Dining out should be a fun experience for everyone involved. What you may not have realized, is that can also include the waiter who’s there to help you. They may be on the clock, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t part of your overall dining experience. To ensure you have the best time and receive the best service, there are certain things you’ll want to avoid. A happy server means an enjoyable meal, so check out the list below to find out what waiters and waitresses have admitted are some of their biggest pet peeves.
Pay attention to your order
Make sure you know exactly what you’re ordering. Read the description, note the ingredients that are listed, and don’t act surprised when your meal arrives and it contains something you supposedly didn’t know about. Additionally, when your table’s food arrives, don’t automatically assume the waiter knows exactly who ordered what. Especially if you are part of a larger party, help your waiter when they call out the name of the dish. It shouldn’t be a guessing game so remember what you ordered.
Don’t show up at closing time
How do you feel when you reach the end of your work day? Ready to leave, right? Imagine someone walking in and demanding you stay longer just to help them. You would be frustrated, to say the least, right? It works the same with waiters.
You may justify showing up right before closing time by thinking “well, they’re still open, aren’t they?” Technically, yes, but they’ve likely already begun cleaning up, putting things away, and shutting down for the night. If you show up at the last minute, there’s a good chance you aren’t going to get a pleasant waiter.
Where are your manners?
This should be a given, but you’d be surprised how many rude patrons waiters and waitresses have to deal with on a regular basis. “Please” and “thank you” take just seconds to say, but truly go a long way. Simply being friendly makes a big difference not only in how your waiter perceives you but also in terms of the service you receive. Additionally, avoid being so loud you disturb others around you. If you’re making other diners uncomfortable, your waiter will carry the weight of that as well. If you want great service and a pleasant dining experience, use your manners!
Hang up the phone!
If you talk to people who have worked in the service industry about their biggest pet peeves, just about all of them will mention customers who won’t get off their phone. If you’re talking on the phone while simultaneously trying to place an order, it’s not only rude, but it makes things more difficult for your waiter. If you’re dining with other people, take a break from technology, put down the phone, and actually spend time with the people you’re with.
Hands off the staff please!
Whether you think you’re being friendly or not, there’s absolutely no reason for you to touch your waiter. Even a simple hand on their arm can make the staff incredibly uncomfortable, which makes for a poor dining experience overall. They may be there to serve you, but they’re still a stranger. They don’t know you on a personal level so keep your hands to yourself!
Great service deserves a great tip
If your waiter is working hard to ensure your drinks are never empty, your requests have all be fulfilled, and your questions have been answered, they deserve a reasonable tip. Don’t be cheap when it comes time to tip your waiter. Often, tips are the main way waiters and waitresses make money. If they’re spending their time and attention on you and your table, they deserve to be compensated for it. Additionally, if you were part of a large group, that takes even more work at the hands of the wait staff. It’s polite and proper to tip extra if the waiter was serving a large number of people. If you were well taken care of, the tip should reflect that.
Don’t hang around long after paying your bill
This one is pretty simple. If you’re finished eating and have already paid your bill, don’t camp out at the table for a long time afterward. Your waiter is required to continue checking up on you, but they’re no longer being paid for it. Plus, you’re taking up space where another potential diner could actually be paying to sit and eat.
Be up front about allergies and dietary needs
If you’re lactose intolerant, don’t complain to your waitress when she brings you pasta in cream sauce. The wait staff can’t read your mind. If you have specific dietary or nutritional needs, share them. Not only will it help you avoid a potential health crisis, but it also allows the waitress to direct you to dishes that will fit those needs.
Do you really need a booth?
I know, we’re all guilty of it, but what makes sitting at a booth so great? If you truly don’t need one, let the waiter or hostess seat you wherever is best for them. Unless they ask you where you’d like to sit, there’s a reason you’re being led to a specific table. It’s not the end of the world if it’s not a booth!
Don’t stack your plates
You may think you’re being helpful, but the truth is that you’re likely only making things more difficult for the wait staff. It creates a bigger mess and can sometimes make it more difficult for the waiter to take dishes back to the kitchen. Just leave them as they were delivered, they truly won’t mind!
If you want to split the bill, tell the waiter before the check arrives
It makes your waiter’s job so much easier if you clarify who’s on what check right from the start. That way they can better keep track of each bill, as opposed to having to separate the check later.
Coupons are fine, but a tip still matters
Similar to tipping properly, it’s important to understand that a discounted meal or free dish still requires the same amount of work from your waiter. You may not have to pay as much for your food, but they still deserve to be tipped for their work. If you’re lucky enough to dine for free, be decent enough to leave a good tip.