Olive Garden worker speaking (l) Olive Garden restaurant with sign (c) Olive Garden worker speaking (r)

Janet Julie Vanatko/Shutterstock @t.heophilus/TikTok (Licensed) Remix by Caterina Cox

‘Imagine if I had bills’: Olive Garden worker begs customers to come in after not making livable wage

'There's too many servers here.'


Stacy Fernandez


Posted on Aug 1, 2023

In a viral TikTok video, an Olive Garden worker complains that despite getting hired full-time, there aren’t enough customers in the restaurant to keep him busy—or to ensure he can make enough money in tips.

In the popular clip, Theophilus (@t.heophilus) is seen filming himself while working a shift at Olive Garden.

“I’d like to file a formal complaint. There’s too many servers here. I’m not making a livable wage. Who do I need to talk to because I can’t do this no more,” the content creator questions.

The 20-year-old then asks viewers to imagine if he had actual bills to pay or kids to care for. While his gig at Olive Garden is meant to be a full-time job, Theophilus doesn’t see how a person would be able to sustain themselves, or a family, on the income they make at the Italian restaurant chain.

As Theophilus sits down, he turns the camera to show viewers a dining room that is mostly empty. There appear to be a total of five people sitting in the area, but given their black attire and lack of food, they may also be servers waiting for customers.

@t.heophilus #theophiluss #VozDosCriadores #union im about to go on strike#screammovie ♬ original sound – Theophilus

“I don’t know if y’all know this, but Olive Garden is open. Come get you something to eat,” Theophilus says. “Ask for Marcus.”

While the creator goes by “Theophilus” online, it’s unclear whether or not he uses “Marcus” at work. The Daily Dot reached out to Marcus via Instagram direct message and to Olive Garden via email.

In the clip, the worker then goes to the kitchen to talk to a person who is presumably his manager, or at least a higher-up.

He tells her “some servers” are upset because the location is hiring too many people and “some of us have bills.”

“How would you like to respond?” he asks the person.

“Get another job,” they respond.

Theophilus’ video has garnered more than 130,000 views and over 160 comments as of Tuesday morning.

“Im about to go on strike,” Marcus wrote in the caption.

It’s important to note that waitstaff are legally allowed to be paid below the federal minimum wage since the expectation is that their lower wage will be padded by tips.

Tipped workers’ base pay is $2.13 an hour, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, but if they don’t earn more than their state’s minimum wage per hour because of a lack of tips, their employer must pay the difference. The federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour.

Several commenters noted Olive Garden has a tendency to be overstaffed.

“Fully staffed floor at 2pm on a wednesday in the summer when they know they’ve never once had a rush at that time,” one person said.

“Nah cause they stay hiring every week,” another noted.

“Same thing at my og so slow too many heads working,” a further user shared.

One commenter went out of their way to give Theophilus advice in case he actually wants to contact a union. “Reach out to a union in your area (seiu or teamsters, etc) they’ll help you gather signatures and survey your employees and you can go from there!” they said.

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*First Published: Aug 1, 2023, 9:25 am CDT