When I received a phone call on a busy Friday night while serving LongHorn Steakhouse guests in Liverpool, NY, last August, I was shocked to hear: “You’ve been selected!” Wow, I was going to be featured in a LongHorn Steakhouse television commercial!
LongHorn, where I’ve worked eight years, has a unique, engaged culture, so it made sense for the brand to choose real servers for the first time in an ad to showcase the menu and atmosphere of our restaurants. I was thrilled to have the chance to share my love of LongHorn and meet others who shared my passion, especially since I have acted in local theater productions. Hundreds of team members had auditioned by sending in one-minute videos in which they discussed what they liked best about their job, their favorite menu item and how they share their passion for LongHorn Steakhouse with our guests.
Before long, flights were booked and 12 lucky people including me were flown to New York City for filming at the Elmhurst restaurant in Queens. We indulged in dinner at our sister brand, The Capital Grille, where each of us met the other team members, who had been chosen from across the country. We all brought with us a spark of love for our jobs.
The next day, we had to be on set with freshly pressed uniforms at 1:30 a.m. I had extra coffee in hand! Hair and makeup stylists got us camera-ready before we were whisked into the restaurant, which was filled with cameras and lights. The directors went over our scenes with us. Some would carry food while others would interact with the actors portraying our guests. I was chosen to open the doors and welcome the camera into the restaurant, a scene included in the Bone-In Bold Flavor ad that aired in late February (other scenes will go into later ads).
You would think that opening the restaurant doors wouldn’t be difficult, but that three-second scene had to be reshot eight times! The speed with which Aaron Nino and I opened those doors was adjusted several times as was the exact time we should look at the camera. Every detail mattered!
Filming lasted 12 hours, and it was an experience I’ll never forget — full of proud moments. I’m proud of myself and the other team members, and I’m proud that LongHorn chose real servers to represent the brand, which is another testament to its strong culture.
I was 19 and in college when I started working at LongHorn as a service assistant. I needed a part-time job that was fast-paced and offered flexible hours. From the start, I felt the passion the managers and trainers had for their jobs and the food they proudly served. Determined to learn everything I could, I began serving and bartending, trained in multiple kitchen positions and became a certified trainer helping to open new restaurants.
Today I am a service manager in Camillus, NY. I have fun working with team members who are eager to grow and learn and talking to guests, some of whom have never dined with us before and others who are loyal regulars. As I go forward, I hope to focus on training team members in new restaurants, sharing with them the opportunities — on camera and off — that LongHorn Steakhouse has offered me.