Olive Garden’s most beloved menu item is arguably the chain restaurant’s never-ending soup, salad and breadsticks combo but in a recent TikTok video, an Olive Garden employee expressed her frustration with large tables that order this menu item.
According to ABC News, the Italian-style sit-down restaurant franchise serves up a whopping 612 million breadsticks a year and about 165 million bowls of salad.
The menu option is offered at different price points depending on what time of the day customers order them: $7.99 for it at lunch and $9.99 during dinner time.
But while customers may love the fact that they can pop into any Olive Garden location and fill up on as much veggies, breadsticks, and soup as they would like, it seems to be an entirely different story for some servers.
TikToker and Olive Garden employee Emily Taplay (@emilyytap16) recently posted a trending clip on the popular social media platform in which she shares her feelings about large tables that order the never-ending soup and salad combo.
In the video, Emily steps away from the camera, smiling into the lens. A text overlay on the clip reads: “pov: you’re a server at Olive Garden and you get a table of 6 and they all get the neverending soup and salad”
She lip-syncs to the video’s voiceover which says, “I need to buy a gun,” intoning that this isn’t the type of table she wants to serve.
Judging from other posts on social media, there are two primary reasons Emily wouldn’t be happy with a table that ordered the never-ending soup, salad, and breadsticks combo. As other Olive Garden servers have pointed out, tables that order the unlimited combo also expect an unlimited level of service.
Secondly, and more importantly, many customers that get this combo do not tip properly despite the labor intensive order that requires servers to go back and forth from the kitchen in order to refill a table’s unlimited breadsticks, salads and soups.
For example, if Emily’s table ordered the combo at dinner time, the server would net around $12 in tips on a table order that may very well necessitate she make multiple trips to the kitchen, balancing trays of multiple bowls of soup, salads, and breadsticks while she’s on the clock. And this assumes the customer would leave a 20% gratuity, which many do not.
Emily’s video was viewed over 77,000 times as of this writing and users jumped into the comment section to let their thoughts be known.
One person didn’t seem to have much sympathy for Emily having to serve one table never-ending soups and salads.
“Servers when they have to do their job,” they wrote, followed by several crying emojis.
But there were many users who seemed to have had experience with customers like this.
“They say ‘we’re gonna make it really easy on today’ their bill will be $23 and they stay for 3 1/2 hours and your tip is $3.58.” This scenario was echoed by another commenter who wrote, “they give you $5 for 3 hours of ur time”
One tired server admitted, “I just quit bc of this reason.”
One user apologized to Emily for being the type of customer who only orders the never-ending soup, salad, and breadsticks combo.
They wrote, “I’m sorry I’m very broke,” to which the TikToker responded that she doesn’t have an issue with people ordering the dish per se, just when large tables do it. “I don’t have a problem with it haha it’s a good deal tbh. it’s only when a big tables all get it.”
The Daily Dot has reached out to Olive Garden via email and Emily via TikTok comment for further information.
*First Published: May 31, 2023, 1:15 pm CDT
Jack Alban is a freelance journalist for the Daily Dot covering trending human interest/social media stories and the reactions real people have to them. He always seeks to incorporate evidence-based studies, current events, and facts pertinent to these stories to create your not-so-average viral post.