The Don'ts of a Restaurant | Why Girls Are Weird

Monday, April 4, 2011

The Don'ts of a Restaurant


Once again I worked all weekend.  Very exciting, right?  But while I was working I was thinking of things that customers should never, ever do if they want their servers to like them.  I mean, I know it's all about the servers getting the customers to like them so that the customers leave a good tip.  But if you want to be a good customer, you should never do any of the following:

  1. Don't send the server running back and forth a million times.  If you need ketchup, more napkins, a glass of water and sour cream ask for them all at the same time.  You are most likely not the only customer the server has and while it's good exercise if the server is busy it's a huge time waster.
  2. Don't tip AFTER the coupon is taken off.  Take a look at how much the bill was before the coupon and tip accordingly.  The server brought out 4 plates of food and if the server did a good job they should get tipped for 4 plates of food.
  3. Don't add joiners halfway through your meal.  Because honestly, it's like getting a whole new table for a server.  If your friends decide to crash at least warn your server.  They won't be happy if they've just been triple sat and then you add more people to the list.
  4. Don't sit on your phone.  I get paid $2.33 an hour.  The last thing I need is to wait for you to get off your phone.  And it's even more rude for you to claim you're ready to order but you're so busy talking on you phone that you can't be bothered to answer the server's questions.  We're trying to get you the meal you want after all.
  5. Don't take all day.  Yes some menus are big.  But if you're going to need more than a few minutes to decide what you want let the server know so they don't stop by your table 5 times before you're ready.  Yet again, it's a huge time waster and when it's busy the server doesn't have that time to spare.
  6. Don't say you're in a hurry.  If you're in a hurry, go to McDonalds.  Otherwise you may have to be prepared to wait.  It's like standing in line.  You'll get to the front when you get there.  No budging.
  7. Don't switch seats.  The host put you where you are for a reason.  Restaurants have seating charts.  If you move tables you may be screwing over another server.  And if for some reason you must at least ask someone who works there rather than picking a new table yourself.
  8. Don't let your children run around the restaurant.  It's not a playground.  And I will be frank: If I am carrying a huge tray of heavy plates and your child runs in front of me I will not see your child and will probably kick your child.  And it will be your fault.  They can run around at home.  Not in the restaurant.
  9. Don't ask someone who isn't your server to get something for you.  Unless it's slow.  I'm busy getting things for my own tables, I don't have time to worry about someone else's tables too.
  10. Don't stiff.  UNLESS the server has purposely done something wrong or purposefully been rude.  Again, I'm getting paid way less than minimum wage.  I live for this money.  If it's busy, cut the server some slack.  Be gracious.
Obviously there are always exceptions to the rules.  And obviously there are expectations that customers should have of servers as well.  However, keep in mind that your server is a human being and they should be treated as such.  If you've ever worked in the service industry, you get it.  If you haven't, then don't pretend you know how hard it is because you don't.

It goes both ways.

56 wonderful thoughts:

Diana Mieczan

That is a great list and I totally agree that you should ask once for all the stuff you need! Have a lovely Monday morning, darling


Amen on #8!

great list all around!

sarah - dodeline design

Great points. I always try to be as considerate as I can, but a little refresher list is very helpful!


agreed. when i was a server i had a customer tell me that he was too lazy to squeeze his lemon into his tea so it was my job to do it. BUT i probably had swine flu so i needed to don gloves and show him that i did it to his liking because he didn't want me to poison him.
fortunately i got a good tip out of it, but i was so cranky the rest of the day

The Favour Shoppe

totally agree , and I have never been a server! I honestly don't know how servers do not a people person! hehe

{Selma} Crazy Little World Of Mine

All I can say is: Yes, yes, and again yes! :)

Sandy a la Mode

this is totally a great list! i heard that a lot of people who use groupons at restaurants tip on the after coupon amount instead of the before coupon amount and some restaurants have even gone bankrupt b/c of groupon, crazy!!


I waited tables for six years and couldn't believe how inconsiderate people were. I think everyone should have to wait tables for a year just so they know what it's like!


I used to hate it when people tipped on the check amount AFTER they used a gift card!


Just dropping by from 20sb, and I've really enjoyed checking out your blog :-)
This post was a really good reminder to me, especially number 5...I'm notoriously indecisive and it usually takes me a good few minutes to decide what I want to eat!! This will definitely be something I bear in mind next time I'm eating out.

Emily Jane

Great list! When I worked in the service inductry (retail) I used to think it should be mandatory for everyone who's ever planning on being a customer ANYWHERE should work at least one shift in customer service and see from the OTHER side just how people seem to take off any sort of manners along with their coat the second they get into the store!

Helena - A Diary of Lovely

Great list, but to be honest things are very different in Europe. Service is different here and rules are too somehow :) But great post!

kelli g. { bug miscellany }

great post. there's probably a lot of people who haven't worked in food service, who don't realize how difficult it is.

Chic 'n Cheap Living

You said it lady! The Golden Rule always applies!

Chic 'n Cheap Living

Scientific Housewife

That is a really good list! People who have never worked the food industry just don't understand so we have to educate them :)


I have 2 toddlers (3 and 4 years), I am always wondering what annoys waiter/waitress when it comes to children?? Great post.

Cafe Fashionista

Rules to live by when you're dining out! :)

Summer {athena in the middle}

like i have said before, i never get the stiffing. i tip 20%. you helped fill my belly. i did not have to cook or clean. tipping you is a thank you!

Erika Grover

Oh my gosh the phone...! rude!

I worked at the grocery store for 9 years & we had to ask every customer for their "preferred card" so they'd get their savings...some customers were too busy on their phone to even acknowledge a "hi how are you today" let alone a "do you have your PC" it's like hello?! We're trying to help U out here...!

I stand firm on I'd be the worst server ever lol

Jessie Szmanda

Amen to this! Good post - although I know I am guilty of a few things here and there, but I try my best to respect our waitors as much as possible!


There have only been two times in my life that I didn't tip a server because they did such a miserable job, but a lot of waiters and waitresses are amazing. I agree, the tip is how money is made and I bet a lot of people don't realize that. I'd be terrified to carry so much food on a tray and such. Especially if children are running around...

Amber Blue Bird

people should be more considerate to their servers but really this goes for just about any profession. I work in a office and have to deal with crabby people all the time. I guess every job comes with its own pitfalls


This really got me. All amazing points that were made.

"...I will not see your child and will probably kick your child. And it will be your fault. They can run around at home." That cracked me up!! :D Anyway, thanks for stopping in at my blog today- hope you rest up and feel better soon!

Green Girl in Wisconsin

Sing it, sister! Amen!
Treat your servers with kindness and respect--you'll get better service AND better karma!

Dancing Branflake

Oh yes! And as someone who has worked in the food industry I can definitely offer tips for servers on what not to do. Sometimes I want to be like "for real? You should know better."


I love reading these posts because it's an interesting perspective hearing from someone who works in the industry! How many of your customers fall into the "don't" category versus the nice, courteous ones?


Fabulous post doll, I can relate to a lot of these from my restaurant time! x

Savvy Gal

that is right!

la petite coquine

Long weekend, huh? Serving can be pull-your-hair-out frustrating, and I think it's because so few people know how to treat a server. This post should be published at the front of every menu!


Great list. I've never worked as a server...mostly because I know full well that I would suck at it. I don't have the patience for rude people...or for earning 2.33 per hour.

And the kids running around? I never understand that. Don't these parents realize that the kids can get hurt...or worse, that someone else can get hurt because of the kids? I don't blame you if you kick a few kids on purpose once in a while. I would.


Hmm...I'll have to be careful not to do any of these ;)

The Blonde Duck

I always feel bad asking servers to get things!


Thank you for this!!!

Most of these don't bother me too much... except for the tables that ask for tons of stuff. All at once is great, but it's not cool to send me off for sour cream only to ask me for a side of fries as soon as I get back. (The tables who do this the most also tend to be the tables that tip the least.)

Oh, and people who drink massive amounts of soda (teen boys, this means you). I've given out refills to so many guys, only to have them down the entire *large* glass within 2 minutes. After 2 or 3 refills, I'll often just bring them a pitcher.

Tamara Nicole

2.33?! I want to go eat to tip you well, that's so much work and dealing with crazy customer's I'd be irritated if they did any of these. But then again it's so good to hear this list, b/c sometimes people only think of their situation, not the waiter's. Great reminder to all, thank you!!!


This is a great list! Most of it seems like it would be common sense, but with some people I suppose not!


Bk and I are awful about switching seats. I bet it totally bugs the server, lol! I can see why many of these would be super annoying!


I know from earlier and from your descriptions that waiting tables in Norway and America is two different things!
First of all, in Norway they make good money and you don't have to tip if you don't want to. They make just as much money as people working in clothes stores etc.
None the less I always tip around 10% if I am happy with the service as an extra bonus.
If I don't like the service then I leave nothing - knowing that the employer still pays enough for them to get by on just fine.

In America it seems that the customers are paying a share of the waiter’s paycheck and that you can't live without that money. Not sure what I think about that, seems to me that it is better (and more secure!) to me to have the paycheck cover your bills but still have the possibility to earn a bit extra if you are nice :)


I'm a fan of #6! I love the motto "We make good food, not fast food!" I used to work in a place that made custom-order sandwiches and soups, and in the summer it would get BUSY. People would bitch and complain about how long it was taking, but really, it's all about quality over quantity.

I certainly don't miss working in the restaurant industry. Your list is perfect :)


I've never worked in the service industry but I agree with everything you've said! In the Pacific tipping isn't encouraged. Some say it's against the 'culture' so most of our servers get paid $2.50 an hour! If they get tipped, that's great, otherwise, that's it :(


I agree on all points but one...sometimes hurry doesn't mean they only have 15 min. I worked at a place near the airport so we always had people stoping in for a meal before a flight. We never promised food in a set time but if they said I have a flight to catch and only had an hour I would do my best to get them in and out in under an hour. And most of the time my attentiveness was shown in the tip. Now agree those who are on serious time restraints should not go to a sit down meal.


I think most people don't assume that servers make that little because of tips. You guys should have a little button that you wear that says how much you make an hour before tips. Then hopefully those really stingy people won't be so stingy.


I just find it repulsive that you get paid so little. I don't care if tips make it bounce over minimum wage, that is SINFUL.

Melanie's Randomness

When I used to work as a waitress I couldn't stand the kids running everywhere. Omg it drove me nuts. Oh yeah and the phone thing!!

Sunny & Star

:( Sorry you spent all weekend working. I can definitely relate. I spend at least 1/2 of my weekends working.


Whew! I am glad to know that I am a good customer:) I better be - the hubs and I go out to eat WAY too much!


Good reminders! I often dine out with coupons and I'm very conscientious of tipping pre-discount. :)


Yay! I don't do any of these. Well, except #10 but I always have a really good reason when this happens (like leaving me with an empty drink cup for my ENTIRE MEAL!).

I don't even know HOW you do it with parents not watching their children. Luckily, at my job, I can corral the kids and handle them. But, ugh.


I agree with the children running around. That goes for any place! Even the store I work at. They get into so much mischief. And good thing I tip good. The waiters must love me haha. :)


I completely agree with your entire list.


Amen to all of this. Especially the tipping after coupon tip. The last restaurant I worked at had a BOGO coup -- that doesn't mean you tip for one meal. The server still brought you two!!


Great list!! Served as a good reminder for me of the do's and don'ts :)

yours truly dear

so true. especially the kids! yiiiikes. go to a mcdonalds playplace! haha


I used to be a waitress, and I will second this do's and don'ts post.

Never fuck with someone thats handling your food.


This is SUCH a great post!! I waited tables for years and I completely agree with every single Don't you posted. Thank you for putting this together - now we just have to figure out a way to make everyone in the world aware of the rules!!

Crazy Shenanigans-JMO

I completely agree with all of these!!! Well said!


You would think all of these would be common sense! I cannot believe people sit on the phone while ordering! I would make a horrible server because i would totally walk away lol I went to a place today where there was a big post thingy behind me and on the other side was a table against it so EVERYONE came my way I cannot tell you how many times I was bumped! I really wanted to move but I didnt want to be a pain but what the heck! lol