Workers Reveal What It's Really Like To Work At LongHorn Steakhouse

With more than 500 locations nationwide, it's safe to say that LongHorn Steakhouse is one of America's most popular chains for chowing down on slabs of grilled beef, but no one can deny that the experience of working in a restaurant is rarely as enjoyable as eating in one. While diners across the United States enjoy steaks prepared after the brand's 20-day-aging minimum, plenty of staff seem to find themselves biting off more than they were prepared to chew when accepting positions at the steakhouse, and we're not just talking about servers facing hangry clientele. 

From hosts and cooks all the way up to management, no position appears to be immune from the pitfalls and perils of working at LongHorn Steakhouse, and many share the same concerns regardless of whether they're front of house or back. Of course, no work environment is perfect (or we'd all be clamoring for the same interviews), so it wouldn't be fair to expect no complaints from employees. We'd almost all rather be retired or working for ourselves, and we all have bad days that leave us frustrated and emotional, so let's not cancel a company over some bad online reviews from former employees. 

In fact, plenty of current and former staff have great things to say about their time spent at LongHorn, and it's all below. From the highs to the lows and in no particular order, here's what it's really like to work at LongHorn Steakhouse, all revealed by the workers themselves.

Salaried managers work too much

Managers everywhere are likely to say they work too much (and so would most other employees, too), but it seems that the salaried managers at LongHorn Steakhouse put in far more than 40 hours per week. One former manager on Indeed complained of being forced to spend a whopping 70 hours per week in the restaurant, effectively reducing their salary to almost half of what it should be. The same ex-employee complained that it was essentially impossible to have weekends off without seniority, and implied that taking time off on holidays might have been out of the question, too, venting that LongHorn was only closed two days out of the entire year.

Another former manager from a Miami location seemed to fare slightly better, but agreed that the workweek typically consisted of at least 60 hours and the scheduling, in general, was a sore spot. A former Wisconsin manager's company review sheds a little more light on the scheduling process for managers, claiming that they're hired for 50 hours per week (not the full-time standard of 40), but made the same complaint of being required to work far beyond what was promised. It's hard enough feeling forced to agree to 10 extra hours per week, but being pushed so much farther doesn't sit well with managers nationwide.

Working at LongHorn Steakhouse is great for fast cash

A major reason young people love working as servers is the potential for quick cash, and LongHorn Steakhouse seems to be one restaurant that actually delivers on that front. While one former server and bartender from Woodstock, Georgia, only gave the company three stars overall on Indeed, they admitted that it offered a real opportunity for great money in a short period of time, listing "high pay" as one of the company's pros and giving the restaurant a solid 5 stars for compensation. Of course, with any customer service gig, tips are often dependent on the quality of the server, but at least we know there's potential at LongHorn Steakhouse.

A former bartender/server in Phoenix, Arizona, agreed that good money is "there to be made if you're willing to work for it," adding some confidence that quality income is possible at LongHorn Steakhouses across the country, and not just in one area. Both employees agreed that there were some obstacles to achieving such great take-home cash, but insisted it was possible for those willing to put in the effort.

You'll never know your real hours

Restaurant employees, particularly those in customer-facing roles like serving and bartending, rarely know exactly when a shift will finish in advance, and that's understandable since no one can know precisely when customers will stop pouring in for the night. At LongHorn Steakhouse, though, the brand's management style seems to take the uncertainty a step farther, cutting staff an hour into a shift without warning, or forcing them to stay much longer than anticipated. While the latter at least comes with some extra income to soften the blow, the former is a bit of a morale crusher and certainly doesn't leave staff with the confidence that their job will actually help them pay their bills.

With labor costs so low for tipped employees, it's unclear why LongHorn is so keen to send servers home, rather than let them wait for potential diners to arrive, though this position isn't the only victim of the restaurant's income-busting tactic. A line cook from Denham Springs, Louisiana, alleges that even scheduled hours for kitchen staff are cut by corporate higherups, sending employees home with less pay than anticipated and leaving a stressed management team to make up for the absences.

Host is code for busser

Servers and cooks may be the first roles you consider when imagining the restaurant labor environment, but few quality dining experiences come without the assistance of hosts and bussers — the first and last employees to round out a customer's meal. LongHorn Steakhouse hires hosts, but it turns out that they expect this position to also serve in the capacity of busser, even though it's not part of the title. Still, not everyone thinks this is a reason to bail on the job: One former host who griped about having to bus tables still rated the brand a full 5 stars on Glassdoor.

Not everyone is forgiving of the misleading job title, though. A former host from Decatur, Georgia, complained on Indeed that there simply is no host position at LongHorn Steakhouse, and having to pick up the slack for the lack of individualized hosts and bussers was not worth the exhaustion that the combo-job required. This review went a step further to note that, at this location, "hosts" were also required to deliver food to tables at times.

LongHorn Steakhouse employees can chow down for 50% off

While there isn't a universal consensus on discounts or completely free meals for employees of LongHorn Steakhouse, there is good news for hungry workers. Across the board, former employees seem to note that they received at least 50% off entrees during their shifts, and side dishes and drinks generally came completely complimentary. A common commendation from nearly all former employees commenting on food perks was their appreciation for free unlimited bread, making it only fair to wonder just how good that bread must be to warrant so many mentions in both positive and negative employment reviews.

It's not unusual for perks to improve the higher one climbs the corporate ladder, and LongHorn Steakhouse appears to be no exception here. While servers generally enjoy discounted food, some management positions are welcome to free food as well (when they can find the time to chow down). If the way to a person's heart is through their stomach, LongHorn Steakhouse appears to be making a wise decision by offering free or steeply discounted meals to its hardworking staff.

It's more than a little dramatic

Ah, the drama of the workplace. Offices are notorious for corporate politics but other work environments, including the foodservice industry, are far from immune to the gossip and drama of interpersonal relationships gone awry. If there's one word that appears in more employment reviews of LongHorn Steakhouse than any other, it may well be "drama." One former host/busser in Garner, North Carolina, alleges that managers gossip with employees and display clear favoritism that only increases the drama among staff, and they're hardly the only person to level this specific accusation.

While some cons can be overlooked, the culture of drama at LongHorn Steakhouse has proven to be too much for some to handle. A former server in Columbia, South Carolina, suffered so much drama that they quit after just three months, specifically calling out stolen tips, petty coworkers, and, of course, favoritism from management. Another former server in Cookeville, Tennessee, admitted that LongHorn was a good spot to potentially rake in serious income, but not good enough to fare better than a 2-star review thanks to "tons of drama," once again pinpointing favoritism as a clear issue.

The side work is intense at LongHorn Steakhouse

Side work is the bane of many a server's existence. It's those extra chores assigned by management that must be completed before a server can leave at the end of the shift and, since most servers earn a base rate of under $3 per hour and side work doesn't yield tips, it's essentially free, forced labor. Unfortunately, just about every restaurant comes with these annoying odd jobs, like wiping menus and slicing lemons, and any experienced server will expect to perform the mundane tasks, but side work at LongHorn Steakhouse appears to be a few steps beyond the norm.

One former server from Millbury, Massachusetts, described the amount of side work as "crazy," while another from San Antonio, Texas, described it as "excessive," specifying that it could take over two full hours to complete. That's a lot of labor for a server to be virtually donating to an employer. And while we might find it reasonable to assume this former employee could be exaggerating a bit, or was perhaps just a slow mover, another former server concurred that her shifts came with two hours of side work, too. Whether these tasks are unusually difficult, or LongHorn just piles too many on each employee, it's clear from reviews that there's a considerable imbalance here. 

It's every LongHorn employee for themselves

We've already learned that beef between employees may be the true specialty of the house at LongHorn Steakhouse, but sometimes the right level of support can help a person get through just about anything. Sadly, it appears that support is hard to come by here, and a former server from Southaven, Mississippi, who managed to last more than a year in the position, minces no words proclaiming, "there is no team work" at LongHorn. That may be a somewhat vague blanket statement, but further reviews provide some more specificity, and it only seems to get worse. 

When help is hard to come by at the local level, one benefit of working for a large company like LongHorn Steakhouse is that there's always someone higher up on the chain of command to appeal to if you feel you're being treated unjustly. Unfortunately, a LongHorn bartender from Columbus, Georgia, claims that corporate doesn't provide employee support either. As company culture often comes from the top down, perhaps this helps explain why so many employees find the management to be unsympathetic to most concerns.

Breaks working at LongHorn Steakhouse are a rarity

Even superstar employees need a moment of rest now and then, and rarely is that truer than in the restaurant industry, where both the kitchen and house staff frantically work to meet the expectations of demanding customers. At LongHorn Steakhouse, though, it seems you're more likely to find vegetarians than breaks. And it's not just that breaks tend to be cut short — apparently, they're sometimes nonexistent.

A former line cook from Destin, Florida, appears to have loved the job, rating it 5 stars on Indeed, but still confessed there were no breaks at all during the "extremely busy" shifts. That's a lot of standing and hustling for someone handling sizzling steaks. Similarly, a LongHorn Steakhouse dishwasher complained on Reddit that he was offered a free employee meal during his shifts but never got a chance to eat it because there were no breaks. And one former employee from Amarillo, Texas, admitted to good pay and plenty of available hours, but was exasperated to find that those hours came with absolutely NO BREAKS (yep, those angry caps belong to the reviewer), even during shifts lasting more than 10 hours. LongHorn Steakhouse does not appear to offer much rest for the weary.

It's better for part-time expectations

As we've seen from manager reviews already, there are definitely full-time jobs available at LongHorn Steakhouse, though those salaried positions come with time demands far beyond what any review appears to want. Still, that's not the only reason that this particular restaurant chain is better suited to part-time employment. For those ambitious go-getters hoping to hustle hard and bank as much as possible from plenty of shifts at LongHorn, there's bad news in employee reviews.

A former host from Zanesville, Ohio, claims the position started with a solid set of weekly hours nearly equivalent to a full-time gig, but those much-appreciated hours were cut in half with no warning and no explanation. A former server from Gulfport, Mississippi, left primarily positive remarks in a 4-star review, but did confirm that cut hours were a noteworthy issue. Before you say that this is normal for servers, hosts, and even some cooks in the restaurant biz, pay close attention to this review from a former utility person at LongHorn, who appears to have subtly made the same complaint when noting that the company was "very cheap about labor." It seems no one at LongHorn is safe from the threat of inexplicably losing hours, except those unfortunate managers working gobs of unpaid overtime.

The best money is in serving

Servers in the American restaurant industry often struggle to earn a livable wage. Yet the promise of towering tips keeps many of them steadily coming back for the daily gamble of how good the shift can be, and often keeps the more successful servers from venturing off to new horizons with guaranteed wages that may be steady but don't offer the tantalizing promise of a big night. Still, without experiencing all sides of a situation, it's difficult to get a clear picture and, in this case, it could be hard to say who really earns more in the long run. But one former employee of LongHorn Steakhouse has unwittingly taken on the experiment for all of us.

In an employment review credited as a former assistant culinary manager, Rachel W. describes four years working in a dizzying array of positions at LongHorn. Despite working her way up from line cook to management, she says the best money came from serving, so she eventually pivoted back to that position, herself, where she claims to have earned double the money in just over half the time. Unless Rachel was just the world's most charming server, raking in massive tips that others could only dream about, it seems pretty clear that her accidental experiment reveals where the real money is at LongHorn.

LongHorn is a cleaner environment than many other restaurants

We've all wondered just how clean a restaurant's kitchen was while sitting at a table or two over the years. While we may never truly have wanted to know the answers, there are plenty of people who do know. From servers and cooks to dishwashers and bussers, there are dozens of people in any restaurant who can tell you just how clean (or unclean) your dishes are and how sanitary the kitchen surfaces and refrigerators are, too, and they do so in their online reviews. But have you ever wondered how this impacts the staff, themselves?

Apparently, it's enough of a concern for some potential employees that they tend to ask around before considering positions at new restaurants (hey, they'll be eating there, too!). There's good news for anyone considering working, or eating, at LongHorn Steakhouse: It's clean! One former bartender from Tampa, Florida, not only agreed that it was clean, but that LongHorn had "very high standards for cleanliness" compared to other places she's worked, so if a clean working environment is high on your list of job requirements, LongHorn Steakhouse may be the place for you.