Oliver Garden hostess explains why she dislikes the call ahead option

@ambryrae/TikTok Brett Hondow/ShutterStock (Licensed)

‘I worked at Olive Garden as a hostess and HATED the call ahead list’: Server clears up common reservation misconception

'It's not a reservation'


Vladimir Supica


Posted on Aug 7, 2023

Ever arrived at Olive Garden thinking you had a reservation only to find out you’re only on the call ahead list? Kellie, a TikTok user who goes by ambryrae, shed light on this common misconception in a viral PSA video posted on Aug. 3.

Boasting a whopping 278,000 views, the video shares a server’s perspective on the confusion between call-ahead lists, or waitlists, and reservations.

@ambryrae Girl if you dnt take yo non reservation having a** somehwere and leave me be…….. #reservation #manager #serverlife #serverproblems #storytime #restaurant ♬ original sound – Kellie With A *IE*

In the video, Kellie explains the difference: “So the call ahead is you go online, you place your name on the waitlist, and it just shortens your wait time. It doesn’t eliminate the wait time, but it shortens it. And it also doesn’t guarantee you a table right away. Therefore, it’s not a reservation.”

She then recounts a particularly frustrating incident with a guest named Tina at her restaurant. The customer believed she had made a reservation for two, but what she had done was merely add her name to a call-ahead list. Kellie recounts, “So I’m saying, ‘Well, we actually don’t take reservations. But we do see that you added your name to the waitlist.'”

Despite Kellie’s attempts to explain the system and accommodate the guest’s wishes for seating, the customer was allegedly dissatisfied and couldn’t understand the system, leading to a tense and prolonged exchange, accompanied by multiple reseatings.

Olive Garden’s website offers a waitlist that explicitly notes: “This is not a reservation, your table may not be ready immediately upon arrival but your spot on the waitlist will save you time at the restaurant.”

The video struck a chord with many viewers who went to the comment section of the video to chime in with their experiences:

“even when I’ve had a reservation I’ve still had to wait at times. no control over when people finish eating or leave,” one user remarked.

Another commenter wrote, “I worked at Olive Garden as a hostess and HATED the call ahead list because they almost always got mad at me.”

A third summed up the sentiment by saying, “Call ahead was always way too confusing for customers. It seemed like a good idea in theory, but people just don’t get it.”

The Daily Dot has reached out to Kellie and Olive Garden via email for comment.

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*First Published: Aug 7, 2023, 6:20 pm CDT