Does Olive Garden Take Reservations?

A reserved sign on a table
A reserved sign on a table - Andresr/Getty Images

When it comes to eating out at a restaurant, it's wise to make a reservation in advance to ensure there's a table waiting when you arrive. Reservations are easy to make and give diners peace of mind, so why not try to make one?

While it's best to plan ahead, not every restaurant has the option for you to reserve a table. For especially popular establishments, this means you risk making the trek there only to have to wait for over an hour for a few open seats. While it can be frustrating when a restaurant doesn't accept reservations, these places do have their reasons. Some businesses don't want to risk losing customers to no-shows, while other establishments are so popular that they have enough walk-ins to serve as is.

Whatever the reasoning for skipping out on reservations, the choice is always up to the individual restaurant. For fans of Olive Garden, you might feel disappointed to know that the chain is one of the many places that do not take reservations. However, not all hope is lost. Olive Garden has another system else set in place to help you skip the wait.

Read more: The One Restaurant You Need To Visit In Every State

How You Can Skip The Line At Olive Garden

A sign for Olive Garden
A sign for Olive Garden - Bloomberg/Getty Images

While Olive Garden does not offer reservations, they do have a similar online system that customers can use. Olive Garden has a virtual waitlist that you can join before you arrive at the restaurant. This perk allows customers to check from home how long the wait for a free table is, and they can even save their space in line, too.

To take advantage of this perk, customers can use the Olive Garden app or click on the waitlist header displayed at the top of the Olive Garden website. From there, you can choose your local restaurant's location and check how long the wait may be. (Or, if you get lucky, maybe you'll find that there isn't one at all.) To save your spot, simply fill out a small form detailing the size of your party, your name, and some contact information, then click on the button that says "join waitlist" to be added to the line. For those wanting to save a bit of money, you can join the waitlist at certain times of the day that offer reduced pricing on meals.

How Olive Garden's Waitlist Differs From A Reservation

A father holds a baby while walking into an Olive Garden
A father holds a baby while walking into an Olive Garden - Bloomberg/Getty Images

Olive Garden's waitlist works almost the same as a typical reservation, but there's a key difference. If you make a reservation at a restaurant, you are pretty much guaranteed a free table upon your scheduled arrival. Olive Garden's waitlist doesn't offer that same assurance. While you can save your spot in line and see who's in front of you, you can't be sure exactly when your table will be ready.

If you still choose to take advantage of the waitlist, once you've arrived at Olive Garden, check in with the host to confirm that the online wait estimate is correct. You can also opt to just wait until you receive a text message that your table is ready. If you're running late, the host will hold your table for up to ten minutes before offering it up to another party.

The waitlist is not available to parties of over seven people, but those groups can still call the restaurant ahead of time to check on availability. While it might be a bummer to discover that Olive Garden does not offer reservations, the waitlist still saves you some time. The next time you're headed for the Italian-American chain, try it out and see if it's worth it. Hearty bowls of chicken Alfredo and ziti al forno await.

Read the original article on Daily Meal.