Nobody wants to admit to being annoying. The most annoying people probably don’t even realize that they're annoying, and that makes them even more annoying. And when we’re in a restaurant, the one person we annoy the most (unless it’s our date) is our waiter or waitress, and we might not even realize it.
We’ll start by saying that the minimum allowed hourly wage for tipped employees is $7.25. Do the math, and that comes out to $348 per week, assuming eight hours worked per day for six days a week — before taxes. This doesn’t just mean that you should always leave a good tip (which you absolutely should), it also means that you should go out of your way to be as not-annoying to these underpaid folks as possible.
How, exactly, are you annoying your server? It’s good to remind yourself of the Golden Rule: Treat other people as you’d wish to be treated yourself. If you were taking someone’s order, would you like it if the customer said, “Yeah, gimme a chicken sandwich,” and then shouted your name and demanded more ketchup while you were busy taking someone else’s order? Yeah, you’d probably be a little annoyed with that guy, too.
It’s not easy to ask people what they want to eat for a living, and if you go out of your way to be a polite and friendly customer, you’ll most likely have a better time, and you’ll make your server’s day a little easier as well. Read on to learn about 11 things restaurant customers do that servers hate.
Even though it may not be apparent, there’s a method to where you were seated when you were seated. If you have major concerns with your table, you should voice them to the host or hostess and politely ask to be seated elsewhere (ideally before you even sit down), instead of just moving. If you just get up and sit down at another table, you could throw the whole dining room out of whack.
When a server first approaches your table, let them speak; they have important things to say. Let them at least introduce themselves before you interrupt them, demanding bread.
Never touch your server, even if it’s just a tap on the shoulder. Their personal space isn’t yours to invade. (Of course, by the same token, a server should never touch you.)
So you’re allergic to pickles? Really? If you want something left out of your dish, just ask politely for it to be left out; or better yet, order something that you’re willing to eat without demanding that the kitchen make endless substitutions. Obviously, if it's an actual allergy, the kitchen should have no problem accommodating you.
They’re your servers, not your servants. They have multiple tables to handle, and you honestly can't wait 30 seconds for your free refill? They’ll look in your direction soon; just catch their eye and they’ll come over.
It’s one thing to ask your server to repeat the components of an intriguing special, but it’s another thing to ignore him or her entirely during a presentation of the specials, then ask to hear the same thing all over again — or to send your salmon back for being undercooked when you were clearly told that it’s served medium-rare.
A server’s time is precious, and time spent standing there waiting for you to make up your mind can be better spent in countless ways. If you don’t know what you want, ask your server to come back in a couple minutes; he or she won’t mind.
If your phone and cocktail are on the table directly in front of you, where is your server supposed to put your heavy plate of food? Be polite and clear some space before your food arrives.
If you ordered your steak medium-rare and it’s well-done, you can send it back. If the chicken is pink, send it back. If your soup is ice cold, send it back (unless it's gazpacho or vichyssoise). But don’t send back a dish just because you don’t like it (and if you do, be ready to specify the exact reasons why you don’t like it). Don’t send back a salad because you don’t like spinach. Don’t send back a dish because you’re a vegetarian who doesn’t know what pancetta is. And definitely don’t send something back after you’ve already eaten half of it.
When the bill arrives, it’s time to leave. You’re not going to be buying anything else, so your table should turn over to another party as soon as possible. If it’s a crowded restaurant with a long wait for a table, loitering after the meal won’t just annoy your server, it’ll annoy the host and all the people waiting for a table.
Remember that $7.25 number from before? With taxes taken out, it’s even less. And tips don’t go directly into servers’ pockets; oftentimes they need to be shared with bussers, runners, and other employees. So unless service was notably terrible, get in the habit of leaving at least a 20-percent tip.
More From The Daily Meal: