11 Things You Need to STOP Doing at Restaurants

Dining out is America’s favorite pastime (It used to be baseball before everyone realized the sport is mind numbly boring.) Whether it is Asian, Italian or German, there is always something to satisfy your taste buds. As a server, I’m responsible for setting my restaurant apart from other options. This means I will do everything in my power to make sure customers are happy when they leave. 

Unfortunately, this mission comes with many challenges as (to put it frankly) people act like fools. Despite the low rate of people actually raised in a barn, animalistic behavior seems to rise in people at restaurants like a wolf's howl during a full moon. Maybe you do these things and maybe you don’t— but just in case, here are the 11 things you really need to stop doing at restaurants.

  1. 1. Asking to change the temperature in the restaurant

    Unless the restaurant is the size of an apartment, a temperature change won’t affect you in the 45 minutes you are dining. Try a nice pair of pants and closed toed shoes. (Even if you aren’t cold, closed toed shoes are very much appreciated.)

  2. 2. Talking on the phone

    At Subway, there is often a sign on the glass asking customers to remain off their phones while ordering. Unlike “sandwich artists,” servers do not have a glass barrier to stick passive aggressive notes on, so they are often reduced to waiting awkwardly or leaving the table. If you need to use the phone, step outside. Or send a text message while you’re waiting for your meal; it’s 2019 after all.

  3. 3. Using your server's name. Way. Too. Much.

    Don’t mistake a friendliness for actual friendship. It gets way too personal and can even reach creepy territory when you repeatedly use the server’s name. 

  4. 4. Asking for a new drink when you haven't even finished half of your first one

    There's this great thing in restaurants called a soda fountain. This contraption will keep drinks coming and coming. When your glass is any more than a fourth full, use your mouth to actually drink instead of calling your busy server to your table. When you need it, your cup of sugary carbonation will be your severs first priority, I’m sure.

  5. 5. Leaving your kids' mess

    A couple napkins? Cool. Some food spillage? Fine. 12 mashed up crayons in apple sauce hand painted on the seats? I think NOT. You made the choice to bring the messy ball of sunshine into the world, so please make the choice to clean up after them. 

  6. 6. Saying "keep the change" when the change is a 3% tip

    Maybe the other people at your table won’t notice you left a server $2 on an $80 check, but you’ll know in your heart that it is extremely uncool.

  7. 7. Ignoring your server's questions

     On a table of more than a few people, your server may not have who got what memorized. Instead of going blankly staring when a server is trying to figure out who got what, let them know which entree you’ve selected from the menu.

  8. 8. Snap, whistle or clap for your server's attention

    Believe it or not, your server has not been to obedience school. That is for dogs. 

  9. 9. Getting annoyed at your server for not being able to make a certain modification

    The war between line cooks and servers is a brutal one. More than likely if a server says they can’t do something to your food, it means that there has been a heated conversation about this before. Ultimately, the cooks control the food, not the server. Don’t make your servers go to battle for you.

  10. 10. Asking for a manager without telling the server while

    Whether it’s a compliment or a complaint, calling a manager to a table is a major stressor for your server. Letting them know what you’d like to talk to the manager about so they can give their manager a heads up is the right thing to do. An yeah, the heads up might be that you’re crazy because let’s be honest, how often do you REALLY need to call a manager?

  11. 11. Not reading the menu

    Does your server know what’s on the menu? Yes. Does that mean that they want to break each entree down for you ingredient by ingredient for you to order the most popular thing off the menu? No. It does not. With a literacy rate of 99% in the U.S, reading a menu should not be a problem—and if it is, check out the pictures of the entrees on the menu you haven’t yet opened.