Olive Garden Rant

by john on July 24, 2003

Not being a big Olive Garden fan myself I can really relate to Dooce’s rant.

A little snippet, but do read the whole thing, her writing is worth the price of admission.

Andrew: I don’t like the Olive Garden.
Amber: You don’t like pasta?
Andrew: No, I like pasta.
Amber: You don’t like Italian food?!
Andrew: I LIKE Italian Food. I just don’t like the Olive Garden.
Amber (unable to comprehend how someone couldn’t love free refills on breadsticks): I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like the Olive Garden.



Joe Grossberg July 25, 2003 at 1:33 am

“I dont know anyone who doesn’t like the Olive Garden.”

People who are trying to cut down on carbs. 🙂

Jeff Ingalls July 25, 2003 at 6:04 am

I enjoyed the rant – although I don’t have the same disdain for chains, I do make a conscious effort to avoid them. We mostly go to the local pizza place (Mr. Pizza), the local Italian places (Bilotti’s or Victoria’s), and the local Mexican place (Fiesta). I have honestly only been to the Olive Garden in Rochester once, to attend the birthday dinner of a relative.

Sorry to say I can’t avoid fast food chains though – especially McDonald’s. It’s almost criminal how McDonald’s has ingrained their food onto the brains of American children, although I sheepishly admit I sometimes crave the taste of a hamburger or Big Mac. On our last vacation we camped our way around Wisconsin and found some gems – places with words like Pub and Caf in their names. Places that proudly served Leine’s on tap or had waitresses named “Marge.” We happily made it until the last day of our Wisconsin experience, with the longest driving portion, when only the word “McDonald’s” would silence the meltdown the kids were having. I am also ashamed to admit that I stayed up too late one night in Paris and ended up at the McDonald’s on the Champs Elyses because I need a quick bite. I guess it’s just American to eat there.

Amber should’ve asked Andrew if he likes McDonald’s. If he said no, she could have questioned his patriotism instead of just his taste in food.

Scott McGerik July 25, 2003 at 3:47 pm

The conversation between Amber and Andrew could describe every conversation I have ever had with my chain-restaurant-loving coworkers and friends.

Joe Grossberg July 28, 2003 at 10:11 am

Baja Fresh is great. And they’re a chain.

Deanna Shumaker September 11, 2003 at 10:40 pm

the article was very entertaining and well-written but i wonder when the last time he actually went to OG was… they dont serve anything with olive pits in it so how would the overweight american man be picking them out of his teeth?

i think that any chain restaurant isnt going to taste as “real” as a little place in the heart of italy, but i think OG does a good job imitating the authenticity.

Mom September 14, 2003 at 10:55 am

I totally agree with Deanna. I found the writing style to be quite entertaining, but what would the world be without places like OG?? Those of you who are fortunate to live in large cities have access to authentic ethnic food, but those of us who live in small town america have to “settle” for the Olive Gardens and Red Lobsters. Either that or (horrors) our own feeble attempts in our home kitchens!

Fred September 29, 2003 at 3:47 pm

I agree with Deanna as well. But we need to know that demand for good and different food is to be met and in this way OG is contributing to it and this is really great!

John October 2, 2003 at 11:03 pm

Never ending pasta bowl? All you can eat pasta? Unlimited meatballs for n additional $1.99 well this is one of those ripoffs. The restaurant was not crowded but it ook so lng to get a differnt pasta selection. They are counting onyou being unable to eat any more than only a few. Thas why they make you wait and wait. The waitress is unavailable. The unlimited meatballs is only one meatball per dish after the first one. In other words its “I say thats all you can eat” type advertising. I had one glass of wter the wholtime i could not get a refill. This is the worst experience i ever had at the Olive Garden . This is in Colonie, New York (Albany).

John October 2, 2003 at 11:04 pm

Never ending pasta bowl? All you can eat pasta? Unlimited meatballs for n additional $1.99 well this is one of those ripoffs. The restaurant was not crowded but it ook so lng to get a differnt pasta selection. They are counting onyou being unable to eat any more than only a few. Thas why they make you wait and wait. The waitress is unavailable. The unlimited meatballs is only one meatball per dish after the first one. In other words its “I say thats all you can eat” type advertising. I had one glass of wter the wholtime i could not get a refill. This is the worst experience i ever had at the Olive Garden . This is in Colonie, New York (Albany).

Doug Shaw October 5, 2003 at 12:59 pm

My olive garden rant may amuse you. http://www.dougshaw.com/essays/olive.html

Steve Henry October 9, 2003 at 1:05 pm

For some of us who aren’t able to enjoy true italian restaurants rely on Olive Garden. I have ben treated with more respect and courtesy than any Mom and Pop Italian restaurant. I find the food delicious. My waiter and I have actually become friends. I have been treated with true hospitality there and frequesnt the place often enough the restaurant actually picks up my tab. Anyone who says they can’t get personal attention at a chain restaurant needs to devote a little of their own loyalty to one and not to see it as always an imersonal institution.

For, me Olive Garden is a place for my family and I to relax, eat quality faire, and to be treated like we are someone. The Olive Garden in Springfield Illinois executes these finer attributes with splendor!!! Some chains are definately not all bad.

Dottie October 12, 2003 at 11:28 am

I ahve always enjoyed the OG restaurant in my town, but it wasn’t until last week that I became a life-time guest. I was eating a never-ending pasta bowl along with my husband Phil when he started to choke! The manager was trained to deal with such situations and perhaps saved my husbands life. I realize this has little to do with the food but the service was priceless to me.

Gina Sutton October 29, 2003 at 2:30 pm

I would like to know why there is not an Olive Garden in Wilmington, North Carolina? The closest one to our town is in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Wilmington is such a popular tourist spot in the summer and is heavily populated year round and known for it’s eating places. I love the Olive Garden and everyone I know loves the Olive Garden. Everyone is always saying I wish there were an Olive Garden in Wilmington. I have eaten at Carraba’s and they don’t hold a candle to Olive Garden. Please consider bringing one to our town….I know you wouldn’t be sorry you did. Thanks so much, Sincerely, Gina Sutton

jm February 21, 2004 at 1:14 am

you ordered a pasta bowl and a water. No wonder the server never came back. Not worth the time for the 2 dollars you would have left for GREAT service.

Lindsey March 4, 2004 at 1:48 am

I like the Olive Garden, and I like authentic Italian food. However, one has very little to do with the other. The Olive Garden is definitely a very Americanized idea of what Italian cuisine is, but it’s still good food.

Christina July 21, 2004 at 9:03 pm

I WORK at an Olive Garden in Washington State. I know it isn’t anything fancy. Hell we call it fast food with servers but its pretty damn good for your money. All the bread and soup or salad you want PLUS a good size portion of food as an entre`. AND IF YOU WANT MORE THAN ONE MEATBALL ON A PASTA BOWL REFILL, ASK FOR JUST MEAT!!!But PEOPLE PEOPLE PEOPLE 3 bowls of salad, 4 bowls of soup, 5 baskets of breadsticks and 2 boats os alfredo dipping sauce is a BIT OVERBOARD! And as far as the one meatball on the refills, people think it’s funny to come in and see how much they can stuff their faces with. The company cannot afford to put a dozen meatballs on each plate. Jay Leno is right, this country is WAY TOO FAT!

John September 7, 2004 at 10:37 pm

Im with Christina. I work at an Olive Garden in Louisiana. It has its moments.

Folks…when all you order is the soup, salad, and breadsticks…well thats ok. But when you run your server back to the kitchen for 5 or 6 bowls of soup and 4 or 5 bowls of salad and 5 or 6 baskets of breadsticks, please tip your server more than $1 or $2. We know your meal only cost $5.95 but we are busy trying to work 2 or 3 other tables where people ordered real food and are actually spending money for food and service. Tip your server about $4 because you are ending up costing your server tip money from the other tables. Its true.

And you people that order the glasses of water with the extra lemons…we know what you are doing. When yall leave there are 10 or more empty sugar packets on the table. Its not original or smart. I grew up in a very poor home. But as poor as I have ever been I dont think I could ever go to a public restaurant and make my own lemonade right there at the table in front of everybody. Just spend the $1.89 for the rasberry lemonade. It is actually pretty good.

melissa September 10, 2005 at 10:47 pm

i agree with john totally people come in there stuff order soup and salad!! 3 people at the table they leave you a dollar each maybe more run you to the kitchen 4 times for salad bread and soup then there is the smart people who say can i have extra onions on my salad you come right back with onions then they say can you bring me so more tomatoes 2 trip all i can say is ignorant!!!!!!! if you know you want more onions or bread or water say what you need all at one time!!!

Joshua December 6, 2005 at 1:18 am

The og sucks. I know i worked there for a year and ahalf. But where are tons of things that are funny. like where they would not repair a fire door. ouh yea you know you realy do not get all the beandsitks that you woth. I hear the magners all bit#$ing over what you gave them 2 of them. its one pre presion. That is im writeing you up.

And you people that run out in the mele. You sucks even more. you know server only get paid about 2.15 an hour?. And if you fun out on them they have to pay it. And if that happens two time they get fired? I say you people suck!

And yea 3$ tip on a $75 cheack you know what the server are saying * don’t phucking come back*

And then they have to tip the busser, and where dop you thk the clean talbe’s come from? I know the server are not going to clean them. And most of the time there only one busser on each side. Do you know how mush the tray some bussers carey. i know i could do about 3-4 taibe at a time. and do that uppin and close. and only get $24 a day in tips caose of sucky people like you.

And then you have the poeple asking for fat free water wtf duhh.

Then you have the people asking what some thing good.. umm must wocking wich the food all day. Do you realy tnk we eat where?

jonas February 16, 2006 at 8:54 am

You probably got bad service from a good server, in the case of the pasta bowl. I have worked at the OG for quite a while, and I don’t mind telling you that the pasta bowl promotion is definitely the worst time of year for servers. I don’t know which aisle in Wal-Mart those pasta -loving folks come from, but I wish they’d stay there. It’s horrible, the way they act (pigging out, loud burps, feeding 1yr olds sweet tea, eating one bite and trying something else,i.e.,wasting food like a good American). I go out of my way to make sure they won’t come back – nothing that would get me fired, mind you, but just enough to ruin their experience. Because I mind working? Nope. Because I mind not getting paid for it. Getting run to death for a buck just ain’t worth it. If you go to a buffet, you tip less, because you do most of the work. But if the buffet comes to you, the tip should be considerably more.On 4 trips for a $7.95 pasta bowl, or 1 trip for a $20 steak, guess which one will get me a better tip? Does that make sense? I don’t get raises. I don’t get a bonus.I hardly even get a check, if at all, after insurance and getting TAXED ON MY SALES, and only $2.13/hr to cover all that. I depend on tips to pay my mortgage, my tuition, and for my life. I’m not saying that all people don’t tip well (or at all) during that promotion – but at least 90% don’t. I can usually judge that immediately. And as far as only getting 1 meatball on refills, just ask for more. Service is a two-way street, as most servers have pretty low psychic powers. Don’t wait until after the fact to complain – be proactive. The company only puts that 1 meatball on there to keep costs down – that’s the point of the restaraunt. They aren’t there to solely make sure that you get a nice stuffed gut – they are there in persuit of maximum profit, just like the “$230M software company” that you are so proud to be a part of. In conclusion, I’d like to note that I am an excellent server, and enjoy my job for the most part. But a little consideration from the guest goes an extremely long way; without it, a good server will quickly become jaded, and as a result, so will you.

Tanya March 13, 2006 at 2:12 pm

As far as the servers complaining about making several trips to accommodate multiple requests… If you would sometimes slow down, speak clearly and calmly instead of whisking by and blurting out an occasional, “You doing all right over here?” as you zoom by the table, the customer may be able to remember all of the requests he has, AT ONCE. Dining out should be a relaxing experience, not a frantic race to remember your every need in the nanosecond that your server races past your table. Not to mention trying to gulp down the bite of food you have currently in your mouth in order to yell out, �More tea please,� before your server vanishes into the kitchen� not even stopping at your table! A few very good servers realize that establishing a rapport with the customer is more important in securing a good tip than trying to be less available for the customer to make requests. Ultimately, the server ends up running himself to death (for a minimal tip) because he doesn’t allow the customer to gather his thoughts (and swallow!) and he doesn’t develop that rapport either, which can usually ensure a healthier ti Usually, age, maturity, and personality play a role in whether a server has learned this valuable lesson yet.

I am generally a good tipper. However, when a server doesn’t make the time to make sure my experience is pleasant, I don’t make the effort to make sure his tip is that pleasant either. I am appalled that one of the servers above, Jonas, would even go so far as to try and gauge where his best efforts should be placed! That’s the same as profiling to me.

We had an excellent server last night at OG and I am sure that he was pleased that he did not try and predict how well his service should be to us based upon how needy we were or how much “trouble” we caused him. Although, the food was not as good as it usually is (they seemed to be having some major challenges in the kitchen), we did not blame our server… that’s not his portion of the job. He was very attentive! I even warned my children about making too many requests because I KNOW that can be a nuisance. He seemed absolutely unfazed and continued to cater to our every whim… even things I thought he didn’t hear my kids say! His 15% tip should have been almost $12, yet he received $25. You may say that everyone won’t do that, but I don’t believe it’s worth missing out on the ones who WILL because a server is too judgmental or lazy to give the best possible service to EVERYONE! You dine out in order to have an enjoyable experience. The server has chosen to work at this place that only pays $2.15/hour, yet he wants the customer to shoulder the complete responsibility of supplementing his income while not �bothering� him too much according to the amount of the tip that he �THINKS� the customer MAY leave. It�s not the responsibility of individual servers to make a customer�s dining experience so unpleasant that they don�t want to return. It is the responsibility of Olive Garden that they make sure that the servers are being compensated well enough that they do not develop such judgmental and vindictive attitudes against its customers. That�s completely warped and asinine!

To John about the lemonade makers� (I don�t make lemonade, but do enjoy a slice of lemon in my water� sans sugar!) Does Olive Garden pay you enough to police the cheapskates of the world who do this? If this is what they want to do, hopefully, they will leave you that extra $1.89 they didn�t spend on lemonade, as an addition to your ti Yes, I agree, the raspberry lemonade is great and my kids love it� but I can�t have the sugar so, please don�t judge me when I order the lemon with my water. Trust me, I�m not making lemonade.

Jan G March 29, 2006 at 5:13 pm

I love Olive Garden! You say it is “Americanized” Italian food? I don’t know about that, but I will tell you about an arguement that I settled with my kids. (My son’s a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu.)

I don’t like garlic. Weird? Maybe so, but that’s the way it is. I don’t like the smell, I don’t like the taste. I was telling my kids that I preferred Olive Garden’s alfredo sauce to any other restraunts. When they asked why, I told them that at other restraunts they put so much garlic in that I can’t stand it!

My son laughed and said I should just stay away from Italian food.

I decided to go online and see how to make it for myself. Wow! Try it! Just put the words “alfredo recipe” into a search engine. I didn’t come across one recipe that included any garlic at all!! You actually have to search for “garlic alfredo sauce” to find it with garlic in it!

I made my point to my kids and my son has started cutting the garlic a bit in his alfredo sauce.

Anyway, I wouldn’t know that alfredo could be really good if I hadn’t eaten at the Olive Garden!!

Renee April 11, 2006 at 4:07 am

i work at olive garden and the place sucks. Well, since they fired the best manager we ever had and replaced him with a lazy fat ass. since they hired him, we have run out of bread, mashed potato, sugar and anything else you can thing of. and sometimes, the kitchen will get backed up and guests have to wait 2 hours to get their food. then they send people to go buy those things from the store. because he doesnt keep an eye on things, the waiters and other employees have started stealing. ive been working there as a host for over a year and i have never gotten a raise. and they complain about us? no one has the motivation to work or continue working there if you dont give them a raise or acknowledge that we do a good job. the old manager was very strict but he ran the place really well. i am pissed off with this branch and im currently looking for another job. this new manager will no longer work my me and other students’ school schedule and he complains when we dont show up for work. there are other people that are willing to work those shifts but you refuse to fix the schedule. you keep on remkaing the same schedule for months. even people that have quit or have been fired are still on the schedule. wtf?
on sunday, this new manager asked who wanted to go home and 3 out of 4 hosts raised their hands. and guess what he decided to do? ask us to play a stupid game. whoever picks the longest toothpick will go home. umm excuse me, ive been here since 12 noon, and the next person that came after me came in 3 hours later. i also have an online test tonight and who knows if ill get the chance to leave later. and moroever, its really slow. so i chose not to play the damn game. he sent a lady home and i picked my purse and went home too. he decided to sent me home when i got to work today and asked me not to come until thursday to talk to the GM. which is also the day i will be having my review (finally). and he had the nerve to tell me that even tough i had a test didnt give me a reason to go home. this certain branch has managers quiting after 3 months or less of working there because the place is a pain. i have never had any problems with management until this new guy came here and i hope things wont get ugly.

another thing. there have been times when a certain manager has changed my clock out time and when i get there the next day and check my time, i see that it has been changed and it shows in the printout. the last time i checked, that was against the law and i will do somethin about it the next time that happens

JOE BONGIOVANNI April 20, 2006 at 11:40 pm





Hope July 6, 2006 at 12:25 pm

I think you are all funny. Look man, most people think that their bosses are fat, lazy asses. Get used to it. I have been a manager and have also worked as a server and a bartender and I assure you that no matter what you think about your boss, he had to have done something right to be a manager. Every restaurant runs out of something. It’s actually a good thing if you think about it. They are selling the shit out of an item as opposed to it sitting on a shelf and going to waste. Next time volunteer to be the store runner. It will give you a paid break from work. The OG is good food. At some point a server is going to piss you off no matter where you eat and wine is good for you. Maybe if you had a couple of glasses you might relax and would’nt have such silly things to complain about.

VICKIE September 22, 2006 at 1:55 pm

My daughter works for OG in colorado and has for five years. she is a great server she has been in the business since she was 14 under my supervision as her boss. she is now 27 some of the stories I hear from her make me want to roll over some are so hard to believe people are really that cheap and the woman so jealous that their husband need to talk to her to place his order!!she has been close to having a knock-down drag out from being talked down to threatened insulted you name it but she loves the business she chose to work in because there are people that tip what she deserves and she has a huge following. the good out weighs the bad for her at OG however they change managers like I change clothes. you have to treat employees well to get good results from them. I have been in the business for 32 years I am now looking to open my own restaurant and she will come with me as my manager/owner as for the food I dont care for it except the salad my Italian sauces have so much more flavor and then there is the matter of the very pushed on you wine I cant even go into that I am a daughter who lost her father to acholism 6 years ago he was 62. so I will end now with this…if you dont like the food go somewhere else if you have a problem with a server take it to a manager if you want great service be a great customer!

Heather November 2, 2006 at 11:44 am

Whoever thinks working at the olive garden is easy (no we don’t enjoy feeding your fat ass unlimited soup salad bread and pasta for 5 dollars so you can leave us a dollar) is crazy. Especially those who complain about that price! Are you serious! We sometimes feed families of five on thirty dollars if pasta is .69 a pould stay the f*ck home and cook it yourself and no we don’t “feed the people” we are a retaurant not a soup kitchen and if you want good service then show a little class when you come out to eat and some respect for your server.

daniel August 22, 2007 at 2:41 pm

OMFG!!! so many morons out there.. listen.. olive garden is a prittie nice resturaunt!!! yuo get all you can eat pasta, breadsticks, salad, and soup!!!! thast like a hwole meal right there…so that whole (well pasta is only 69 cents a pound s h it!!! is ridiculous) yeha sure the pasta is cheap.. btu there chefs that cook it for you to the best of there knowledge!!! with very authenic sauces!!! and its brought right to you!!! i think thats worth the extra 5 bucks!!! dotn you htink!! jackass!!!.. and as for the servers!! most of them work really hard!!! going back n forth all day!!! so yeha.. expect them to be a little pissed when theyve been serving you for an hour and you leave them 1 f ing dollar!!! and if the server isnt perfect… well .. how do you kwno there not new!!!! maybe they jsut started!!! maybe its there frist week!! so f off!! olive garden trains the shi t out of there servers!!! so many test n shi t!!! even the lazy servers are better than some servers at other resturaunts!! i would say oliv garden is the hardest place anyone could possibally be a server!!! because off all the unlimited stuff!!! so please..when you go to olive garden.. dont be cheap!!! if yuo wanna be cheap!! go to mcdonalds!! i h8 when people go into prittie nice resturaunts just to be hella cheap!!! its so immature and stupid!!!! servers work hella hard!!! so tip[ them wel.. because tips are what they work for.. so imagine!! servers get 3 tables… lets say they work 7-8 hour shift.. in that time at a 3 table section .. you might get 20 tables.. and thats a good amount!!! now if all those tables are just cheap bastards all comming for unlimited items and tip only 1-2 dollars.. then the server is going home wiht 30 dollars in tips!!! they work 20 days a week.. so plus there hourly wage minus taxes.. there going home with maybe 800 a mounth!!! were i live.. in seatlle.. yuo need to make abtou 2000 a mounth to actually survive!!! so yeah.. al you cheapees!!! fuck off!! if you wanna be chea[p!! cook your own food dmanit!!! thats much cheeper!!! most people that ar cheep are also lazy!!! but they wanna complaine abtou other people being lazy!! .. americans… to damn lazy.. seriously…

liz May 15, 2008 at 7:46 am

It’s so depressing to see people with unbelievably horrible grammar and spelling. Either the education system failed them, or they chose to drop out and/or blow off their classes, particularly English. Very, very sad.

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