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LongHorn Server: It’s a Wonderful Life

June 04, 2018

by Darden Restaurants

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LongHorn Server: It’s a Wonderful Life

Server Tina Foley of LongHorn Steakhouse in Orlando, FL, is devoted to her guests and has dozens of regulars. ‘They can go anywhere and spend their money, but they chose to come here,’ she says.

Photo Credit: Darden Restaurants

LongHorn Server: It’s a Wonderful Life

June 04, 2018

by Darden Restaurants

General Topics:
Brand Categories:

Each of our restaurants blends the talents, dedication, hard work and personalities of hundreds of team members — a secret recipe that helps us deliver outstanding food, service and atmosphere to our guests and communities. Our people are our main ingredient. 

Guests who visit the LongHorn Steakhouse in Orlando, FL, and ask to be seated at one of Server Tina Foley’s tables will find themselves in good company.

“Ninety percent of my guests are regulars,” Tina said, “and some of them come in two or three days a week. Many followed me from other restaurants. I’ve got regulars who came in with their grandbabies, and now those grandbabies are taller than me — and they come in and bring their own kids. It’s wonderful.”

At 65, Tina has worked as a server most of her life, the last 12 years at LongHorn Steakhouse. She loves interacting with guests, and they love her right back. “Tina lures you in with her boundless personality,” said guest José F. Cruz. “When she asks, ‘What can I get you, love?’ you feel loved. Tina is what our world needs. She dances from table to table, serves everyone with excellence and never misses a step.”

'Tina is what our world needs.'

— Guest José F. Cruz 

His wife, Candy Cruz, said Tina is the best server she’s ever had. When Candy visits with her sister, who has only an hour for lunch, twice a week, Tina is up to the task. “As soon as Tina sees us, she gets our usual drinks ready and makes sure our food is served quickly. Her cordial, easygoing personality keeps us coming back. She makes our day!”

Tina shared some of the secrets to her popularity, and two simple behaviors top her list: smile and be kind. 

“I talk to people, not at them, and pay attention,” Tina said. “When they want special orders, I listen closely and help them by making suggestions. A server can never be too busy to take a few extra seconds to make sure the guests get what they want. They can go anywhere and spend their money, but they chose to come here.”

Tina said she always takes time to greet guests as soon as they are seated, even if it’s only to tell them she’ll be right back. “Making people wait is not good business, and it’s rude. People want to be acknowledged.”

She said she always finds out if guests have a time constraint, and she tries to anticipate their needs. Another of her tricks is to prepare checks early so when the guests are ready for them, she can present them in a flash.

Tina is high energy with no plans to retire any time soon. “I can’t stand to be still. I run circles around everybody here.” And she wouldn’t want to dole out her famous hugs anywhere else. “LongHorn feels friendly. When I work at a place and feel at home, I stay.” 

“Tina has a servant’s heart,” said Managing Partner Liz Kirkus, “not only to her guests but to everyone she meets. The genuine care she shows for every person she encounters is inspiring.”  

When Tina’s not working, she spends time with her two grown daughters and rescues cats. She also reads to students at Meadow Woods Elementary School in Orlando as a volunteer.

An entertainer at heart, she likes to dance and sing and appreciates a good belly laugh. “Sometimes we laugh so hard at work that my sides ache.”

If she could perform any job in the world for one day, she said she’d be the star of her own one-woman show. She would belt out her favorite Motown, rock and rap tunes, dance the cha-cha, perform a comedy routine — and interact with the audience, of course.

Dinner and a movie? Make it a LongHorn Steakhouse dinner and “The Tina Show,” playing now in Orlando.