Q. How long have you been with LongHorn Steakhouse, and what was your first job with the brand?
A. I’ll celebrate my 23rd anniversary with LongHorn Steakhouse this September. I started at an Atlanta location in 1996 but transferred less than a year later to Montgomery, AL. I moved to be near my father who was in poor health. I’ve been at the same restaurant for 22 years. I started as a server but switched to bartending a month later, and I’ve been bartending there ever since. I love the job. I consider the bar my home during the daytime, and I’ve built up a solid base of guests. I have dozens of regulars — some of whom are consistent and visit at the same time on the same day of the week. I joke to them that they have an appointment, I’m penciling them in and they need to show up. I love creating loyal guests.
Q. What is your favorite part about being a bartender?
A. I like to have fun with my guests and treat them as if they are guests in my own home. I enjoy sports and talk with them about football, baseball and basketball if they are into sports. I learn about their personality and interests and then I throw what I have in my own personality toward that so we build a relationship and have something we like to talk about.
Q. When did you realize you wanted to do this for life, and what persuaded you to go all in?
A. Foodservice came naturally to me because I’ve always liked to entertain and hold dinner parties at my house. When I started at LongHorn, my daughter, Andrea, was young, and my husband was busy with a very demanding job, so the flexible schedule allowed me to manage my family and my job. I was blessed to be able to take the time to raise my daughter. I wanted to be there to make sure she did her homework and ate well and got enough rest.
Darden and LongHorn care about their team members, and the benefits, especially the medical and dental insurance and the 401(k) with its company match, are awesome. When I leave here, which I don’t think will be any time soon, I’ll do it with six figures in my retirement account. I’m real proud of that.
Q. What would people be surprised to learn about you?
A. I used to be an aerobics instructor and fitness trainer, and I work out six days a week. My routine includes classes in Body Pump, Body Step, Boot Camp and martial arts. I also lift weights in an interval circuit routine. I’m in decent shape for a 59-year-old woman. I am not sedentary!