11 Things That Make Your Waiter Mad

From asking if they just killed the cow to stacking empty plates, these are the things that really make your waiter's skin crawl

11 Things That Make Your Waiter Mad

Ever wonder what your waiter says about you when he goes back into the kitchen? Sure you have. Remember that night when one of your martini-soaked relatives complained to the restaurant about the size of the serving plates? In his mind, they were too small and he let the waiter, maître d’, and just about everyone else in the establishment know about it in a boisterous voice. You've never left a restaurant feeling so embarrassed, right? And you can only imagine how the waitstaff retold the story over shift drinks later that night. But besides being drunk and loud, what other things are you doing that really make your waiter mad?

Click here for 11 Things That Make Your Waiter Really Mad Slideshow.

The restaurant is there to serve you, but as part of the social contract, the customer also has a certain responsibility to act as a gracious guest. They say there's truth behind every cliché. So it is with the line, "Everyone should have to wait tables at some point in life to know what it’s like."

The reality is that most of us haven’t waited tables, heard the obnoxious remarks, felt the inappropriate slap on the behind, been called "honey," or known the countless other irritating things that customers do and that waiters see, hear, and experience firsthand every day.

Because many of us have just never seen what it’s like on the other side, we asked well-respected restaurateurs to weigh in with 11 things they absolutely hate that customers do. From making snide comments about the burger taking so long they must have had to butcher the cow to using vulgar language in the presence of other guests and the waitstaff, here is what they said really got under their skin.


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Kurocoroco's picture

I don't know who they asked for this list, but it's probably not from actual servers (Note; servers, not "waiters"). I personally love it when my table stacks the plates. I don't take it as an act of rudeness, but rather them trying to help me out and make my job easier. I'll tell you what I don't like; rudeness. People seem to think that their waiter is the one cooking their food and will yell at them excessively because there isn't enough gravy on their potatoes. " I'm sorry sir, I'll be happy to get you more gravy. Would you also like your diaper changed?". People also seem to think since they're tipping the server and aren't in a particularly good mood they get to sh*t all over the server's day by being extremely rude and downright mean. If you didn't like your food; tell the server. It's their job to fix it. Don't eat it all, say you hated it, then ask for it taken off the bill or stiff the server.

Also; camping. It's cool if you want to hang out, but if I'm at the end of my shift and ask you to close out; please do so. I can't leave until you do. Despite what many think, most server's don't enjoy hanging out at work 3 hours past their shift. Close you tab plz, kthnx.

And kids...More often than not, you're not at Chuck-E-Cheese. Keep your children in their seat. Don't blame me if I spill a bowl of hot soup on your kid because you were too busy sipping on a gin martini to notice they're running around the whole restaurant acting a damn fool. I'm tall, they're short. I can't seem them. Figure it out.

Those are the big ones. There's a few minor ones like texting while I'm trying to take your order or trying to tell me your life story when I'm CLEARLY very busy....Other than that though, a restaurant's purpose is to make people happy. Point blank...And we know that. I don't care if you want 20 sides of ranch and 15 lemon wedges. Just tip appropriately if you're high maintenance and we'll be cool. Have a great day and come see us again okay!?


I can understand a few of these but overall this looks snooty!!!! I stack my own plates and even wipe down my own table when I am finished with a course and have never had a waiter seem the least bit upset about it. I do not like like leaving a messy table for people to clean up. I am, however, polite enough not to stack plates while people are eating. As far as ordering the appetizer and entree together, I rarely do, and there is nothing wrong with it. I would much rather finish my appetizer and "let it rest" before getting the next course, but even so, my concern is getting my appetizer as soon as possible!! I order my appetizer before I have even looked at the rest of the menu much. If I do get the appetizer at the same time I order my entree, it is because it took me a while to decide. In the meantime, I have something else to do while waiting for my entree! I hate it when my waiter waits to put them in together. I end up waiting forever for my appetizer and then it is less than half done when my meal comes out. That stinks! They are NOT well timed! I could go on and on, but I think this was just a bad snobby article!


I was a waiter for 10 years. There are some things here that would irritate me, but let me add to the list :-)

When a customer flaps there arms or snaps their fingers (especially while serving another table). Simple eye contact or an excuse me is sufficient.

Over modifying a dish: I understand if you want to subtract or add a couple things from a dish but if you modify it so much that in no longer resembles the item on the menu. I don't want to hear complaints if you didn't like it...it wasn't on the menu. You created that mess.

Moving around: this is a bigger issue with big groups that require split checks. It can make it difficult to split the check correctly

In a rush: I understand things come up, but please try to plan accordingly. If it's seven and your movie is at 8 it's probably not best to go to a full service restaurant for dinner.

Jan Fein's picture

Too many dining rules in this article. If you don't like waiting tables, get a new job. I'm spending my money, and I'm very polite and accommodating. But, I'm also far from perfect. I think I've just been discouraged, by this snooty article, to ever really want to eat out again. Also, it appears that one of the complaints is being called "honey." Well, I become offended when my husband and I dine out and the server calls us "guys." I also don't like when my orders are wrong. And, maybe a server needs to repeat themselves because they mumble and not everyone can hear them. And, if you really want to get a $0 tip, don't make me have to get up from the table and come to look for you because I want to leave and you've left me waiting for 40 minutes for my check.

Badgerfanz's picture

One thing parents could do when they are not taking their kids to a pizza parlor, fast food joint and are eating in a nicer restaurant is to CONTAIN them from running around!!! People are paying for a nice meal not a Happy Meal and I personally find it hard to serve food with your damn brats running around like it is a "playland".

paddy's picture

What a fascinating question: "Do you ever wonder what the waiter says about you when he returns to the kitchen?" The answer, at least from my quarter, is, "Who gives a rat's ass?" Can anyone seriously believe that a diner -- any diner -- would ever give more than two seconds of thought to a waiter's opinion of the people he serves? I'm no elitist. I work hard for the money I spend to dine out and I treat waiters with respect. But, really, folks. I'm going to lose sleep because some waiter tells the cook, "Oh, how gauche. That guy at Table No. 6 stacked his plates." Heavens.

Katherine's picture

Having worked in the food service industry for years throughout high school, college, and later grad school, I am a little surprised at the snootiness of the article. Listen, it is called "food service" for a reason - you are serving.

I understand being annoyed at those who are late for a reservation, but to be put out because someone orders an appetizer before ordering an entree is a little much. Sometimes people actually like to sit and enjoy their meal and not have everything out at once. Too many times have I ordered the appetizer at the same time as my meal and end up with the appetizer, salad, and meal all on the table within minutes of each other. It is overwhelming and doesn't make the dining experience relaxing.

Also, I actually did not like it when people were chatty. I mean, I always tried to be polite, but it seems over the top when people are asking you questions beyond the general "How do you do." I have other tables to attend to and don't really have the time to sit an hear your life story. I would always start off with menus and a glass of water for people, give them a minute or two to look over and then introduce myself, and ask for drink orders. If they ignored me, I just assumed they either 1) didn't hear (restaurants tend to have the music up too loud these days) or 2) were not ready.

Sorry for the rant, but perhaps these waiters should stop being so anal retentive and relax and bring service with a smile. Once you start worrying about how you (the waiter) are being treated, then you lose focus of your real job there.


Waiters should be treated politely, certainly, but being irked if the guests don't recognize them, or make conversation is a little ridiculous. People aren't there to converse with the wait staff, they are there to be served by the waitstaff. I just need the waiter to tell me about the specials, take my order, see that I have everything I need for a pleasant dining experience, and then bring me my check. I don't need to be greeted by the waiter, I don't need to know his or her name, I don't need to tell them how I am today. That's why I am accompanied by friends...they're the ones I'll have the conversation with. If waiters are irked by having patrons who decide they want a lemon after someone already asked for a straw, that's too bad. I don't mean people should be oblivious and crass, but sometimes you don't realize you need the lemon or the extra sugar or whatever. It's the waiter's job to bring it, not get the entire table into synch for his convenience. If that's too much to ask, try another job.

foodforth0's picture

That waiter needs to observe the waitstaff at a really good restaurant . The less speaking the better from the waiter . "Good Evening " and a menu is good for starters . Then after water and bread (if served) are produced , "May I serve you a cocktail , Sir ? " is appropriate . If you are privy to the waiters mood , health , or the kind of day he has had ; he is not professional . A menu should be produced quietly with (preferably) a list of specials . A waiter should be watchful that water and bread and butter is replenished when needed without comment and that everything seems right without asking . It takes practice and interest to become proficient at this career .

Delta Pearl's picture

I just saw your post about the "11 Things that Irritate Waiters". It looks interesting, but it's a "slide show". I don't do "slide shows". I think they are lazy and insulting and do not replace good writing. Hire a couple of competent journalists and quite wasting our time with your insipid photo format.

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