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76 Reviews & Complaints

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First Time and the Last
Posted by Thenderson682 on 02/04/2013
WILMINGTON, NORTH CAROLINA -- My boyfriend took me to Olive Garden in Wilmington, NC off of Market Street for my very first time eating at the Restaurant. Waitress was rude when she took our order. When she brought out our salads, we asked for extra ranch and she said they were out. Let me remind you we visited the place to eat at 11:30 am. How can they be out of ranch before lunch even hits. I've seen many people ordering ranch with their salads... Now we also ordered the chicken parm sandwich, OMG I would rather have vommitted in my mouth. I'd rather go to Hardees and order a six dollar burger, than eat at Olive Garden again.

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Posted by trmn8r on 2013-02-05:
Yes, you are correct in your assessment (IMO). A place like Olive Garden is in that unfortunate position between fast food and real food. There are a lot of stinkers in this class (Applebees is near the bottom of the barrel), and on a sub-par day Olive Garden is as well. I gave up hoping for anything special there, and hence I'm happy to drive right past.
Posted by ok4now on 2013-02-05:
My thoughts exactly 8r. These two chain joints have hit a new low. I'm being redundant but after giving them both many chances at different locations they are horrible. Applebee's was an easy write off. Consistent bad food, bad service and poor management. Olive Garden is now a big disappointment. At one time they offered real value with decent portions, not the pathetic over priced appetizer portions they are now ripping people off with. You are correct, they are becoming fast food. I refuse to return.
Posted by cat on 2013-03-05:
I used to love Olive Garden...the last two times I have gotten lousy tasting food...zuccini squash should have a taste of its own perhaps with salt only maybe pepper but not drowned in spices that mask the fact that there is food underneath..bad results the last time...the last time! ! !
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Over-Priced Entree
Posted by Originator1994 on 01/19/2013
GRESHAM, OREGON -- Right before Christmas 2013, a friend and I met up for lunch at Olive Garden. I ordered the lasagne, judging by the picures that it would be a decent sized meal. Not. Very disappointed at the size of it on the plate. It was more of an appetizer than a real meal. Don't plan on going back. Service great. The beverages are over priced also along with not getting enough of the bread sticks when first brought. One always has to ask for more. And along that ling, how come only 3 black olives in the big salad they bring? Really stingy with the olives and that has never changed.

For what one gets as an entree, it is way over priced. Either plan on eating before you go or don't patronize this restaurant chain at all. Try Applebee's..they have great deals plus appetizers for less than Olive Garden.
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Posted by ok4now on 2013-01-19:
Olive Garden (a Darden chain joint) needs to wake up before they loose their customer base. Scaling back dinner portion sizes to appetizer while raising prices does not retain customers. Then they go cheap with the soup and salad. This used to be one of my favorite restaurants, now they lost me as a customer.
Posted by leet60 on 2013-01-19:
I also don't care for Olive Garden. I wanted to note that the picture of an entree or other item will never be representative of what you receive. This is the same whether it is a fast food outlet or normal restaurant. These pictures are not of an actual item, rather, they are created by food stylists - much like makeup artists their job is to make the representation look appealing - it is rarely if ever what you actually receive.
Posted by Karnamay on 2013-01-19:
I was told by a server at OG many years ago that their company policy is one olive per customer!
Posted by Anonymous on 2013-01-19:
The portion sized at my local OG have been adequate. after I'm done with the bread sticks and salad I always end up getting a to-go box.

But I guess it depends on the location.
Posted by wjk898 on 2013-01-19:
You guys can have my olives. Yeccch!

But you've been paying way to much for a 40 cent dish or two of noodles and a basket of 10 cent breadsticks for years. Why all of a sudden all the complaints? OG and similar noodle parlors are such a ripoff - always have been.
Posted by trmn8r on 2013-01-20:
Those breadsticks are horrible - loaded with salt and oil.

I used to get extra black olives on the side - I bet they charge for them today if they will even bring them.

It has been widely mentioned that OG downsized its portions a few years ago, when food prices went up and we were still in the recession.

I woke up an realized the food was horrible and service often the same at my local OG, and simply stopped going 3 or 4 years ago. I don't miss it.
Posted by anonymouse on 2013-06-17:
you meantioned this was lunchtime- it's the lunch menu/portion !!
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Very Poor Service
Posted by Suebowman215 on 01/16/2013
KNOXVILLE, TENNESSEE -- My bridge group has gone to Olive Garden twice for lunch. Both times the service was poor. The 2nd time it was so poor we reported it to the manager who came around to ask how we were doing. Our server was very slow, it took at least 15 minutes for our drinks to arrive, 15 more minutes for him to take our orders, 15 more minutes for him to bring two of the meals (soup and salad) then 15 more minutes to bring the other 2 meals (only because we asked him what was going on).

The manager came back and brought $5.00 coupons for each of us. We told him that we wouldn't be coming back. Then we waited for our bill....it took at least 15 more minutes! The manager came around to see if things had improved since the last time he'd seen us and we said that it hadn't. Then another manager came and he decided that we didn't have to pay for our meals. That was very nice, but we won't be going back.

We were there on a Thursday afternoon at 1:00...it wasn't busy. We didn't leave until 2:30.
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Posted by Obsfucation on 2013-01-16:
At least it shows that it pays to speak with the management WHILE you are at the restaurant.
Posted by trmn8r on 2013-01-16:
I ditched Olive Garden about 3 years ago, and I haven't missed it. A few horrendous service experiences followed by reports the servings were downsized led me to have no interest in returning.
Posted by ok4now on 2013-01-17:
Sounds like my last trip to Olive Garden. At least they are consistent with the poor service. Then after you finally get your food they are consistent with the smaller portions and inflated prices. I refuse to return, they have burned me too many times.
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I Would Not Recommend Ordering Lunch to Go on Sundays
Posted by Vnacagilevu on 01/07/2013
SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA -- I ordered lunch to go over the phone at 12.30 pm on Sunday for pick up at 1.30 pm. When I picked my food up I was told that I was being charged for dinner (not lunch) - this was not told to me when I first ordered over the phone. I was really shocked and inquired about it - was told that the special order of $25 was different - I was not told this on the phone. I ended up paying more than what I bargained for. The food was small and not worth the amount paid for. I had asked for extra salad and breadsticks but was not given any of it. The only good thing were the salad and breadsticks we were given.

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Posted by trmn8r on 2013-01-07:
OG has downsized its portions. I don't go there anymore for other reasons.

As for the price, I'm surprised they did not give you a total over the phone.
Posted by danny54 on 2013-01-07:
Many restaurants, especially the chain restaurants, do not provide lunch menus on Sundays. I'm not saying it's right, but that's the way it was in all the restaurants I've worked in.

One question I have is did they not give you the price of your order when you called it in? That would/should have been a clue that something was off and might have averted your poor experience.
Posted by bargod on 2013-01-07:
Olive Garden. Some call it "classic italian" I call it " Plastic italian"
Posted by ok4now on 2013-01-07:
I would not recommend Olive Garden at anytime. As 8r stated that have down sized their portions while raising the prices. The service is slow and they no longer offer the value they once did. For what they are now charging I can go to a real Italian restaurant and get better food and decent sized portions. Plus I can usually get a table right away compared to the usual 30 minute wait at Olive Garden. They have failed to earn my business.
Posted by shayen on 2013-01-07:
I have not been to OG in a couple years, so I am glad to have read the above comments alerting me to the downsizing of portions. The OG's that I have frequented didn't even have a lunch menu, period. I agree that most restaurants that do offer a lunch menu, do not have one on Sundays.
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Poor Management
Posted by Juanitareid19 on 12/09/2012
BIDDEFORD, MAINE -- I recently was eating at this location, when I asked if they were hiring. I was told yes and the manager actually came to table to talk to me. He told me how to apply on line. I went home and applied. I had told The manager that I lived 6 hours away and was currently working and would need to give 2 weeks notice to current job but ....was going to relocate when I had secured a job In the Biddeford area.. I was called in for an interview a week later and drove back..(12 hours) round trip...All went well and I went back to work at present job waiting to hear from Olive Garden. I was called back for a secondary interview ..and again..drove 12 hours round trip.

I know for a fact that I have great references....17 years experience as waitress....manager.....and bartending.

I never got so much as a call as to say they weren't interested. I have since then relocated and we went to the location and one of the "new" in training waitresses, forgot our appetizers...and upset a full glass of soda all over the table...

Kudos to the Manager of the Biddeford Olive Garden...You got a good eye for who you choose to represent the Olive Garden..

I had told the manager to not contact current employer because they didn't know I was looking for another job....and sure enough that's just what he did...I later found out the person he spoke to was upset I was leaving and spoke out of turn....My other references were people I had worked for years and gave me a rave review.....Maybe you need to rethink your current management...
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Posted by trmn8r on 2012-12-09:
This is the way it is with some employers - if they aren't interested you don't hear from them.

On the other hand, if they are interested, you will know about it.
Posted by ok4now on 2012-12-09:
Olive Garden did you a favor. If you have 17 years experience as a waitress, manager and bartending why would you want to work at this Darden bottom end chain joint? This is beneath you. Apply elsewhere where your talents are appreciated and you are better compensated.
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Again They Were A Disappointment
Posted by Ok4now on 11/22/2012
Olive Garden used to be a decent restaurant with reasonable prices and generous portions. They gave you your monies worth. The menu prices are much higher now with noticeably smaller portions. We visited them about four months ago and were not happy with the meal. Maybe they just had a bad night. Not anxious to return we were given a $50.00 gift card so we gave them another try.

Went on a Monday night at 8:00 pm and we still had a 20 minute wait for a table. The service was very slow. Our server took over 15 minutes just to bring the soup & salad and he forgot the beverages. After that he disappeared and we still had not ordered. Finally he returned but seemed unsure about the menu. They have mostly kids working there.

Fast forward. I ordered the Chicken & Shrimp Carbonara for $16.95. When served it consisted of a small portion of pasta, 5 baby shrimp and 4 very small bite size pieces of chicken. It was more like an appetizer.

My wife ordered the Steak Toscano, a 12 oz center cut strip for $20.75. The steak was not tough but it was dry and had no flavor. It needed some gravy as did the mashed potatoes which took another 10 minutes to get. By this time the steak was cold.

Conclusion: We are done with the Olive Garden. For the prices that they are now charging with small portions we can go to a real Italian restaurant and get much better food. They lost a customer.
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Posted by Alain on 2012-11-22:
We had a $25 gift card for Olive Garden. I gave it to my sister-in-law. I really hope the Olive Garden here is better than the one you went to or I'll never hear the end of it! Thanks for the review!
Posted by BigAl on 2012-11-22:
This review brings to mind a question I have had for a long time. Why do people give gift certificates? Who would rather have a $50 gift certificate instead of $50 cash? I know a lot of people consider cash gifts as "crude" but I do not agree. Furthermore in this day and age if you feel cash gifts are crude would not a pre-paid $50 visa be considered a gift certificate which can be used anywhere? Sorry folks but to me gift certificates are just stupid.
Posted by trmn8r on 2012-11-22:
I gave up on Olive Garden about 5 years due to declining food quality from what I would also call "decent", as well as service that had become sketchy.

From what I am reading, the OG experience has become worse overall in the last few years. I have no interest in returning to witness this firsthand.
Posted by tnchuck100 on 2012-11-22:
Posting where this particular Olive Garden was located would have been helpful.

While portion size and price may be common among all of the Olive Gardens the service would have been a local issue.

Where did this occur?
Posted by Anonymous on 2012-11-22:
I went to Olive Garden for only the second time a few months ago. The service was slow. I ordered a shrimp appetizer and it was so salty. My friend ordered soup which she said was salty. The breadsticks were soggy and salty. I will never go back.
Posted by Anonymous on 2012-11-23:
I tend to get good service when I go to OG. Its all about location I guess.

Good Review, OK
Posted by ok4now on 2012-11-23:
tnchuck100, The O.G. location was at 2328 W. Moreland Rd, Willow Grove, Pa. To be fair we have tried other O.G. locations with the same poor results.

Example: In Philly located at 9280 Roosevelt Blvd is the busiest O.G. in the country. No matter what time you go, day or night, it's packed with extended wait times. On the weekend it takes about an hour to get a table. Once you're seated be prepared for slow service and over priced mediocre food. The only explanation I have for this is the majority of patrons have not had really good authentic Italian food to compare it to. It's like saying Taco Bell has great Mexican food. I'm done with this chain joint.
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Unemployment Benefits
Posted by Jtm0n3y7 on 09/11/2012
CHRISTIANSBURG, VIRGINIA -- A sprinkler system malfunctioned in the freezer, management recorded and threw the food in the dumpster. My girl friend sat it aside to ask later if she could take it home. But before she did that, the district manager says he seen her, and then fired her before she could ask if she could take it home. After this she applied for unemployment benefits. Well Olive Garden appealed the ruling, so now she has to pay Olive Garden back the money. My point is Olive Garden makes billions dollars of profit. And they are fighting her over $150 dollars a week. How sad is that.
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Posted by trmn8r on 2012-09-11:
It sounds like your girlfriend was fired for misconduct. That would disqualify her for benefits. My point is, I don't believe OG did anything far out of line.

Profits and relative cost really don't come into play IMO - it is a matter of principal.
Posted by FoDaddy19 on 2012-09-11:
It's a liability issue and your girlfriend likely knew about it if she worked there. The food should've gone into the dumpster as per SOP. I know it seems wasteful, but in today's litigious society, you can't chance it.

Also Darden Restaurants, the parent company of Olive Garden posted $648 million in profits last year among 14 brands. That's an average of about $46 million per brand. Not the "billions of dollars of profit" you mentioned, not even close.
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Portions Have Been Downsized!!
Posted by Diannagym on 08/19/2012
WILMINGTON, NORTH CAROLINA -- The last time we went to dinner at OG we noticed the portion sizes had dwindled. My nephew (age 14) and a spaghetti lover, ordered spaghetti with meat sauce and it looked like a child's portion. Way smaller than the last time we ate there. I ordered chicken parmesan. The breaded chicken looked like it came from the freezer (not hand prepared) It had less than a tablespoon of tomato sauce on it with a dot of parmesan cheese the size of a nickle in the middle! The side dish of spaghetti was very small. Apparently they are trying to economize at the expense of losing customers.
As always the service was good. With Carrabba's right across the street this is a bad move.

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Posted by Anonymous on 2012-08-19:
Huge portions are why so many people are obese. What they are giving you are actually normal size portions
Posted by spiderman2 on 2012-08-19:
I'm betting you that it wasn't hand made and did come from a freezer.
Posted by Mrs. V on 2012-08-19:
I don't mind the smaller portions so much, but they need to drop the price if they drop the portion size, I think.
Posted by melissa253 on 2012-08-19:
I agree with you 'littleshorty'
Posted by trmn8r on 2012-08-19:
Yes, this has been publicized (through comments like yours) for many months now. It is likely an effort to not raise prices and scare people away. It does irritate a percentage of customers, but probably not as many as if prices went up 10% or more.
Posted by clutzycook on 2012-08-19:
Perhaps, LS. But the OP didn't feel they got their money's worth.
Posted by Anonymous on 2012-08-19:
If they are going to downgrade the portion then they need to reduce the prices. But honestly after i'm done scarfing down the bread-sticks and salad I don't have much room left for my entree anyway but that's besides the point.
Posted by Bill on 2012-08-19:
I ate at Olive Garden two weekends ago and had the Shrimp/pasta special. The portion size was adequate but unfortunately the shrimp was frozen.
I guess for $15.00 you can't expect too much.
Posted by ok4now on 2012-08-20:
I never found the portions huge but ample and I got my money's worth. Now the prices have gone up and the portions are cut in half. This is not a good value. The salad is now mostly lettuce and onions. While the soup is still good they frown upon ordering seconds.

On my most recent visit I ordered the stuffed chicken breast with a cheese topping for $16.00 When served it was the size of an appetizer. Five bites and it would have been gone. I sent it back. Olive Garden is going to loose a lot of customers if they don't change their portion sizes.
Posted by yoke on 2012-08-20:
Went to OG a few months ago and noticed the same thing. I did not mind the smaller portion, but was suprised how much the prices had gone up. The waitress was very stingy on bringing another salad and breadsticks. Had to ask her several times for refills before she finally got them. It was not just our server as we saw other customers having the same issue when wanting refills on salad.
Posted by CrazyRedHead on 2012-08-20:
I agree with littleshorty on this. They are probably what normal sized portions should look like. The food industry has spoiled this country in the past.
Posted by Prince Caesar on 2012-08-20:
The way I look at it, is what others said....if they want to dwindle the sizes and keep customers, they better dwindle the bill too....For 16 dollars for an entree, you should be full.

Whether its a "normal" size, if people are still leaving hungry then there is a problem. Especially since its an italian place....most italian meals are big in portion......

The last time I went to OG I had the unlimited soup and salad for a late lunch early dinner....I go before lunch is lunch is over and dinner is switched over.
Posted by Moly on 2012-11-30:
Waycross, Ga. Olive Garden. Talked husband into going. Shocked when they sat our plates down! I ate tiny bites and sat fork down. 1/2 cup serving. 2 people 32.00. Last time and telling all my friends. I do W.W. and serving size is larger. Lesson learned!!!!!
Posted by totallyforgiven on 2012-12-09:
The last time we ate at Olive Garden, they had downsized the portions so much, that you felt like you were kidding a kids meal, they were not a normal serving size. Granted, some restaurants do give extra large portions, but Olive Garden seems to go the other way. I think a lot of restaurants try to make bigger profits, so rather than slightly raise their prices, they reduce the portion sizes.

Our food was so lousy, along with the service that we don't ever want to go back, we use to love to eat their. HMMMM, they better learn from the restaurant chain ChiChi's, lol, they were doing the same thing, and they went under. Wonder when the restaurants are going to realize that without us, the customers, they will go under?
Posted by Ladybee313 on 2013-08-12:
I went to olive Garden on 8/2/2013 and the dinner portion looked like the same amount I used to get with the lunch portion! I could see the different in the portion and the price was the same! I used to take home some pasta every time and was never able to eat the whole meal!!!
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Bad Service
Posted by virgilio265 on 07/06/2012
They had bad service, it took more than 45 minutes to get our food, they didn't ask if we needed anything else. I am never spending another dollar on this place again. That was the most terrible service I've ever seen!!! :O
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Posted by ok4now on 2012-07-08:
Welcome to the New Olive Garden. This chain joint in an effort to save money now employs mostly kids and the good managers have all left. Have you noticed how much smaller the portion are? So what you had to wait 45 minutes for your food, make sure you leave at least a 20% tip. This is their attitude and they are loosing business. They lost me as a long time customer.
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Best Manager Ever
Posted by Dostromcowboy1 on 06/23/2012
WOODBURY, MINNESOTA -- My dad and niece were here from Colorado visiting. I took them to the Olive Garden to eat because we all love the food. We had a waitress that was slow. We waited 25 minutes at our table and still had no salad. I got the manager and explained the situation. The manager not only corrected the problem, she served our entire meal to us. When we were finished with our meal, I asked for our bill. I was still going to pay for our meal no matter if we started out on the wrong foot. The manager insisted that our meal was on the house, and we owed nothing. I told her no, that I wanted to pay because the food was excellent and her service as a manager {for only 3 months} was outstanding. She still insisted that our meal was at no charge. I wish every restaurant had managers like her. From our family to the people of Olive Garden, thank you. We would appreciate it if you would recognize her. Her name is Ashley from store # 1672 in Woodbury Minnesota. Thank you from Jay and Dan Ostrom [snip]
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Posted by trmn8r on 2012-06-23:
That is first class customer service on the part of the manager. Nice of you to recognize her efforts.
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