Whether it’s lunch service or a fancy wine and dine, you have to respect the people serving your food. The world does not revolve around you and the brief amount of time you spend with them. Yes, the customer is always right but you don’t have to be a dick about it.
Keep in mind that your waiter is probably in the middle of a 12-hour long shift and doing overtime on top of that. Your sourness is not welcome. Whether you’re conscious of your tells or not, here are 14 handy tips from waiters themselves, to make sure you’re in their good books.
1. Actually read the menu
Reading the full menu description makes sure you fully understand what you want. Waiters hate when the food comes out ‘wrong’, and you assume it’s their fault.
2. Don’t be passive aggressive
Don’t be that person badmouthing the food or the server when they’re away from the table. You don’t realise it, but you’re probably announcing loud enough they can hear you that you don’t have enough salt or how your crispy fries aren’t crispy. When they come over and you say everything’s fine, it’s incredibly frustrating.
3. Talk to them like you would everyone else
Use your words and don’t forget your manners. Ushering them over, or even worse pulling their clothes to get their attention will get you into their bad books.
4. When you’re done, don’t overstay your welcome
Whilst it’s great you’re enjoying the ambience and you’re buying that extra drink, camping, when it’s slammed, is not very considerate. Please be courteous to following customers, the business and the waiter by leaving so they can turn over the table.
5. Don’t make more work for them
Crumbling straw wrappers and tissues and throwing them/putting them behind condiments etc. isn’t fun for anyone. How old are you, again?
6. Don’t ignore waiters
It’s a waiter’s biggest peeve when they come to greet you or take your order and they have to stand there and wait for you to finish your conversation. Their time is limited and they probably have seven other tables to handle. If you slow down the service, everyone, including you, will have timing issues with their food.
7. Don’t interrupt
A waiter has very few lines, “Hey my name is…”, “what would you like?“ and “is there anything else?” You have to be a next-level jerkface to be rude enough to cut them with I WANT WATER AND A BURGER. You aren’t speeding things up and it’s just plain rude.
8. If you can help it, remove your belongings from the table
If your waiter has four, extremely hot plates in their hands and they’re coming to put them on your table, help them out and move your stuff. Blankly staring at them and ignoring their polite questions to move your things is not called for.
9. Doing their job to help them isn’t actually helpful
Don’t stack your plates and don’t put things into glassware. A big pile of plates is heavy and it makes carrying them awkward. Waiters tend to have a specific way of carrying plates, so just leave it to them. Tissues and other debris you stuff into the glass usually get stuck back in the kitchen.
10. Tip efficiently and don’t be rude about it
A waiter on Reddit by the name of MissJoey shares her horror story:
“I had a guy put a $20 (approx £15) on the table when I came to greet him and his wife and say, ‘This is your tip. However, every time you do something wrong, I will remove a dollar.’ I thought he was joking, so I chuckled and asked, ‘like what?’ He takes the $20 off the table and replaces it with exactly $19 (approx £14.50). Who carries enough bills to do that? He responds with: ‘like that’.”
11. Don’t be an inconvenience
Why would you go to the only table with dirty stuff on it?
12. Don’t be that person that tries to get a meal for free
The pure fact you’re trying so hard means your reason doesn’t merit a free meal.
13. Remember you’re in public
Another waiter from Reddit, known as randiuse:
“I bartend at a hotel restaurant. We had a family staying for a few days, (a couple in their late 20s, early 30s, a few friends, and their collective offspring). The adult’s order round after round of long islands one evening, letting their children run (there is a special place in hell for folks that let their kids do this) … then proceeded to change an infant’s diaper on the table. THE TABLE. With other guests around trying to enjoy their dinner. This happened two nights in a row. Facepalm.”
14. No, that waiter isn’t trying to steal your partner
Being polite and fun is not the same as being flirtatious. Learn the difference.
Here’s to hoping that this knowledge helps you get something on the house (although usually when that happens, it’s because it was thing was free already).