Restaurant Etiquette


There’s a few things I love about doing camp with the little kids:

1) The kids are surprisingly considerate.

 2) They say hysterical things.

3) Snack time.

That being said there is one thing about working with kids that I don’t like. Today the girls guessed how old I am, and guessed 18, 19, then got it at 20. The girls were sweet and assured me I wasn’t old until I was at least 80. This however, does not add up with the fact that as soon as I got home from camp yesterday I took not one, but two naps. And I’m not a nap person.

My other job as a waitress has the opposite effect. I’m nearly the youngest one there and I am reminded of that when I sneak in the back to steal bread at every spare moment. When I would offer Francis some, she would decline and say “You are young! You can afford to eat bread all day!” Which is really not true at all. If I didn’t dance as much as I do I’d be monstrously obese.

There are however, a few things I don’t like about working as a waitress. Actually, they’re more like pet peeves. Which is the subject of today’s post.

Restaurant Etiquette

1. Sit where you are put by the host or hostess. Nothing irks me more than a customer who is given a lovely table by the window and responds by saying “Oh, can’t I have a booth?” Excuse me? You are one person, that booth is for four. And, most restaurants are divided by section. So when you are directed to a table it’s because the server with that section is up for a table next and you will screw them over if you demand a booth in the section of a server who already has more tables. You will get better service if you sit where the host or hostess tries to put you in the first place.

2. Please do not act like your server is invisible. It’s very frustrating to approach a table and be ignored by customers deep in conversation. If a server is standing awkwardly at your table they are probably about to offer a refill, ask if everything’s ok, or are trying to see if you need change. Acknowledge their existence.

3. If you come to a restaurant, we assume you are there to eat. When you sit at the table, do not ignore the menu for 20 minutes. It’s awkward to have to keep cruising by a table to see if you’re ready to order yet.

4. Do not, under any circumstances, snap at your server. And I mean literally, like snap your fingers. Yes, we are here to serve you, feed you, get you drinks, and honor your requests but you do not need to treat us like dogs. Servers will always introduce themselves when they greet a table, remember their name and if you need something, use it!

5. **BONUS** If you really want to please your server, when you are finished eating, stack your plate, utensils and anything else on the table you no longer need. It eliminates us asking if you are still working on your food, or lingering while we try to get everything out of your way.

6. When it comes time to pay the bill do not try to convince a server who to hand the check to. It puts us in a difficult position. Please decide before hand, or go to the bathroom and slip your server your card if you’re that concerned.

7. Now this may not apply everywhere. But at most restaurants the bill comes in a little black booklet. There are plastic flaps for the check and a little pocket for your card that makes it visible over the top of the closed booklet. A sever will strategically place the booklet standing up when they drop it off. This is so when you put cash or a card in it and lay it down on the table, we will know you have looked at the bill. It’s embarrassing to approach a table and ask if they need change (because the booklet is down and there’s no card visible) only to be told that the customer hasn’t looked at it yet. Yes you have! Otherwise it’d still be where I left it!

8. If you are paying with a card, use the little pocket provided in the book. It lets the server see you are using a card. Otherwise he or she will ask you if you need change, and not be amused when you look confused and say, “But it’s a card.”

9. When a server stops by your table for the final time to drop off change or a slip for you to sign, they will presumably thank you for coming and wish you a nice day. Please respond in some way shape or form. Serving is an overlooked and very demanding job. When a customer takes the time to thank me, wish me a nice day, or even write a note commending the service on the receipt, my whole day is made.

These are all things I never would’ve noticed or started doing if I hadn’t become a waitress myself. I’ll never forget the time a group of ten of us went out to Chili’s on a friday night and stayed until close. We knew we were there late so we stacked all our plates ourselves, grouped our cups, and put all the trash into a basket that once held tortilla chips.  The server would only have to make one trip to clear the table. As we were leaving I glanced back at the table as the server approached to clear. She stopped at the end of the table, looked shocked, then looked up at the door where we were leaving. “Thank you,” she mouthed from across the restaurant. I knew the feeling of being exhausted after a dinner shift and doing all the side work of closing. The look of gratitude on her face was even better than the bottomless tortilla chips.

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About MMM

Resolving to write in 2011!
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One Response to Restaurant Etiquette

  1. Pingback: The countdown begins: 9 | …to be continued.

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