As a former bartender and waitress, allow me to share with you 10 things you should never do in a restaurant.
10) Allow your kids to eat foods that are not kid-friendly – It’s not cute watching your son spit his food out and make faces. It’s disgusting. If you allow your toddler to crumble the crackers and leave crumbs all over the floor, have the decency to pick it up or leave a tip that reflects your understanding that this is not accepted behavior.
9) Joke about not tipping your server – It’s understood that tipping is an accepted custom and you server is well aware of what is required to receive a good tip. If you joke about tipping or not tipping your server, the rest of your meal can be very awkward. If not for you, it certainly will be for your server.
8) Take both of the credit card slips – If you do that, you will still be charged but your server will not get a tip. See tip # 8.
7) Stiff your server – Unless you have received bad service, of course. This is not the time to protest tipping customs. If you don’t believe in tipping, eat somewhere where it’s not expected. Most of us frequent the same restaurants from time to time and, believe me, you don’t want to be known as a non-tipper. Plus, in many restaurants, your server has to give a percentage of her tips to the bartender, busboys, bar backs, hostesses, and/or cooks. Your server could very well end up paying to serve you if you decide not to tip.
6) Complain about the food unless something is genuinely wrong (i.e. your steak is undercooked, you asked for no onions and you got extra onions) – You ordered it, and if it’s made properly don’t send it back. If you don’t like it, don’t order it next time.
5) Ignore your server – Your server is a person. He probably has three other tables just like you. If your server is at your table, put your conversation on hold for a few seconds. If you treat your server well, your dinner will run smoothly and you will be able to better enjoy your evening.
4) Flirt with any of the employees – You will look like a desperate jerk. Restaurant employees are not there for your personal enjoyment. Besides, the only reason they are being nice to you is because it’s their job.
3) Show up on a busy night with a hungry stomach – Plan accordingly. If you know there’s usually an hour’s wait on a certain night either make reservations, eat somewhere else, or grab a snack beforehand. No matter who you are or what you say, you can’t be seated before people that arrived before you.
2) Talk loudly (including talking on cell phones) – you’re inside. Use your inside voice. I’m sure your jokes are funny but not everyone wants to hear them. You’re usually in relatively close quarters so try to have respect for your fellow patrons.
1) Act rudely – yes, you are a paying customer but snapping your fingers at someone, pounding on the table, and actually getting up from your table and finding your server are unacceptable ways to grab your servers attention. It implies that you feel that your needs are more important than the other patrons. If it simply can’t wait, politely get the attention of the server nearest you.
If you make sure to leave these naughty behaviors at home when you go out, you’ll have a much more enjoyable experience.