The Olive Garden has been like family for Jeffrey Babineau.
Babineau has been working for the Italian restaurant chain for more than 20 years, starting in Poughkeepsie in 1996 as a server. He was recently promoted to general manager of its new location in Yonkers at the Cross County Shopping Center.
"It feels good," Babineau said. "It's something I've been striving for. I'm very happy about it."
At Olive Garden, Babineau has filled many different roles at many different roles. As general manager, he is responsible for leading his team, including hiring and interviewing employees.
"I want to make sure all my guests have a great dining experience," Babineau said. "I make sure everybody is doing their job to their utmost ability. I make sure everything runs smoothly."
Working at an Olive Garden could be challenging for anyone trying to watch their waistline, but Babineau said he tries to focus on their salads.
"I try not to eat too many breadsticks," Babineau said. "I do cave every now and then, but I try to pick healthier choices. We have lots of good dishes."
Babineau's favorite dish is the chicken piccata, which is grilled chicken topped with a lemon garlic butter sauce, sun-dried tomatoes and capers and Served with parmesan-crusted zucchini.
Every day at a restaurant is different and Babineau said they try to keep things running as smoothly as possible.
"Sometimes you do get your hiccups here and there," Babineau said. "This is the restaurant business- things happen. But I like to walk out of there on a daily basis and know we did a good job."
The best part of the job for Babineau is when he sees his guests and employees are both happy.
"When they love what they're doing, that means they're going to do a great job," Babineau said.