Unfortunately, at the moment, I’m an Employee of the fallen Olive Garden Restaurant in Chicago, Il on Addison St. Olive Garden is an extremely successful restaurant operation under the Darden umbrella. As all of their restaurants are located in suburbs, right on the ourskirts of Big Cities. This Olive Garden in Chicago is the first to open it’s doors in a Big City. Management occasionally referred to it at a Test. To see if such a Restaurant can thrive in the City. Well, I work at Chicago’s OG, and this is my story:
I had my resume posted on Career Builder and Olive Garden staff emailed stating they were opening up a Brand New Restaurant in Chicago and they wanted me to come in for an interview. I came to restaurant and was interviewed by 4 people in Management. I gave them my skills and was hired and was instructed to come in on a specific date for orientation.
Now at the time I was working Full Time at a Restaurant that was 30 miles from my house. Olive Garden was closer and my now Ex job was kinda far and per the interview I would be paid more so I gave my now Ex employer my two week notice of resignation. I was do to start orientation at Olive Garden
The orientation was good, positive, and energetic. OG hired around 170 employees (That’s a lot!) and had employees that been working for Olive Garden for a long time train us. The trainers did an awesome job training us. There was emphasis on cleaning, sanitation, the importance of cooking a picture perfect dish, and happy-positive greetings to the customers. We were all overlooked by upper management as they were their to assure things went exactly to OG standards. It was constant talk on working with a sense of urgency as OG is a Fast Paced Restaurant. Management created a team like family environment. After 2 weeks of training I was excited for opening day, which was Sept. 29, 2014
The Grand Opening
Opening Day was greeted with great fanfare. Governor Pat Quinn was there, he and our General Manager gave a bright speech, media from an assortments of outlets were there, people drove by honking and waving at us.
When those doors opened people poured in. It was so packed people waited outside for hours just to get a seat. The kitchen and diner room was extremely busy. People were ordering there pastas and salads by the boatloads. We worked at least 10 hours that day. The opening was a success. Employees and customers all happy!
The Weeks after opening
The following days and weeks of The Grand Opening was the same. It was so busy Management constantly asked can we work overtime. The team needs us. Most of us complied to work overtime. Besides, more hours, more money! One week I worked an astonishing 60 hours. Check was fat! I was able to pay bills, rent, and do for more family.
Now, today, at the current moment, as of December 12th, 2014. Business at the thriving Chicago-Based Olive Garden slowed down dramatically after the first 2 months since The Grand Opening. It slowed down so much that we are constantly sent home early. And if we’re not sent home early our days got smaller. Now, I only get 2-3 days a week and on them days I’m working 2-4 hours. An attempt to talk to Management about more days and hours fall on deaf ears. I guess they don’t love us the way they portrayed when we 1st opened. The sense of family has faded. We been here since the start. Saw through the success of the opening. But now we’re expendable. Not really needed anymore
The Phase Out Process
It appears Og is having a phase out process. Once happy employees now have a disenchanted look on their faces. Rumbles and Whispers of “How am I gonna pay this“? is heard throughout the building. Out of the 170 that started. Only about 80 are still around. Some quit because of the pressures of when we first started. Most recently quit due to lack of days/hours. Besides, what adult can survive off a $100 a week paycheck? My little teenage brother working part time is making more than me. They creating scarce schedules like that to discourage their employees to quit. I’ve pitied to management for more hours but to no avail. Olive Garden don’t need us anymore! Is that how corporate thinks? If business slow, don’t give our employees enough days/hours to survive. They’ll find another job!
Furthermore, I’ve quit a solid full time job just to come to this. I wonder if my Ex employee would rehire me? lol,
Maybe, for future employees things will change for the better. But at the moment, Olive Garden in Chicago on Addison Street just not worth working there. Until then, I’m scheduled to work two days this week, 3-4 hours a day. From that I have to pay rent, bills, put food on the table, and take care of my family, Fuck Me! Smh