Olive Garden Hiring Overview For 2023

Founded 1982

Type Public

Headquarters Orlando, FL

Size Large Corporation

Industry Restaurant

Love breadsticks and salad and looking for work? Okay, maybe not the last part, but we can help you with that as we’ve figured out if Olive Garden hires felons. Restaurants are usually a good place to look for work for all backgrounds.

Relaunch Pad takes the hard part out of the job search process by doing research on the best approach to each company. We go above that and contact employers directly to ask them about their hiring policy for former felons as well! We’ve done this with Olive Garden and each of the more than 1,000 other US companies we’ve done profiles for.

Here at Relaunch Pad, we know the struggles former felons go through to find work. Our staff include people who either have records themselves or have been involved in the system to change it from the inside. We know better than most just how important second chances are when the odds are against you.

Now we’re ready to learn how to get a job at Olive Garden with a felony. We’re also going to answer the following questions:

  • Does Olive Garden hire people with misdemeanors?
  • How do I apply?
  • Does Olive Garden do background checks?
  • Will my felony disqualify me?

Let’s learn a little more.

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Does Olive Garden hire felons?

Confirmed felon employer

a Olive Garden restaurant

Official company policy for hiring felons

We contacted Olive Garden for an official statement regarding hiring those with felony records. They haven’t responded to our request yet, unfortunately.

We weren’t able to find a specific policy online regarding their hiring practices, either.

However, Olive Garden is owned by Darden and they posted the following Equal Employment Opportunity pledge on their website:

We do not discriminate in our employment opportunities on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, marital status, veteran status, citizenship, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or any other characteristic protected by the law.

Has Olive Garden hired felons in the past?

That’s all great, but does Olive Garden hire felons? Good news! Olive Garden has hired people with felonies before, according to our research. There were only a few reports that a felony record stood in someone’s way for getting hired.

Does Olive Garden hire people with misdemeanors?

Olive Garden has hired felons in the past and we were able to find indications online that some of those people also had misdemeanors. By extension, it seems like misdemeanors alone will not be a deal-breaker!

Will Olive Garden hire you with pending charges?

We’re not sure, but we think they might because they’ve hired people with confirmed charges. It will depend on your record, likely.

Current Job Openings At Olive Garden

As host, you’ll be the conductor of the orchestra that is service. You are the first impression of the restaurant and set the tone for guests’ experiences. You will answer phones, take reservations, and be responsible for seating guests according to…
As a cook, you’ll set up your station and participate in prep. You should be passionate about putting out consistent, quality food and seeking opportunities to learn and grow in the kitchen. You should be able to follow recipes and take direction…
As bartender, you ll be crafting delicious cocktails while engaging with guests to provide memorable experiences. You should find enjoyment in creating new and innovative cocktails, enhancing flavor profiles and pairing food and drinks. You will be…


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What are the chances of Olive Garden hiring a felon?

Is Olive Garden on the Ban the Box list?

The Ban the Box campaign is an effort by civil rights groups designed to help former offenders. They campaign for employers to remove the box on applications that asks if job seekers have a criminal history.

The Fair Chance Business Pledge, on the other hand, was an initiative led by former President Obama’s administration. It asked for businesses to eliminate unnecessary hiring barriers and allow former felons a second chance.

Companies that are part of these two initiatives are much more likely to hire you if you have a criminal history because they evaluate you based on your skills and not your record!

Sadly, Olive Garden is not part of either of these programs.

Does Olive Garden have special programs for hiring felons?

Olive Garden does not have any special programs for hiring felons.

What are the odds someone with a felony will get hired?

High likelihood of hiring felons

We rate your chances of getting hired at Olive Garden with a felony as high.

While Olive Garden may not be part of any special programs hiring former felons, they don’t discriminate. Since we weren’t able to get a direct comment from them showing that they do hire former felons, we can’t say for sure. But, anecdotal evidence shows that they do and have hired people with records.

We have the green flag to apply, so let’s find out how to get hired at Olive Garden with a felony.

How to get hired at Olive Garden with a felony

What are some entry-level jobs?

Olive Garden has a good set of entry-level jobs in both front- and back-of-house. They are:

  • Server: Servers at Olive Garden have small sections, so you will not have to multitask too much. This is a good position if you have strong social skills. Servers say the hourly rate is good and you also get tips!
  • Host/Hostess: The easiest position for people just getting started. Your job is keeping track of which tables are taken and empty, and sometimes set them up for patrons. You’ll also escort customers to their seats and communicate how much longer others need to wait. People often start here and get promoted to servers eventually.
  • Line cook: If you’d rather not deal with customers, this is a good position. Cook pay is usually on the higher end and you’ll learn all kinds of awesome recipes. Bigger restaurants divide all the kitchen work, so if you aren’t ready to handle the dinner rush, you could end up at a salad or breadstick station until you are.

Tips to get hired here with a felony

Olive Garden’s job search page allows you to find jobs in your area and apply. Your best bet is always to pick a job that you’re confident at. While entry-level positions don’t ask for a lot, you will have competition for each role. Therefore, match your skills to the job description! Here’s how . . .

If you’re applying to be a server, include how your past job helped you multitask. If your last job required you to perform under pressure, mention that too.

Ideally, you’ll have recommendations from previous employers that will speak to your work ethic and character. A good second-best is having experience in the same role at another restaurant. Perhaps you’ve worked at McDonald’s and are comfortable working a till and filling food orders. That’s a great start!

If you don’t have a prior work history, that’s not a deal-breaker! Focus on your volunteering, community involvement or specific skills you’ve picked up outside of a traditional work environment. The application does not require you to submit a resume.

Having a good resume lets you sell yourself faster, so if you’re serious about finding work, you should have one.

If you’re called into the interview, make sure to be clean and presentable. Dressing business casual is always a good bet. It’s possible you will have to cover any visible tattoos if you have a front of house job, so cover them up for the interview until you have a chance to ask a manager about it.

Before the interview, make sure to study Olive Garden’s About Us page. Learning about the job beforehand tells the interviewer that you care and really want the job.

What does that mean, exactly? It means the interview will not just be about listing your past skills. Yes, it’s good to tell them if you have prior restaurant experience or a server or a cook. However, Olive Garden says on their website that they want employees to “connect” with customers. So it’s also good to talk about your personality. If you are good with people or friendly, make sure to talk about that as well. If you get along with your coworkers and are a team player, mention that during the interview to show you meet Olive Garden’s values.

Lastly, be ready to answer questions about your record. Be frank and ready to honestly explain both the good and bad of your experience. This is where having a resume can come in handy. It can let your interviewer see a bigger picture of your skills outside of what the application lets them see.

If you present a friendly personality, tie your work history into Olive Garden’s values and are ready to sell yourself, you’ll have a good chance of landing the job!

Does Olive Garden do background checks?

It appears that at least some Olive Garden locations do background checks. The application we saw was very transparent about which states and cities require you to disclose your criminal history. On a positive note, Olive Garden gives you space to explain your circumstances! But they will want to know about any offenses from the last seven years.

Here’s what you need to know about background checks:

The states below won’t include any felony convictions that are older than seven years. So, if your felony was six years ago, it’ll still be on a background check. Eight years ago and you’re probably in the clear here:

  • California
  • Colorado*
  • Kansas*
  • Maryland*
  • Massachusetts
  • Montana
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire*
  • New York*
  • Texas*
  • Washington*

(* sometimes certain pay or salary bracket positions require one.)

Even better, there are states that don’t show court cases in which you were found not guilty. Not guilty verdicts won’t appear on background checks in these states:

  • Alaska
  • California
  • Hawaii
  • Indiana (limited check)
  • Kentucky
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • New York

Some states are way more strict and look at the whole record including not guilty verdicts. A background check in the following states will show every conviction and charge:

  • Alabama
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • Connecticut
  • DC
  • Delaware
  • Florida
  • Idaho
  • Indiana (extensive check)
  • Iowa
  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Nebraska
  • New Jersey
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Oregon
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • Utah
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming

Company ratings

Olive Garden scored 3.6 out of 5 stars on glassdoor, which is a little above average. Additionally, 4 out 5 workers say they approve of the CEO. Servers said they enjoyed a flexible schedule and received overall good pay with tips. They also said it’s a great way to start as a server because you only get a maximum of three tables and don’t have to do any side work.

Some workers said they disliked the long hours and believed it was hard to move up in the company.

What felonies Olive Garden will not hire

There are a number of charges that could keep you from a place like this, and we’ve made our best guesses in the next section. Unfortunately, the company didn’t give us a list to work from.

What felony convictions might have a hard time getting hired here?

Restaurants are generally a great place to find work for former felons. That said, you may have a harder time getting hired if you have the following kinds of felonies:

  • Fraud: If you have any felonies involving credit card fraud, scamming or identity theft, some managers might not be as likely to trust you with financial transactions or customer information.
  • Robbery: Felonies involving deadly weapons, especially those used in crimes like carjacking or robbery could also cause trouble due to concerns over register access.
  • Violent crimes: Olive Garden prides itself on being a family restaurant, so safety is a top priority. Crimes like sexual assault or harassment might disqualify you as well.

Does Olive Garden hire sex offenders?

Olive Garden didn’t say but we have a feeling this would be a hard charge to overcome in their eyes, considering the nature of the job.

Does Olive Garden drug test?

Reports say that Olive Garden does not drug test its servers or kitchen staff. As always, we recommend staying sober just in case. All it takes is one surprise test to turn your chances to zero.

Have you applied for a job or worked here? Share your experiences!

Has anyone been able to get a job at Olive Garden with a felony? Share your tips, stories and questions below!

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