It’s nice to think that when people head to a restaurant for dinner, they do so with the best of intentions. But sometimes, without even realizing it, they do dumb things that really annoy the wait staff. In the interest of keeping yourself on your server’s good side, we’ve rounded up 10 of the most common customer slip-ups in restaurants.
There’s a big difference between being rude in a restaurant and being dumb. Last month, for example, a student walked into Sukiyabashi Jiro, one of the world’s best sushi restaurants, and proceeded to ask for some sushi to go — only she asked for it cooked (this was after trying the raw sushi and deciding she didn’t like it). The fact that her party arrived 40 minutes late? Rude. But the fact that she asked for her sushi to be cooked? Dumb.
The good thing about doing a dumb thing, however, is that it doesn’t automatically mean that you’re dumb. We can learn from our mistakes, and even the aforementioned student later returned to the restaurant to apologize. Nobody’s perfect.
A lot of dumb things we do at restaurants aren’t obvious. For example, a lot of folks don’t know that most restaurants stick to a strict seating system to make sure that all the servers have an equal amount of customers at one time. So while seating yourself might seem like the obvious thing to do if there’s an open table that you want, you really should just let the hostess do her job.
So consider reading this roundup of dumb things people do in restaurants to be an educational experience. If you’re guilty of any of these, your ignorance can be forgiven. Just don’t keep doing them after you know you shouldn’t, because you know what that is? Dumb.
You Don't Make a Reservation
If you stroll into a packed restaurant without making a reservation, don’t expect to be seated right away.
You Pronounce Obvious Menu Items Wrong
You can get away with pronouncing mille-feuille wrong (it’s “meal-fay”), and maybe you can get away with not mastering how to say haricots verts (it’s “ah-ree-ko vair”), but if you pronounce the Ls in quesadilla, expect a funny look from your server.