting the older servers is one of the more dumbass things the RL has done- paybacks are a bitch.

Anonymous said...

I have been a server at rl for 6 months and now a "SA". I do party tables of 10 to 15 by my damn self and have always done 4 to 5 tables. Here in Tennessee, SA's make $4.00 plus %1.25 tipout. What's so messed up is that all servers that started with me or a month or two before me are SA's, however, one server that started a month after me is still a server who is lazy as hell and only come to work to serve tables and nothin else (no pre-bus, sidework, etc) and servers that started 4 to 5 months after me and still servers and cannot handle 3 tables. At our rl, the only SA's are people who have been here 8 months or less. We had a total of almost 9 SA's but now only have 4 including myself. At our meeting, our manager told us all that we have to do only 4 weeks and after reading these comments, I'm starting to question that. So now I'm debating on whether or not to stick it out for another 2 weeks (according to my estimation, I'm pos to be a server again 8/13) or put in a notice. All I know is that this crap is unfair and demeaning.

Anonymous said...

When the SA has graduated which server do they replace with the new graduate whom has magically changed their personality from the one their tests scores reflected??Is the goal replace all current servers??

Ranting Bartender said...

Ok I noticing a discrepancy here. To person in Tenn, saying SA get 4.00 and hour and 1.25% of sales. I seem to recall someone else saying SA's get 1.25% of sales. Now here in AZ they get 4.65 and hour which i understand can be different cause most every state sets a different minimum wage. Now our SA's get 1.50% of sales. Can they really change the percent tip out from state to state? Is that fair? Again one of my complaints with Darden. I dont care how big you get or how many concepts you have you are still one company and there needs to be some uniformity in it.

Anonymous said...

From Tenn again......So guess what I found out? Well previously I stated that my mananger told me that I had to be a SA for only 4 weeks, now its 90 days, what a bunch of BS! Come to find out, any SA's that started after April 31st, has to do only 4 to 6 weeks, and ppl that started before April 31st has to do 90 days. So coincidently for me I started before April 31st. How freakin backwards is that? Have anyone heard that in their RL? Also, it is so hard for them to hire anyone to be a SA and plus we are short of servers.

Anonymous said...

Lmao.... Try 4.65 an hour & 20 -30 a shift ..... When u go from 100.00 + dollar a day in tips to 60 the most we have made & we had 2 work all day with only one (1).15 minute break

Anonymous said...

I received the "opportunity" of SA for out July 16 roll out. Servers and kitchen staff were shocked, I received invalid reasons for my "opportunity" and many servers hired after me and had been on the floor for two weeks had gotten to stay on the floor. I was told by my GM that I could move up in 2 weeks if they felt I was "ready". And 1.25% was more than my bar tips, well I was not explained to that I had to share with another SA. Therefore my first Friday night of running my ass off while other servers made $150+ for their shifts, I received a whopping $38.12 while making $0.37 more an hour. How is this right? Being nagged at by hosts to clean this table so they can seat it, while being asked to make salads or run refills by a server, and stopped by guests to help them. It is not right, even when on bar with a two table section I made $400+/week in tips, now I make $100-$150.

When I found out a host who had become an SA was moving up to server after 3 weeks I lost it. I went to the GM and he said there was no way, then I went to him later when I saw she was scheduled to serve he told me the "rules". He said any person "new" to the serving position has to SA 4-6 weeks or sooner if they feel like it. Anyone who received an "opportunity" must wait the full 90 days no matter what. Therefore the 3 brand new-hires, and 3 hostesses are already serving and I am on week 5, one new hire was hired last week and is on the floor.

Anonymous said...

This is exactly why workers need to form unions. Without us, they have nothing but an idea. So....let's do it. Unionize!

Anonymous said...

I've worked with RL for 4+years as a server. The last 3years, I was only able to work the pm shift. No lunches due to health issues. These health problems did not interfer with my job proformance and was accepted by management. Then new management came in at the time of reassignment for SA's. I was told by her to face it, I wasnt a spring chicken any more, and my health disability came up. I also knew she did not want anyone working that could not do the lunch shift as well as the pm shift. Hence, after being loyal, working an average of 38 hours every week, I became an SA,@ 4.oo and hour, with an average of 25 hours a week and a lost of income of about 5-600.oo a month. I was also told (promised) I would be able to maintain the needed 30 hours per week for my health insurance which has not been true. I worked an extremely busy Sunday 3:00 - close shift and my tip out was $25.93! I have heard that NY, RL SA's have filed a lawsuit for this practice. Has anyone heard about this yet? By the way, I am 61, look and act and move about like I am 49. I thought there was a law about discriminating against age/disability...

Anonymous said...

You go sister. I am 52 and was with Red Lobster 18 years when I got offered the glorious SA position. I wish there was some type of class action law suit because what Darden has done to its older loyal employees is wrong. I will never darken their door again, nor will any of my family or friends. Word of mouth is powerful.

Anonymous said...

I've been a server at rl for two years now and have escaped demotion because i kiss ass. If i dont i cant feed my family. If i complain i get a sitdown. Open door policy is just a chance to tell on yourself. Sa's got screwed yes but even the best server cannot do a two minute intro, get drinks, salads, bread, shrimp refills, do sidework, walk food, prebus,apologize,get along with the kitchen, get dessert, SCHMOOZE, AND somehow make that a personal connection(Happy assday to you). I'm scared everyday that i'm in trouble because darden wants to save a buck. Seen the gss scores lately?