What Do Casual Dining Employees Really Think?


These days it’s easy for restaurants to get a feel for what diners think of them. They only need to check out a couple of Web sites to read both positive and negative reviews by average Joes.

But what about their employees—what do they think? A happy employee can make a big difference to a business, helping boost the bottom line through his or her positivity and dedication.

Glassdoor.com, a jobs and career community that launched in 2008, gathers input from employees who use its site. And in doing this, it has gathered feedback from employees at a number of casual dining restaurants to provide information on specific chains.

The Web site has also compiled a ratings list giving points to casual dining restaurants based on the employees’ responses.

On a five-point scale, no restaurant scored higher than 3.7 for satisfaction in working there. Topping the charts was Carrabba’s Italian Grill, which received the 3.7 points. Next were Texas Roadhouse and Golden Corral (3.6); California Pizza Kitchen (3.5); then a number of chains with 3.3 points: Red Robin, T.G.I. Friday’s, PF Chang’s, Darden Restaurants (which owns Olive Garden, Red Lobster and LongHorn Steakhouse) and Chili’s.

The lowest ratings went to Denny’s and Steak ’n Shake, which both were awarded 2.4 points.

CEOs of each of the company were also rated. Texas Roadhouse’s GJ Hart attained a whopping 88% approval and Buffalo Wild Wings’ Sally Smith achieved 86% approval.

Steak ’n Shakes did poorly again with CEO Sardar Biglari only reaching an 11% approval rating.

These ratings are useful to companies, who can see how their own restaurants fare with employees and can compare themselves to the competition. “It can also help them attract people who are more passionate about the field,” says Samantha Zupan, corporate communications manager with Glassdoor.

They’re also useful to job seekers, Zupan points out. These prospective employees can use the ratings to decide where to find a job. And current employees who want to move up in their company can check the ratings and identify an area of their company they can improve upon.

Glassdoor.com also includes anonymous commentary from employees of casual dining restaurants, with comments such as these:

  • “They really work with your schedule and it’s very easy to get a shift picked up or to pick up if you need extra cash. The food is great, I’m still not sick of it, and the kitchen is very clean.”—Texas Roadhouse server.
  • “I have cooked for several years and Chili’s was probably one of the best restaurants I’ve worked at. Lots of people tend to complain that they could never get promoted to management from within the company. This is untrue, it you play the game right and really actually try at your job then after you have worked there long enough the offer might come.”—Chili’s line cook.
  • “I feel I was micromanaged when I’m more than capable of doing my job. Also for the position I was in the pay wasn’t the greatest.”—Texas Roadhouse door coordinator.
  • “Whether you make enough money (with tips) depends on whether you get the highly prized, morning weekend shift, which can take months and months to get.”—Denny’s server.
  • “Too high of expectations for no rewards in return, which makes employees stop trying so hard for perfection.”—Steak ’n Shake server.
News and information presented in this release has not been corroborated by FSR, Food News Media, or Journalistic, Inc.

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