What It's Really Like To Work At Ruth's Chris Steak House

For restaurant owners, happy employees are one of the two main keys to a thriving business (the other component is, you know, customers). That's why it's troublesome to see that between 2019 and 2020, the overall turnover rate for the food and hospitality industry increased almost 53% to an astronomically high 130% (via QSR Magazine). Nation's Restaurant News reports that as of January 2022, the rate of employees quitting has jumped from 4.8% to 6.9%, while the hiring rate has remained the same for 2020 and 2021 at a little over 8%.

It's not just a difficult industry for owners either — as an employee, it's equally tough (and if you've ever worked in the food industry, you can attest to this statement). Long hours, low pay, little or no benefits, no real room (or opportunity) for growth, and less than ideal scheduling are all contributing factors to worker dissatisfaction. However, according to Indeed, employees at Ruth's Chris Steak House have an overall positive view of working for the company. The company must be doing something right to differentiate itself from other restaurant employers.

But is working at this upscale dining chain really that great? There has to be a downside. The answers lie below, so read on to see what it's really like to work at Ruth's Chris Steak House.

Caring is at the core of the company's values

Ruth Fertel (the founder of the Ruth's Chris Steak House chain) knew that her lofty aspirations for restaurant glory weren't attainable without the help from those around her (via Ruth's Chris Steak House). She made a promise to take care of those who had helped her achieve her successes. The company claims that Fertel's practice of showing genuine care and compassion lives on in the company's values.

In addition to showing genuine care for others (including yourself), Ruth's Chris Steak House cites wisdom, courage, justice, humanity, temperance, and transcendence as its main corporate values. One reviewer on Indeed remarked that "Everyone cares for one another. Sure things would get heated every now and then, however, at the end of the day, it's all love." The company also encourages its employees to be curious and educate themselves, especially if they have an interest in moving up through the ranks.

Scheduling is flexible — to a degree

Singer-actress Sophie Tucker said it right when she sang, "It's human nature to complain" (via YouTube). Human beings complain. It's just a fact of life. Though according to The Cut, some individuals engage in a positive, constructive style of complaining (called sandwiching) while others just never seem to be happy.

Enter the employee schedule — arguably one of the most hotly debated work-related topics known to mankind.

On multiple job review websites like Indeed, Glassdoor, and SimplyHired, the scheduling at Ruth's Chris Steak House was brought up quite frequently. Some took a positive spin on this, citing that the schedule was incredibly flexible with hours, while others were less than enthused. "We all have to work all holidays" and "long hours and never have holidays off" were the most common critiques on Glassdoor. Hours of operation vary depending on location — one former employee stated that their restaurant was open 365 days with 15-hour days — while other Ruth's Chris Steak House's are open six days a week with evenings only. Some are open for lunch, while others are not.

It's true that working on holidays is a bummer, but honestly, that just means more tips. "The harder you work and the more shifts you pick up, the better the checks," one employee stated on Indeed. "All jobs have their ups and downs, but it's what you do with them that determines your happiness in your place of work." That's the positive spin Ruth would look for.

Internal growth is an actual thing

There are some places of employment that claim they always look to promote from the inside, and then hire outside managers who don't have a clue what's going on. But since, according to the Ruth's Chris Steak House website, over 42% of its management team has worked from the bottom up, that scenario doesn't really seem to apply here.

Apparently, this restaurant chain offers thorough onsite training, as mentioned by an employee on SimplyHired. "Starting off, you have to work from the bottom and work your way up through each position until you reach your desired position. A good way to look at it is you will get plenty of experience. During that time, there are always training coaches during each shift to assist you in any questions and concerns you may have." They also offer a Manager in Development Program (MID for short), which is briefly talked about on their company hiring page. Other former employees on Glassdoor commented that, although it's difficult to work your way up, the management does recognize dedicated employees. Unlike some restaurant chains, it actually is possible to start as a busser and work your way up to management.

Employees are paid well for the industry

As mentioned before, Ruth Fertel took pride in taking care of and rewarding those who helped her build her steak house empire. This is most definitely reflected in the salary that servers are paid at a Ruth's Chris Steak House. Currently, the federal minimum wage is $7.25 for non-tipped employees and $2.13 for tipped, according to Ogletree Deakins. Each state implements its own minimum and tipped wages, though at least 19 states prefer to just keep in line with the somewhat dismal federal numbers (via Minimum Wage Facts and Analysis).

According to Indeed, the average wage for a server in the United States comes in at a little over $15.00 per hour and averages around $100 in reportable tips per day. On Glassdoor, the median salary for a server at a Ruth's Chris Steak House is around $20 per hour but could jump up to $34 per hour, though it varies on length of employment and the location of the restaurant. When factoring in additional compensation (like tips and bonuses), this $20 per hour wage increases to an hourly wage of $26.

Redditors confirmed this dollar amount. "The servers at the one in downtown Indy made 75k a year and upwards," one remarked. "I live in an area with low cost of living and our (servers) make around $25-30/hr."

The benefits are pretty decent

Many employees had good things to say about Ruth's Chris benefits on Glassdoor, but one complaint is that the company insurance kicks in after a year of working there. 

Overall, employees — both former and current — were incredibly positive about the fact that they were even offered benefits. According to a 2019 Success Report by Toast, only 31% of restaurants offer health insurance, 21% offer dental, 18% offer vision, and 11% provide disability coverage. Only 14% of restaurant owners said they would consider offering paid family leave to their staff.  

Perhaps that's Ruth Fertel's concept of caring showing through, because as one Glassdoor reviewer states, "As far as serving in a restaurant, benefits are usually non-existent. Here at this Ruth's Chris franchise, they offer a 401k program in which they match up to 6%, health and life insurance, and paid vacation days." Job-Applications.com also says that full-time employees are granted stock options as well (the company went public in August 2005, as documented on Market Watch).

Shift meals (usually) happen

It would be downright bizarre if employees at Ruth's Chris Steak House didn't get at least one meal per shift. How else would they be able to make recommendations about the food? Although federal law does not guarantee the right to a meal break, many states mandate lunch breaks in some form. The exact rules are determined by the type of work you do and by the state you live in (via PayCor). 

One employee reviewer on Indeed claimed that the particular Ruth's Chris Steak House they were working at actually scheduled their 30-minute lunch break at the beginning of their shift as opposed to the middle or end. Other than this one specific critique — the reviews were favorable, stating that for most shifts, meals were offered. A few satisfied commenters on Glassdoor even mentioned an extra perk — 50% off of meals when off the clock. 

It makes you wonder what kind of delectable dishes the employees get to sink their teeth into.

Tipping out is higher, but it's worth it

Steakhouses are one of the types of restaurants where servers get the best tips. However, servers at Ruth's Chris have to share some of their tips with other employees. Tipping out is a standard practice that ensures all restaurant workers get a share of the night's financial spoils, whether it be the kitchen crew, bussers, runners, servers assistants, or hosts, reports 7Shifts. While this isn't put into practice at every single food establishment in America, it is quite common.

In a nutshell, an establishment like Ruth's Chris Steak House will have a certain designated percentage that's pulled from tips. This percentage is then split up among various employees. This percentage can vary from restaurant to restaurant and normally hovers around 20-30%, according to Restaurant Business Online. One Redditor opens up about the tip-out percentage at their Ruth's Chris Steak House location, saying that at 35%, it's pretty high, but that they "all deserve that 35%." But that doesn't mean servers and bartenders don't get paid well after tips are split. One bartender on another Reddit thread said that pay "depends on location ... Average is about $170, but on a good night I walk with $230+. Most I've ever walked with was $600."

Ruth's Chris locations in Indiana offered free meals to employees and their families during the pandemic

Restaurant Business Online reported that by May 2020, the pandemic had already obliterated 5.9 million jobs for restaurant workers. Like most other restaurant businesses, Ruth's Chris laid off many staff members at the beginning of the pandemic.

"When this whole tragedy hit, the first thing we thought is, 'What is going to happen to our seventy-five employees?'" Tim Ruys, an operating partner for all the Ruth's Chris Steak House locations in Indiana, told WNDU. While he had to lay off many employees at the start of the pandemic, he decided to help them out a little bit with free food. All laid-off employees could receive a free family-sized meal Monday through Friday. One employee told news outlet WBST, "I always knew that I worked for a great company, but it's in times like this where you see how they're responding to it and that they have my back and are being encouraging and doing anything they possibly can, it's amazing."