Currently at Darden Restaurants (DRI), which owns Longhorn Steakhouse, Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen and other chains in addition to Olive Garden, all employees are entitled to at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25 or state minimum wage.
But not all of their wages have to come from the company. In many states, employers pay tipped workers a sub-minimum wage floor, which amounts to $2.13 at the federal level and is higher in some states. Customers pay the rest in tips. If those tips don’t bring employees up to the minimum wage, companies like Darden are required to make up the difference.