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It’s My Turn Now, Seasons 52 Manager Says

April 29, 2019

by Darden Restaurants

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It’s My Turn Now, Seasons 52 Manager Says

Service Manager Karen Romano, who has worked for Darden for 19 years, now has the time to focus on her own goals — so she took the leap into management.

Photo Credit: Seasons 52

It’s My Turn Now, Seasons 52 Manager Says

April 29, 2019

by Darden Restaurants

General Topics:
Brand Categories:

Karen Romano, a new manager at Seasons 52, feels as if her time has finally come. When her son, Michael, graduated from high school last year and needed her less, she turned her focus to her own goals and took the leap into management. “My life can be about me for a change,” she said. “Everything aligned perfectly.”

A 19-year Darden team member, Karen spent nine years with Red Lobster before joining the Seasons 52 restaurant in Cherry Hill, NJ, where she was promoted to service manager March 1. She said she was “blown away” when she visited Seasons 52 for the first time. “I envisioned myself there as part of something bigger and better. My dreams have come true.” 

During her decade with the brand, she said she waffled about becoming a manager, but as she took on more responsibility in the past few months, she gained confidence. The service manager job opened up, and she and Managing Partner CJ Weiss decided the time was right.

Karen loves interacting with guests and team members. She said she treats her guests as if they are entering her own home. “Sometimes I forget that my restaurant is a restaurant. I’m proud of it. It’s like the second home I could never afford!” 

She nurtures team members by being fair and leading by example. “I live by this rule: 'Mean what you say, say what you mean, but don’t say it mean.' ”

“The thing that makes Karen stand out is that she excels at trying to excel,” CJ said. “There is no job too big or too small for Karen to take ownership of if it will make life in the restaurant better for her team or her guests.”

Foodservice makes a wonderful career, she said. “With the flexible hours, you can practically write your own schedule. You build relationships that last your whole life. I consider my Seasons 52 family my second family. The money and benefits are incredible. I will always be grateful — and loyal — to Darden.”

Karen has one more dream, and anyone who drives past her New Jersey home can probably guess what it is — she longs to live near the beach. “My house looks like it belongs on the beach,” she said. “It’s surrounded with river rocks, and I have a boat out front filled with seashells. The oar that hangs from my porch has the latitude and longitude coordinates for Lido Key, FL, one of my favorite spots.” 

Karen and her boyfriend, Bud Madden, spend every vacation in Florida, hunting seashells and watching the birds. “I would love to move to Sarasota in a few years,” she said. “Hopefully, there will be a spot for me at the Seasons 52 restaurant there!”