There’s a lot that needs to happen in order to allow restaurant service to go smoothly, and while guests are obviously paying customers, there’s no excuse for them to act like jerks.
If a restaurant closes at 11, that doesn’t mean that you can show up at 10:50 and expect the staff to be okay with it. The staff has most likely had a very long and hard day, and there’s a ton of cleanup to do before they can go home. Don’t make them stay late just so you can eat.
Yes, the table is technically available, but you’re not going to get service any quicker if you sit down before it’s cleared. You’ll just make the busser’s job more difficult, and have to look at a whole bunch of dirty dishes.
Yes, some people actually do this. People have to eat off of that, and that’s just about the last thing that your fellow diners want to see… or smell.
Bringing a service dog is one thing; bringing a tiny Chihuahua in your handbag and telling the staff that it’s your service dog is another. Restaurants are not places for animals, unless you're sitting outside.
If you have a legitimate food allergy, make sure you tell your server as soon as you sit down. If everyone at the table suddenly has gluten, dairy, eggplant, coconut, and avocado allergies, the staff will know that you’re making it up.
You know your children better than anyone else. If you think they’re going to be running around, loudly annoying the other diners, and getting in the way of the wait staff, hire a babysitter. You may think they’re just being “cute,” but they’re not.
If your steak is overcooked, it’s not the server’s fault. This should be common sense, but people often forget. Be nice to your server, and they’ll be nice to you.
The servers are there to do their job, not to be your personal servant. If you want your server’s attention, don’t shout their name from across the restaurant, don’t whistle at them, don’t try to get their attention while they’re waiting another table, and never, ever touch them. Wait for them to walk by and catch their eye.
Kitchens have a complicated procedure for how and when they fire food, and for the most part dishes are prepared in the order they come in. Just because you didn’t give yourself enough time before the movie doesn’t mean that the kitchen should change their entire procedure for you.
The fewer tables a server is able to turn over, the fewer tips they get. If you hang around for half an hour after paying your bill, you’re wasting your server’s time, and costing them money. And you’re most likely throwing off the entire reservation system in the process.
Someone has to pick those up, and it’s not pleasant. Also, please don’t blow your nose into the cloth napkin. That’s just gross, and it should be obvious.
Again, the servers’ time is precious, and while they’re waiting for you to decide between the chicken or salmon they could be bringing mustard to the guy at table 6 who’s staring them down. Just ask them to come back in a few minutes; they won’t mind.
If you take a bite or two of your food and don’t like it, politely tell the server (along with the reason why you don’t like it), and they’ll bring it back to the kitchen, tell the chef, and have them fire something new for you. If you eat half of your food before sending it back, then expect it to be taken off of your bill without ordering anything else, they the entire staff will know that you’re trying to con your way into a free meal.