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How Old Do You Have to be to Work at Olive Garden?

Generally speaking, to get an entry-level job at Olive Garden as a host/hostess or busser, you must be at least 16 years old. If you are interested in being a server, you must be at least 18 years old because you will be serving alcohol. 

Teen Jobs at Olive Garden and Age Requirements

Host/Hostess  (Hourly)

As a host/hostess at Olive Garden, your job is to greet customers, manage the waiting list, seating customers, and answering the phones. You will also keep the menus, front entrance area, and high-chairs/boosters clean, and you will help the bussers and servers when needed.

To work as a host/hostess at Olive Garden, you must be at least 16 years old.

Busser (Hourly)

The bussers at Olive Garden are responsible for cleaning and sanitizing tables and chairs to make the space ready for guests, cleaning dining room floors and server stations, removing all dishes and trash from tables and taking them to the dish area, and cleaning restrooms.

You will also help the servers when needed by refilling non-alcoholic beverages, salads, and breadsticks.

This job will require you to perform duties that require bending, lifting, reaching, twisting, and transporting items that weigh up to 50 pounds

To work as a busser at Olive Garden, you must be at least 16 years old.

Server  (Hourly + Tips)

The servers at Olive Garden deliver exceptional dining experiences by providing friendly and attentive service that makes guests feel welcome and like they are part of the Olive Garden family. The servers thrive on making loyal guests by taking them on a tour of Italy through knowledge of food, wine, and fresh ingredients. 

Servers are responsible for greeting tables, serving food and drinks, making the famous salad and breadsticks, and processing payments. 

To work as a server at Olive Garden, you must be at least 18 years old.

Can a 15 Year Old Work at Olive Garden?

15-year-olds can’t work at Olive Garden because the minimum age is 16. We do have a page on our website specifically for 15-year-olds that you can view for other options.

Can a 16 Year Old Work at Olive Garden? 

Yes. 16-year-olds can work at most Olive Garden locations. We do have a page on our website specifically for 16-year-olds that you can also view for more options.

How Much Does Olive Garden Pay Part-Time Workers?

The hourly earnings for employees at Olive Garden vary because of state and city minimum wage laws. However, we can give you a general idea of what the hourly pay is for each position.


As a host/hostess at Olive Garden, you will be making somewhere between minimum wage and $13 per hour. If this is your first job, then you will most likely start at minimum wage. 

The average hourly rate for an Olive Garden host/hostess is $10.

Busser (Hourly + Tips)

The rate of pay for bussers is usually around $5 an hour plus tips. Your tips come from the servers, and they are based on the sales during the shift.

The average hourly rate for an Olive Garden busser (base pay plus tips) is $10. 

Server (Hourly + Tips)

The biggest part of server pay is tips.  You will receive a server wage, which is usually around $3 to $5 per hour, plus your cash tips.

The hourly earnings for an Olive Garden server can be as high as $15 - $20 an hour, depending on the shift.

How Much Experience Do You Need to Work at Olive Garden?

Olive Garden (and their parent company, Darden) is a restaurant that welcomes entry-level workers to apply for all non-management positions, But, teenagers usually get hired for the host/hostess and busser positions. 

What Should You Wear to a Job Interview at Olive Garden?

Olive Garden is a popular restaurant chain, so when you show up for your interview, you will want to look nice and be dressed in business casual attire. There is no need to over-dress.  Consider something like a buttoned-down shirt with nice slacks or jeans and dress shoes. 

Olive Garden Interview Questions

The possible questions in a job interview are endless, and it always depends on the interviewer. But, there are some common questions that they often ask. Here are some examples.

Why do you want to work here?

Why are they asking?  

There are a lot of restaurants to choose from when you are looking for a job, and they want to know why you are interested in joining their team. What makes them stand out? If this is your first job, you will likely get this question right off the bat.

What’s the ideal answer?

There is no wrong answer to this question. Whatever your reason is for applying at Olive Garden, tell them! Maybe you have a friend that works there or you are in love with the soup, salad, and breadsticks. Whatever your reason is for applying at Olive Garden, just be specific and honest with your answer.

Can you work nights and weekends?

Why are they asking?  

Olive Garden is open seven days a week, and on weekends, they are open until at least 11 p.m. and the closing duties usually take at least a half-hour. The part-time teenage workers usually work the night and weekend shifts, so if they ask you this question, they want to make sure that you can work those hours because that’s where you will fit in their schedule.

What’s the ideal answer?

The interviewer wants to hear that you have no problem working nights and weekends. And, as a teenage worker, this schedule works well around school. Be honest with your answer. If you have other obligations that will prevent you from covering those hours, you have to let them know up front. If you can’t work until close, make that clear. 

Can you work well as part of a team?

Why are they asking?  

If they ask you this, they are trying to find out how comfortable you are working in a team environment. There are no jobs in the restaurant that require you to work all by yourself, so they want to make sure you work well with others.

What’s the ideal answer?

Honesty is the best policy. Let them know how good you are with people and be prepared to give examples if you have previous job experience. If Olive Garden would be your first job, then give examples of working with people in team sports or school activities. 

Benefits of Working at Olive Garden 

Everyone who works at Olive Garden gets meal discounts and $1 unlimited soup, salad, and breadsticks while working.  However, the benefits they offer are for full-time workers only.

Benefits include:

  • Weekly pay
  • Paid time off and paid sick days
  • Performance Bonuses
  • Vacation 
  • 401K savings plan
  • Health and Dental Insurance
  • Membership at Darden Employee Credit Union
  • Flexible schedules
  • Anniversary pay

What it’s Like to Work at Olive Garden

How to Apply at Olive Garden

If you are interested in working at Olive Garden, you can apply directly on the company website.  There are also up-to-date job listings on sites like GlassDoor, SnagAJob, and Indeed. Another option is to walk in and fill out an application in-person at the store you are interested in working at.

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