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100 Things Restaurant Patrons Should Never Do

Posted by on March 24 2010 in Featured, Lists, Rants & Raves, Restaurants, Trends

26. If you mention that you’re a frequent Yelp-er or Chowhound-er as a scare tactic, you are officially banned from ever eating out again. That is just so unnecessarily insulting (and makes you look like a real douche and gives all bloggers a bad name.)

27. You do not own a server or a bartender just because you know that their livelihood requires tips. Please, if you take nothing else from this list, remember this fact.

28. Please don’t be loud– the whole restaurant doesn’t need to hear about every detail of your life. I’m pretty certain the rest of your party isn’t interested, either.

29. Saying that you’re ready to order means that you’re ready to order. Don’t tell your server you’re ready, only to look over the menu one more time– your server has many other tables that he or she needs to attend to.

30. Server does not mean servant. Do not treat restaurant staff as being in a class lower than yours.

31. If you are not happy with something, speak up– let the staff try to make it better, that way you won’t have to be passive-aggressive on Yelp later.

32. At the same time, remember that no one is perfect. Be flexible and work with us, people.

33. Remember the golden rule. You’ll be fine.

34. Policies are put in place for a reason — and recognize the fact that no one is obliged to explain to you why a rule is in place. You probably wouldn’t understand, anyways.

35. Put your phones away — or if you must, keep conversations quick and quiet…you’re holding up service and disrupting those around you.

36. Don’t get mad when a restaurant doesn’t have that random condiment/vegetable/side dish you want. Food costs money and chefs don’t order food that isn’t on the menu.

37. If you have children, do understand that non-chain restaurants rarely have children’s menus. This sounds like the perfect chance to get your kid to start liking real food.

38. The customer is not always right — raising your voice and getting indignant about non-issues doesn’t give you the upper hand…it just makes you look like the douchenozzle you clearly are.

39. If you’re with a group that’s being loud, or rude, or difficult, police them! Don’t let the behavior go any farther if you know better.

40. Slipping money to the host or maitre d’ so that everyone can see you doing so is incredibly tacky. Also, it won’t necessarily get you anywhere faster.

41. PLEASE don’t fake having an illness (Diabetes seems to be the most common) in order to jump the waitlist. This happens constantly, and I’m sure that those with such illnesses wouldn’t appreciate you doing so.

42. Saying “but we’re just going to eat quickly!” doesn’t change the fact that there are no empty tables. I don’t understand why people don’t get that.

43. Trust the fact that if you’re nice and respectful to the staff, they will be the same back to you. If this doesn’t work, then you have the right to feel that you’re not receiving good service, and to say so.

44. Sending back an entree after you’ve eaten half? Really?

45. Don’t flash your money around and act like everyone around should be kissing your feet — odds are you won’t even tip well.

46. If you had a really great experience, let be known! Tell the manager if you had an outstanding server.

47. If you’re at the bar, waiting to order, and the bartender is clearly going as quickly as possible, please refrain from waving your arms wildly or yelling “hey, over here!”

48. Also, if you’re at the bar, don’t stand in the server/service area — people are trying to work, and you ordering your drink is holding up the entire floor.

49. If you’re with a group that is splitting the check or paying with more than one credit card, step up and insure that the server is still getting the right tip.

50. Remember, dining out should be fun, so chill out, leave the drama at home, and be respectful — it will get you far!

NEW! Read Part 2 of the List

Read the start of the list

(Photo: Thomas Hawk)

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175 Responses leave one →
  1. May 2, 2013

    Um I’ve been a server for 6 years (that’s not a long time, trust me) and this is the most ridiculous article ever. Very rude tone. Yeah,, I know some guests are a little annoying with the things they do, and you’re not going to like every person you wait on, but get your head out of your ass and take a little pride in your job. Your job is to take care if them. So do it, and shut up. And as for the Australian tourist. Please realize servers in the US make 2-4 dollars am hour. Though minimum wage is 7 something. Severs make less..so 15-20% is the amount to tip if you’re service was . I said good. Not absolutely outstanding. In that case, leave an extra dollar or two more. One extra dollar means a lot more to them than it does to you. This article could suffice with 5 things. Not 100.

  2. May 10, 2013

    I worked for many years as a waitress and honestly, you sound really burned out. Like the way people who did it for too long get – EVERYTHING irritates them. The things you describe are just innocent things people do all the time in restaurants and your job is to be polite, firendly, and get them their splenda, or whatever, so they have a nice dining experience. Your customers aren’t idiots or clods(well, maybe a few) they’re nice people who deserve your respect. And as far as tips go – quit counting! Just average it out per hour at the end of the night and see what you made – that way you don’t spend every night angry at someone for not giving you enough, and taking it out on the next customer, etc.

  3. Robbie permalink
    May 24, 2013

    I’ve been in food management for around 5 years now, I was even a GM for a year and a half, but I have always wondered, why should tips be in the form of percentage? I think there should be a min and a max EXPECTED, people can always pay more or less. To my main point, I’ve been in service for years, and believe me I work my TAIL OFF, to do my job, and even as a GM with all the hours I worked I was lucky to make $12 an hour, I would say a server should expect 9-10/he on an average basis. So if you serve 5 tables and.hour that’s 2 bucks per table. Is that bad? I’ve just always wondered why tips have to be based on percentage, off if my bill was $100 because you had to bring a bottle of wine, I would never expect $15 for opening a bottle. Give me some thoughts

  4. madison permalink
    May 31, 2013

    I’ve served people as well for about 7 years, and to be honest, whoever wrote this article needs to get off their high horse and realize that this is part of our profession. There are numerous of times where I’ve wanted to pour hot coffee in someone’s eyes because they grabbed me or just so happen to be a complete jerk. But we still serve with a smile a deal with it. This article is rude and quite possibly the most stupidest thing I’ve heard. Not to mention the fact that MAYBE this person is a rude waiter/waitress/host/hostess and need to find a better profession for themselves.

  5. June 18, 2013

    Tipping is actually related to what country you are in. In my country (Denmark) the waiters/servers get more money for their work and the tip is automatically included, unlike in the USA.
    I never tip in my own country and on trips I use the tourist guide’s instructions on, how much I should tip.

    Also, you sound really burnt out.

  6. domingo permalink
    June 22, 2013

    Everyone on here who is ‘insulted’ at the tone of this article, has either never worked in the hospitality industry, or, if they have, has zero self respect. First off, the tone comes as a direct response playing off the tone of the original New York Times article, which lists 100-things-restaurant-servers-should-never-do, and is, in itself, quite condescending (if you dont think so, it is because you are self-absorbed and think once you walk into a restaurant, your ass should be kissed). Second, the point of the list that is this article, is to articulate to people whom are going out to eat, that they are dealing with other human beings, and there are many considerations to be made, other than simply what suits you. If you have worked in the industry, and find this article to be abrasive, you’re probably either half-asleep, not doing this professionally (only passing the time until your ‘real job’ comes along), or, are a complete idiot without a semblance of dignity. Everything the author wrote is spot on, and the dining experience would be exponentially better for both patron and guest, if only the people that came out to eat (granted a minority, but significant nonetheless), had even the slightest clue of how to treat the people serving them. Just as ignorance of the law is no excuse for breaking it, ignorance of hospitality culture is no excuse for treating people like they are less than your peers when you dine out. What’s hard to understand about not ignoring the host? Or making eye contact and smiling at your server? Hospitality cuts both ways – you have to show respect and dignity to command respect and dignity. Otherwise, your just an asshole, that deserves to be treated like one.

  7. shelly permalink
    July 20, 2013

    YOU ARE A WAITER GOD! And completely understand what it means to work 60hours a week get treated like shit and still can’t afford to buy your son new shoes. Fuck the haters they don’t get what real work is. Its to give up all pride, dignity, respect, education just to see your family well cared for.

  8. James Taylor permalink
    August 6, 2013

    While some of the items listed are a bit of a stretch, I do tend to side with the writer more so than with some of those pf you commenting. Sadly, most of the items listed are a reflection of the inability (or lack of desire) of those dining out to separate their public and private behaviors. Many diners bring the same poor table manners, sloppiness, and lack of respect for others from their homes right into restaurants and expect everyone to be completely accommodating/understanding.

    I would add two more to the list…

    101. If you have some sort of “condition” or if you’re a chain smoker, don’t use the cloth napkin to deposit the mouthful of phlegm you might cough up. The same applies if you have older relatives who cough and hack up stuff frequently, please bring a hand towel with you or ask for some paper napkins as soon as you sit down at the table.

    102. If the restaurant is one of those toilet-only setups with a lock on the door where one person can use the bathroom at a time, do not go to the bathroom and sit on the toilet for 20 minutes-especially when the restaurant is really busy.

    103. If you’re reading this, you’re probably capable of searching the internet well enough to search for “basic table manners.” In an hour, you can probably learn what your parents or some other adult should have taught you as a child. As a result, you can probably avoid 15 to 20 of the “don’ts” listed above.

    Enjoy!

  9. Jerry Russell permalink
    February 1, 2014

    As a restaurant manager, I find this article to be quite presumptuous. Restaurant patrons are PAYING customers, and we in the restaurant industry have no business setting up rules. While I have had my share of difficult and sometimes rude guests, I still go out of my way to treat them like guests, not servants.

  10. David permalink
    February 22, 2014

    I have bee
    n reading this after observing empty tables on a busy Saturday night. I asked what we were waiting when there were tables available. The answer – our kitchen was slammed by several large parties and we need some time to catch up. The follow up – would you like seats at the bar, we have several opening up right now. An honest answer and an offered solution. The essence of good service and an intelligent approach, giving credit while expecting the same.

    This is so different from the condescending, insulting drivel provided by the author of “100 things patrons should never do”. It not only dishonors those who capably do the work he apparently loathes, it exemplifies why some who become disaffected in their work and lives need to either take a time out or retire.

  11. Chris Juricich permalink
    July 25, 2014

    Leave a TIP…regardless? Simply beCAUSE?

    I never leave a tip because it’s expected. I leave a tip if all goes smoothly, but if things go completely south. I’ll consider NO tip. And those restaurants that apply service charges which are simply built-in tips? No. Just charge me more for the damn food and I’ll be the judge of whether to tip, or if the price of your vittles are too high, to find another restaurant.

  12. joseph permalink
    July 30, 2014

    I love this article and you have every right to say it out loud. We, in the hospitality industry, would never say these things to customers but we sure would love them to know a few things about manners wouldn’t we? I mean, cmon, all your negative comments to the author are ridiculous. I’ve been in restaurants for 14 years, am a GM and a Sommelier, and I still wish people would have a few manners. You’re in public, not your home, so respect the people around you, and be appreciative to the person taking care of you. It’s just being a decent, civilized human being.

  13. August 8, 2014

    What is wrong with saying “Yeah, I’ll take…” when ordering the food? It may not be the most formal way to order food but it’s far from impolite.

  14. Brad permalink
    August 19, 2014

    Kind of a ridiculous list. Aside from the sheer hypocrisy of railing against lists such as these before turning around to write one of your own, there are a number of problems here. Firstly, there are a bunch of repeats, just changed around and worded a little differently(#1 and #4 are essentially the same thing). Secondly, a number of these points fall into the realm of “common sense”(#16 springs to mind) or “criminal”(#8), and when combined with your overall tone, really lend a snobbish element to your article, which suggests that you seem to disdain any kind of interaction with customers(at which point I might suggest you’re in the wrong line of work).

    Now, a personal pet peeve of mine: tipping. A number of your points deal with tipping, and how it shouldn’t be done. Basically, they all amount to “leave a bunch of money for your server”. Now, I wouldn’t think you’d need this explained to you, but let me just explain exactly what a tip is.

    There are three parties in this particular equation. Myself(the customer), you(the server), and the restaurant(your employer). When I come into the restaurant and order a meal, I pay for it. This money is used to keep the restaurant functioning, which includes paying your wage. If you have a problem with your wage, that’s actually a problem between you and your employer, and I, as a customer, don’t have a damn thing to do with it. A server’s job, is, at it’s core, an unskilled labour position that requires very minimal training. As a result, servers are cheap and expendable. It’s great that you work hard(or think you work hard), have a good attitude, and like your job. At the base, it’s still a simple job. If you really want more money, get yourself a better job.

    So, now that we’ve established that I have actually already partially paid your salary by visiting your restaurant, and that your wage complaint is actually none of my responsibility, I owe you precisely nothing, beyond the cost of my bill. Now, a tip, or gratuity, actually comes from Latin, and translates to “give freely”. As in “I am freely giving you this extra money, with absolutely no obligation to do so.” In our current society, a tip is intended to reward a person for service above and beyond the accepted standard. The accepted standard is defined by what people are willing to tolerate without going and spending their money elsewhere. This, of course, is open to all kinds of subjectivity and criticism. However, to suggest not only that every service requires a tip, but that it should be “$1 for every $5 spent, rounded up(paraphrased)”(as is #62 on Part 2), is ludicrous. Some people cannot afford to tip 20%, a plight that someone bemoaning the average server’s wage should perhaps be a little more sympathetic to/aware of. And quite frankly, there are plenty of service staff that don’t deserve a nickel more than whatever their hourly wage is(this is called capitalism, boys and girls, and it’s what makes the world function). Now, I’m fine with tipping 20% or even more(and frequently do), but the restaurant industry in general(and certainly you, by the tone of your article) seems to be under the false impression that we, as customers, are somehow obligated to leave you, as servers, some kind of additional money, regardless of how we judge the quality of our service. Because, as we’ve established, that’s what a gratuity is; money freely given without an obligation to do so.

    Now, that said, you did make a couple of fair, reasonable, perfectly valid points in this list. And, if you pared it down to maybe 20, you might have a leg to stand on. At this point, the only thing that this list proves is that you’re angry that some NYT writer called the industry out on a lot of things(probably some fair and others not; I’ll have to read it), you’re bitter toward the customers that provide for your livelihood, and you need to find another line of work. Hopefully, since publishing this article, you’ve left the restaurant industry and are working in a field that you enjoy more(and are better suited for, if your article is a snapshot of your personality).

    Brad

  15. Brad permalink
    August 19, 2014

    Update:

    I just read through the NYT article by Mr. Buschel. I certainly can see the value of including an abbreviated version of his list into a training manual(his list, like this one, was stretched beyond appropriate limits in the desire to hit 100 points, and could be concisely condensed into 20 or so). Additionally, Mr. Buschel carries a far more professional tone throughout the entirety of his article(if you read it, you’ll note that the term “douche”-adjective does not appear once in the entirety of his article, nor is the reader greeted in Part 2 with the image of a dessert cup fashioned into the shape of a giant penis – a sure sign something has gone wrong). While I disagree with some of his points and can certainly sympathize with some of the comments on that article wondering when service staff changed into robots, it is not nearly as disrespectful of service staff as this article is to restaurant patrons. If a winner is to be declared, it is certainly Mr. Buschel.

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