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What makes a family-friendly restaurant?

Olive Garden is a great family friendly restaurant for parents dining out with kids.

At Olive Garden, we use the term "Hospitaliano" to describe our passion for delighting guests: more than just serving great food, we want each guest to experience Italian hospitality at its finest, striving to make each guest feel like part of our family. That's the inspiration behind the slogan "We're all family here."

We regularly hear real stories from guests across the country who have been positively impacted by their time at Olive Garden. Here are just a few of the stories that embody our favorite kinds of moments, where our guests feel welcomed and can enjoy family time together at Olive Garden. So what makes a restaurant really family-friendly? We'll let these guests answer for us.

Sometimes "Family Friendly" can be more meaningful than even we expect!
Recently, we played a role in helping John expand his family.

Several months ago, my family and I visited and were served by a young man named Christian. I will say he is the best waiter I have had at any restaurant: he took great care of our four-year-old son this visit, making sure he got an extra bowl of olives with cheese. We were happy, and I really felt our experience was personal to him.

This was no ordinary trip, however: my wife went into active labor during our meal!

Christian was absolutely wonderful in getting our meals quickly packed in to-go boxes and prompting settling the bill. Again, I felt he took it personally to make sure we had everything we needed. This seems like such a small thing, but given the long month of waiting for my wife to go into labor and countless visits to the doctor in preparation for our daughter to arrive, it was a gesture that did not go unnoticed.

Today we visited the location for the first time since my wife went into labor. We asked our waitress if Christian still worked there. I was not sure that he would remember, the birth being over 3 months ago, but not only did he rush over to see the baby, he made sure our waitress also brought a bowl of olives with cheese to my now five-year-old!

This was a special touch to me knowing that Christian takes such pride in his work and his relationship with his customers. A little later a chef even came out to meet the "Olive Garden baby."

I want to say thank you to the staff of this location for truly making us feel like family.

John W. Testimonial from Birmingham, Alabama

At Olive Garden, personal service doesn't necessarily stop at the front door, as Cathy discovered when her car died in our parking lot.

My friend and I like to chat in the car in the Olive Garden parking lot, often for a long time. Normally, I'm more conscious of what I'm doing, but my car died with the key in it during one of these visits.

Britney, a line cook at Olive Garden, offered her jumping cables. She didn't have hers with her, but she ran next door to get the cables from a friend, right then. What really stood out is that I told her she didn't really need to go through all this trouble.

But she just said, "You're a guest of Olive Garden, it's my responsibility to take care of you!"

And I was blown away by that. Who says that?!?! She saved me a lot of money and inconvenience.
This girl really made me feel Olive Garden's "When you're here, you're family" tag line.

Cathy P. Testimonial from Roanoke, Virginia

Hospitaliano means making every meal just right for each diner. We strive to do that every time, and pay special attention when allergies are involved.

My son has peanut and egg allergies, and this was my first time visiting Olive Garden with him. As one can imagine, food allergies are life and death, and as a parent, the stress of that can be crippling. Well, visiting this location left me SO refreshed and happy that I will be placing Olive Garden on our "safe list" of restaurants.

1) Our server Robert, although he was new and did not have all of the answers, listened to my concerns and answered each question I had. He went to the back to ask the cooks and co- workers about safety and menu items.

2) He was very attentive in ensuring that my son's food was okay and not causing any adverse reactions.

3) Outside of the food allergy concerns, he was just a GREAT waiter, smiling and very empathic.

Many places we've visited fail to take the food allergy concerns seriously, but I can say that THIS Olive Garden really left me feeling happy and confident that we could make return visits and the stress of it all could be lowered considerably. My heart was so happy and thankful when I left this location yesterday. I was moved to tears with how kind and attentive Robert was when we visited.

Thank you so much and we WILL be visiting again...probably regularly.

Cinnamon C. Testimonial from Chula Vista, California

You might think our claim that everyone is family at Olive Garden is just all talk. Not so! In fact, for some members of Olive Garden's extended family, actions speak louder than words.

For a college sign language class, a group of friends and I went to the River Town Crossing's Olive Garden and used sign language the entire time and did not talk.

Our waiter went above and beyond to make sure we could communicate with him. He brought us a pad of paper and a pen. He also had papers that he had written questions on such as "Soup or salad" and "Is everything tasting good?"

What especially blew me away was that he did not leave out things that he would have normally spoken to one of his regular guests. It would have been easier for him to not warn us that our plates were hot or to not say thank you because that would mean he would have to write it out on a note. Instead, he went the extra mile to treat us just like any other hearing customer. He wrote, "Be careful, the plates are hot," and he also wrote, "Thank you."

He was not aware that we were actually all hearing and having this experience for one of our sign language classes. He went above and beyond and did not skip any steps that most people would have skipped over because it was the easier way. He was a fantastic waiter and for sign language students who plan on becoming interpreters, this was a fantastic experience. We always hear about the negative experiences the Deaf community has when going to restaurants, but this was not one of them. I am unbelievably grateful for him and the way he treated us when we were signing and not talking. I would recommend this Olive Garden to any one of my Deaf friends simply because I know that they would receive the best service from your staff. I want to make sure that Sam going above and beyond is recognized because it truly impacted me.

Christine H. Testimonial from Grandville, Michigan

And family takes care of each other. One customer in a particularly difficult situation discovered some Olive Garden team members will literally go out of the way for a guest in need.

I was in Roanoke, VA on business and leaving early the next morning on a flight back to Nashville, TN. After enjoying a very good meal and very good service at Olive Garden, I left the restaurant and headed back to my hotel. Two hours later, I realized I had left my credit card on the table, but by now, the restaurant had closed.

I phoned anyway so I could leave a message. To my surprise, the manager on duty answered, and I proceeded to tell him what happened. He confirmed I had left the card at the restaurant. I was going to ask if I could come by the restaurant to pick it up, when he offered to personally deliver my credit card to the hotel. Wow! That's an exceptional level of customer service.

He showed up at my hotel around 20 minutes later, and I met him in the lobby. All I was able to do was thank him. Not everyone would have done this, and I am extremely grateful. His actions confirmed for me that there are generous and gracious serving people in this world. Olive Garden, my hat is off to you for hiring such a good person!

James V. Testimonial from Roanoke, Virginia
What's your story?

Do you have your own tale of a recent visit to Olive Garden?
We invite you to share what made your recent Olive Garden visit special.

You can always forge brand new memories with your family at Olive Garden.
Find an Olive Garden near you to create a new shareable experience of your own.