Managing the three-floor Olive Garden restaurant at 2 Times Square in Manhattan, which offers seatings until 2 AM and often has lines two hours long, is no easy task. You must provide comfort food to tourists and homesick New Yorkers alike, and help all visitors looking for a break from the hectic city of strangers outside feel like they are, at least for an hour or so, "family."
In an epic Q&A, Bay Area writer Joe Wadlington offers insights, courtesy of a former general manager, into just how hard running a huge and popular outpost of an iconic restaurant can be.
Wadlington begins, "I went on a date last night and the guy meekly shared that he used to be THE GENERAL MANAGER FOR THE TIMES SQUARE OLIVE GARDEN."
Then he starts dishing out details. Here, for example, is what happens when a chain famous for breadsticks runs out of its signature product, which resulted in what the manager calls the "worst shifts of my life":
Here is what staff wonders about its American customers:
Here is what happens if you want to stay all day:
And here is what happens when two customers get in a knife fight.