If you ask someone to name a famous casual dining restaurant chain many are likely to come up with The Olive Garden, the chain famous for its Italian inspired cuisine and it’s all you can eat pasta offers!
The restaurant is not an old and established one though. It is in fact a part of the Darden Chain of restaurants that also includes Red Lobster and the first Olive Garden did not open its doors until 1982, with the first location debuting in Orlando. By 1989 its sales outstripped those of the Red Lobster chain and it officially became the largest chain of Italian-themed full-service restaurants in the United States.
Although many Italian food purists do not like the idea of eating at a chain restaurant as they feel the food if not ‘genuine’ Olive Garden do send a number of their senior kitchen staff from restaurants around the country to train in Tuscany with local chefs and the menu items are all based on traditional Tuscan offerings.
Who Can Work at the Olive Garden
As is the case for many chain restaurants The Olive Garden do not mandate that their entry level wait and kitchen staff have much in the way of prior experience as they do have their own specific training program that each staff member must work their way through anyway. What they do require however is that a candidate be personable, presentable and concerned about customer service. Most Olive Garden locations will consider any candidate who is over the age of sixteen years old, except in the states where that is prohibited by law.
Each Olive Garden does have a head chef, and they are usually sourced from culinary schools and experience is required. The Olive Garden do have special programs in place that work with a number of culinary schools that offer both work experience for students and after graduation job placement.
It is also worth noting that within the Olive Garden organization, most managers are sourced in house and trained via the company’s management program, so an entry level crew job can lead to much bigger things for those who have the drive and determination to succeed.
Completing the Online Olive Garden Application the Right Way
Most Olive Garden locations in the US now only accept online applications for any and all of the positions that are available, although a handful of restaurants in smaller, more rural areas do still use paper applications.
A list of all the available positions at Olive Garden is maintained in the Careers section of their corporate website, and a simple zip code based search should allow you to determine what job opportunities are available in your area at any given time.
In order to complete the Olive Garden online application you do have to create a password protected account. It is very important that you make careful note of that password as it cannot be reset, and in order to be able to complete and then track the progress of your application. Make sure that you also use an email address that you check often, as interview requests are often sent this way, rather than be arranged with a phone call.
Completing the Olive Garden application for any positions available will usually take about 45 minutes, so allow plenty of uninterrupted time when you do decide to apply. There is also a basic assessment that has to be completed for any position (mainly covering basic customer service issues) so do be prepared to complete that as well as the standard sections of an employment application.
Take your time answering the assessment questions, they are not right/wrong answer queries but based off your opinions and past experiences. Your answers carry a lot of weight, serving as a sort of preliminary interview, so make sure that they really do reflect you at your best in the same way as you would if you were responding to similar questions at an in person interview.
Interesting Facts About The Olive Garden that You Might Want To Know
The recipes for many of the dishes served at Olive Garden are actually listed on their main website, so that you can try cooking some of them at home yourself! They even include some of the instructions for making some of their signature drinks like Tuscan Tea and Italian Cream Soda.
About half of the Olive Garden branches in the US were re-branded in 2012 as ‘Tuscan Farmhouse’ locations that feature wine tasting evenings and ‘exclusive’ dishes that are only offered in these locations. The decor was based on an actual Tuscan farmhouse, Castellina in Chianti, Tuscany, on the grounds of the Rocca delle Macie winery.
Although, like many large corporations, Olive Garden runs several different charitable funds their most successful is ‘Pennies for Pasta’ which encourages schoolchildren to collect pennies to be donated to the The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. The school that collects the most pennies is rewarded with a catered meal from the Olive Garden located closest to it.