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Olive Garden, and Non Smoker's rights

Updated on April 15, 2013

Olive Garden, and Non Smoker's Rights

Having no children at home, my wife and I enjoy eating out on a semi-regular basis. We have many restaurants that we enjoyed dining with. But, with the soup and salad and the delicious cuisine choices offered, we have placed Olive garden towards the top, with one exception.

My wife suffers from Asthma and is very sensitive to cigarette smoke. It is a condition we have learned to make adjustments for. Often when we arrive at a public building or shopping area, we have to look carefully to insure there is no one smoking near the entrance. Even walking through the parking lot can present a dangerous condition. Although we do carry a rescue inhaler with us, avoidance of the situation is always the more desired option.

Since Olive Garden is where we frequent the most, it is the one we have had the most run-ins with. On more than one occasion we have arrived only to have our path into the restaurant blocked by a barrier of cigarette smoke, emanating from the benches placed directly outside the entrance to the restaurant, along with the ashtrays which often contain smoldering embers from the cigarettes belonging to other smoking customers.

I have approached the manager of the establishments in three different locations and expressed my grievances about the placement of the smoking benches outside the entrance. I explained the difficulties we were having and pointed out that many other customers might be having some of the same difficulties entering or leaving the facilities.

Every manager assured me they understood and would forward my concerns to the corporate offices. Often the manager on duty said they felt the same way but they had to adhere to the guidelines set for the placement of smoking areas. As of yet, no changes have been incorporated at any of the four Olive Gardens we visited.

Olive Garden is not alone in this, Outback Steak house, Macaroni Grill, Smokey Bones, Appleby’s, Cracker Barrel and Ruby Tuesday’s, as well as many other popular restaurants, all have similar smoking area arrangements. I feel though, the restaurants are trying so hard to protect the smokers comfort; they inadvertently forget the rights of the non-smoking patrons.

Realizing that space is a deciding factor when making changes in the areas surrounding the restaurants, I believe for a small amount of money expended, the smokers could be provided an area adjacent to the entrance. It might involve removal of an area of grass along the sidewalk, perhaps twenty feet from the entrance; with additional benches and a covered area leading to the entrance, for rainy days. But this would enable non-smoking customers to enjoy the previously placed benches and waiting areas outside with out feeling encumbered.

A customer should not have to hold their breath, entering or leaving a restaurant to prevent the ingestion of the smoke. I realize that others have a right to smoke, but aren’t non smokers also entitled to patronization of a restaurant without being forced to breathe cigarette smoke?

If we are to enter into a politically correct society, where everyone is entitled to freedom to enjoy life without interfering with another’s rights, then we need to see changes that will ensure the rights of everyone.


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Registered :: Thu Jun 10 01:29:03 UTC 2010
Title :: Olive Garden and Non Smoker's rights
Category :: Publication
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    • must65gt profile image

      must65gt 7 years ago

      Olive Garden agreed with me, I did receive one call form corporate but as of yet, nothing has been done and its been almost a month. Thanks for reading Lamme, God Bless

    • Lamme profile image

      Lamme 7 years ago

      Great suggestions.

    • must65gt profile image

      must65gt 7 years ago

      Thanks for your comments Hello; I believe it is an important issue that all businesses should pay attention too. We have found this issue at Wal-mart, Target, as well as most of the larger retail facilities. Thanks for taking the time to read it.

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 7 years ago from London, UK

      Very well written and I enjoyed reading it. I agree with you fully. A point worth while rasing. Thank you.