Why It's Rude To Order An Entree That's Not On A Restaurant Menu

Do you feel like more people are becoming increasingly rude in restaurants lately? Social media may just be highlighting the rude behavior of restaurant patrons more, or maybe the stress and uncertainty of the last few years have led to an increase in negative behavior. Of course, violent incidents, like a diner throwing food at a waitress, are a big deal and garner attention, but most diners generally don't behave that way. However, there are other ways you could be less-than-courteous when you're dining out, and you may not even realize it.

You may know that being too loud, not tipping, and treating waitstaff poorly are rude, but did you know that it's also considered rude to stack your plates and other dishes when you're done eating? According to TODAY, this act throws off the system that the waitstaff has for clearing a table, and it can make more work for the bussers who are working to clear the tables quickly. Reader's Digest says there's another rude practice that many people don't seem to realize is impolite — ordering food that's not on the menu.

Respecting the menu rules

Professional etiquette coach and author of "Manor of Manners," Maryanne Parker, explains to Reader's Digest that it's rude to order an entree that is not on a restaurant menu because it is a sign of disrespect to the chef and their menu offerings. The menu is a carefully curated selection of dishes that the chef and restaurant have decided to serve, and ordering something that is not on the menu suggests that the customer does not appreciate or value the chef's expertise or the restaurant's offerings. Additionally, ordering something that is not on the menu may not be something that the kitchen is prepared to make and can cause delays for other customers.

If you have dined at a restaurant before, though, and you know they can and will make a certain item that's not on the menu, or if the restaurant had an item at one time that has been taken off of the menu, there are ways to be polite about ordering those foods, according to Food & Wine.

How to order off-menu

In a situation where you absolutely must, you should always be nice about how you ask for off-menu items. And you should also be prepared for the waitstaff or kitchen staff to reject your request. If the restaurant is too busy, or if they are out of certain ingredients, they may not be able to accommodate you even if they wanted to. You should also be realistic about what you ask for. Swapping out fried chicken for grilled chicken in a salad is a lot easier to do than making up a whole new dish.

If you have special dietary restrictions, it's always a good idea to call ahead and ask if that's something the kitchen is able to do. If not, then you should find another restaurant that can. If it is something the kitchen staff is willing to help you with, you should be sure to show appreciation with a generous tip — and be nice to the staff!