Good Restaurant Etiquette: Four Things to Always Keep in Mind

I have been a waitress for about four years now. During this time, I’ve come into contact with people from all walks of life, experiencing every personality type you can imagine. Because of this, I’ve had the opportunity to learn about people in an interesting way – some have been the most genuine people I've ever met, others… not so much. And for this reason, I think that everyone should work in the service industry for at least a month at some point in their lives.

Have you ever been out to eat and experienced a “rude” waiter or waitress? I hate to break it to you, but sometimes it’s not always us.

Sometimes it’s you.

1. Tip your server (and don’t forget about your bartender)

Let’s start with the most obvious point. In Florida, servers make a measly $4.77 an hour to make sure your dining experience is the best it can be (servers in Delaware and Massachusetts make a little over two bucks). We usually don’t keep every dollar we make either – many times servers have to tip the bus boys, bartenders, and hostesses as well. If you can afford to go out to eat, you can afford to leave a 15 to 20 percent tip for the person who took care of you. Take a look at this article Buzzfeed posted and try not to let your jaw hit the ground that hard. 

2. Treat your server with respect

Shouldn’t this be a rule of life, for anyone? Treat people the way you would want to be treated. It should be the absolute very least anyone deserves. I’ll forever stand by the belief that if you aren’t a nice person to people who serve you, then you aren’t a nice person in general. You never know what someone else has going on in their lives and it’s never okay to talk down to someone just because they are bringing you your food. Besides, haven't you ever seen the movie, Waiting?

3. The timing, taste, and/or quality of your food is not your server’s fault

It’s understandable that people go out to eat because they want to enjoy a nice night out instead of cooking at home. It’s okay to expect that your food will come out how you want it, but sometimes that isn’t always the case. Keep in mind that the servers are not the ones cooking your food. If it feels like it’s taking a long time to come out or it’s not what you expected, let your server know (calmly). They won’t have a problem making things right. Don't place the blame on the wrong people. 

4. Don’t (please don’t) come in five minutes before the restaurant closes

This is an essential tip. The closer it gets to closing time at any restaurant is the time when the servers, bartenders, and cooks begin to shut the restaurant down. By this point, they have all most likely been through a six or seven hour long shift and are ready to go home. Don’t make it more difficult by making them stay longer than they need to (especially if you don’t plan on tipping them).

Everyone wants to enjoy their experience when they go out to eat. Make it easier on everyone (including yourself) and just be nice. It makes more of a difference than you can imagine.