Tales from the Olive Garden: Part 4 – The Birthday Song


Oh, God – that stupid birthday song. Do they still even do that any more? For the sake of anyone working there today I sincerely hope not.

Nothing was more degrading than having to round up your fellow depressed waiters and beg them to help you sing a lame song to some lame customers that 90% of the time just want the free cake and don’t even really have a birthday. They knew it. We knew it. But, we did it anyway, God help us.

The first place I really remember them singing you a birthday song was the Farrel’s Ice Cream when I was a kid. They’d bring out some ginormous ice cream confection with a bunch of sparklers all over it and sing you a silly song for your birthday. Frankly, it used to scare the hell out of me when I was small. I was terrified of sparklers for the longest time and having one in my face for 5 minutes wasn’t exactly my cup of tea. This probably has something to do with why I don’t like ice cream.

Then in the 80s when I was in college, they started doing the group birthday song at Bennigan’s. This was way back when Bennigan’s was hip and cool, so other chains began to follow suit. I guess the geniuses at Olive Garden Corporate Headquarters must have thought that no chain restaurant would be complete without the requisite birthday song. So, they put their Marketing Genius Hats on and came up with this ditty:

(Sing while clapping loudly with group of degraded waiters and acting excited or else.)

From the pasta we make
To lasagna we bake
Ba ba ba ba
We’re wising you a happy birthday!

We hope you will remember
This fond event forever
We’re wishing you a happy birthday!

It’s like family and friends
At the Olive Garden
In the true Italiano way
Hey! Hey!

So if youre looking for some fun
Try Hospitaliano
Have a happy happy day

Yeah – it really doesn’t make much sense, does it? Unfortunately, it’s seared into my brain like my address or phone number. I must have sang this 200 times while I worked there. Now, I am sure that the song they sing today at the Olive Garden is probably different from this one. Someone at Corporate must have noticed how lame this song is by now, right?

Click here for Part Three

Click here for Part Five

13 thoughts on “Tales from the Olive Garden: Part 4 – The Birthday Song

  1. You were really deeply scarred by your little stint at OG weren’t you? Personally, I’d rather have a depressed waiter than a smart-ass, smarmy or perky one with 14+ pieces of flair.

    We found some mex food hole in the wall place with killer margaritas, and their b’day song goes like this:

    “hoppy birth-day to you, cha cha cha
    hoppy birth-day to you.
    hoppy birth-day Conchita, hoppy birth-day to you.”

    I always found it rather catchy and uplifting, but it may have been the margaritas talking.

  2. I work at the Olive Garden currently, so I thought I would update you on the requisite “celebration song.” It’s to the tune of one of those insanely common “italian songs” though I don’t know the actual name of it.

    “Buena Festa, what a joyous day
    Life’s good fortune is sure to come your way.
    So come sit back and just relax
    We’ll fill your plate the italian way
    We’re so glad you came to celebrate with us today

    The new version seems shorter, but I assure you it still sucks. YAy for hospitaliano

  3. Thanks for the update Mallory. It’s so sad to hear that they still make you do this. I wonder how much the consulting fee was to change this from the old one.

    Stay strong, fellow OG worker.

  4. Pingback: Book Your Birthday at Indianapolis' Red Robin

  5. Next time you feel stuck in a time warp … and tettering, not twittering …on bordom, check out “Starter for 10” and bring back some of the other memories! (ugh!) May help.
    Just a suggeztion!

  6. By the way the “free” cake isn’t free, it’s like $8 – been so for quite a while. But if everyone at your table loves chocolate cake, why not?

    I was actually disapointed when I went to Olive Garden for my birthday and there was no song. It makes sense why they cancelled it. Although, I can’t say that service was any faster because they did. It would have been nice to have a candle though.

    What I would really love is if the Olive Garden took call ahead seating. They always have a tiny lobby with a fire marshall violation’s worth of people crowded around the doors making it practically impossible to get to the host(ess). But still, when they build new locations, they never take this into account.

  7. LOLZ! I used to work at The “OG” back in 96-97. I’d stand in the back with my buddy, Clay, and sing “Hava Nagila” or the theme to the Love Boat. *sigh* good times

  8. I work at the OG now, started about 6 months ago. I was bummed to hear we didn’t do the “Buona Festa” song anymore. I was actually looking forward to learning it, as nerdy as that is lol. However, as a server, I’m relieved I don’t have to go beg already busy and flustered co-workers to come sing with me.

  9. i worked there in oklahoma from 2004 through 2007 and we stopped singing the song in ’06 if i remember correctly… i was one happy camper to see it stop, i really enjoyed singing the song because my buddy would beat box it and me and another friend would rap it bahahaha
    the part i didnt like was gathering other employees when all they did was say “i cant right now im really busy”… well so am i jerk off, see if i sing to your table when it comes to it lol

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