To help inspire and nurture that commitment, Darden works to maintain a strong, people-focused culture where our team members feel valued and supported, are treated with respect and have opportunities to expand their skills and advance in their careers.
In short, we want to create an environment where our team members want to come to work and do their best each day – and where they want to stay and build a career. And, as evidenced by a turnover rate that is 25-30 points lower than the industry average –– we are doing just that.
For many of our team members, Darden is a first employer. This is a role we take great pride in – and a responsibility we take seriously. For some, a job at Darden is the start of a career path to management positions within our company. For others, it enables them to further their education and eventually pursue a career elsewhere. Whatever the case, we know that the skills and experience we provide will help our team members not only grow and succeed within Darden, but wherever their career paths ultimately take them.
That’s why we are committed to providing our team members with extensive training and development opportunities. Our programs are designed to enable employees to succeed in their current roles, and also foster the skills and experience they need to grow personally and professionally.
For example, our “Passport to Excellence” program provides hourly team members cross-functional training opportunities to gain knowledge and skills outside of their primary job function. The program allows them to expand their careers and explore interest in management roles, while also permitting Darden to fully leverage their talents.
On average, new hourly team members receive 63 hours of training when they come on board, through video, computer work, and hands-on instruction. Our Managers-in-Training spend hundreds of hours over the course of a 7-week to 11-week specialized program gaining the skills and experience they need.
Promoting from Within
A central tenant of our approach to employee development is a commitment to promoting from within. Half of our Restaurant Managers are promoted from our hourly ranks, while nearly 100% of our General Managers and Managing Partners are internal promotions.
This approach makes sound business sense, because it allows us to retain the team members in whom we’ve invested. But – with more than 7,000 leadership positions across our restaurants – it also means we are providing a pathway for thousands of individuals across the United States to advance from entry-level jobs into management ranks.
Darden’s multiple brands and business structure also enable us to provide our team members with broader and more diverse career paths than many other restaurant companies. Our employees are able to advance within our brands, and also to move across them. In addition, we are able to be more responsive in matching team members with job opportunities if they relocate.
Inclusion & Diversity
At Darden, Inclusion & Diversity is woven throughout the fabric of our culture; it’s just who we are. Every day we strive to leverage our differences to support the business strategy, focused on winning against competitors, and to create an environment where all of our team members can reach their greatest potential. To learn more about our Inclusion & Diversity Efforts please click: FY 2016 Inclusion & Diversity Fact Sheet.
Is Being a Restaurant Server a “Good” Job?
The topic of restaurant wages has received considerable attention as part of the broader public discussion about access to economic opportunity. While some critics have claimed that restaurant workers are unfairly or poorly paid, at Darden, we think the opposite is true.
Our hourly team members earn, on average, nearly $15.00 per hour – and since our brands have some of the highest volumes in the industry, our tipped employees have the ability to earn significantly more than that. In short, we are proud of the fact that working in a Darden restaurant enables tens of thousands of our hourly team members to earn well above the minimum wage – regardless of their backgrounds.
And, with half of our restaurant managers being promoted from our hourly ranks, it also provides a tangible pathway to a stable income for many.