I am not usually a fan of chain restaurants but we stopped into the Olive Garden in Rock Hill, SC on our way home from a quick trip up to North Carolina over the weekend.

It was about 4pm on a Sunday and the restaurant had a fair amount of patrons seated already for dinner but were no where near capacity for this establishment. My husband noted that he liked the decor in this Olive Garden as compared to ours in North Charleston. I agreed that it must be a newer restaurant and theset up was quite nice and sort of reminded me of the Macaroni Grill we visited in Florida. 

Our server this night was Deidre, who was only one week out of training. She also informed us that she was teamed with another server, Paris, and if we needed anything at all just give either of them a holler. Well, we never did see Paris even when poor Deidre was in the weeds during dinner service. This is a real shame. On this particular night, I watched Paris as she let her teammate down. Deidre nearly drowned in the wave of orders as Paris stood in the wait staff area gossiping with the other servers. Poor Deidre struggled through her tables but she kept it together and recovered on her own. Keeping all of this in mind, I think Deidre did an excellent job. It's a pity that the management isn't making a better effort to ensure proper teamwork for the sake of the customers' overall experience. One would imagine that this is the reason that during the time of this review that the Rock Hill Olive Garden only has a 70% approval rating. In any establishment, the front of house can only be as good at the back of the house. And the back of the house had some struggles as well. 

Pride in their work, in their food and in quality control is lacking in the back of house here. After ordering ourselves soup, salad and bread sticks --which is by far our favorite meal on the Olive Garden menu-- we ordered my daughter a kid's spaghetti and meat sauce dinner and a side of fresh, steamed broccoli. We were served dinner and my daughter's spaghetti did not arrive. Deidre went to check on her order. Oddly, it was not finished but they would drop the spaghetti now and it would arrive shortly. This was fine and when it did come, my daughter was ecstatic and Deidre happily topped it with fresh grated cheese until my daughter whimsically chimed "red light stop!" after the perfect amount of cheese had been added to her pasta. Then I inquired about my daughter's side of broccoli that comes with her meal. When Deidre reappeared, she had an extremely hot bowl of mushy, grey-green, overcooked crowns of what used to be broccoli --or as near as we could tell. The broccoli was so abnormally hot it had to have just come from being nuked in the microwave.  We looked at it and frowned. My daughter LOVES broccoli but this was not broccoli I would feed my child-- or anyone for that matter. My husband handed the bowl back to Deidre and told her this was "an atrocity to broccoli" and asked for "fresh" broccoli be sent in it's place. When it arrived back at the table it was beautiful and green and perfectly cooked and seasoned. We cannot understand why or even how that first bowl even arrived at our table. During quality control that should have been refused by the executive chef. It should have not slipped by Deidre either but after only one week out of training she deserves a break.

All of this is not to say that we did not enjoy our dinner. I loved my Zuppa Tuscana, my salad and my bread sticks. My husband and our son also enjoyed their soups and they both tried the entire myriad of soups offered. My daughter loved her spaghetti and all of her extra cheese. Not a bad meal does grey-green broccoli make but I can see how the approval rating has gotten so low in the Rock Hill Olive Garden. The management at this particular chain needs to get back to basics and consider the customer and their overall dining experience. If your staff is mismanaged it is your establishment and especially your bottom line that will suffer. 

We left at about 5:30 PM there was still no line and no waiting at this establishment where most were already gearing up for a busy dinner service. With so many choices in this busy area of Rock Hill, you really have to step up and be a leader in the industry to really drive people into your establishment. 
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