I applied for a job at Olive Garden to help me afford my tuition at the University of Central Florida, where I’m earning a degree in restaurant and foodservice management.
After I was hired as a server in Kissimmee, FL, my perspective of Olive Garden and Darden completely changed. I was impressed by Olive Garden’s platform for success, which includes a comprehensive training program that encourages new employees to work to their fullest potential.
After only five months with the brand, my hard work started to pay off. I was promoted to certified service trainer, and my general manager, Miguel Poveda, asked me to help open a new Olive Garden restaurant in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
There, I met international Olive Garden trainers from all over the United States and Mexico. Their willingness to help and support me made me feel confident even though it was my first restaurant opening. They demonstrated the true meaning of Hospitaliano!, and I couldn’t have felt more at home.
As training went on, it was heartwarming to see our trainees dedicate themselves to the fullest during every aspect of the job. Their commitment made the long days of training enjoyable, and as a result, when we opened the restaurant, the new team members did an amazing job.
Never in a million years would I have dreamed of returning to train new hires for a company like Darden in the country where I was raised. While in Brazil, I was able to join my family for Sunday lunch at my grandma’s house, a family tradition I have missed. My family was invited to the family and friends opening event, so I was able to introduce them to Olive Garden.
'I felt so privileged to represent Olive Garden and Darden on international soil.'
A month later, I was asked to return to Sao Paulo to help train more hires for another restaurant opening. Once again, the new hires showed great enthusiasm and dedication. I felt so privileged to represent Olive Garden and Darden on international soil.
This life-changing experience not only allowed me to participate in a different work culture and system, but it made me a better leader, person and professional. I have grown in so many ways and am grateful for the opportunities Darden has provided me. I’m looking forward to my next big challenge.