100 Things Restaurant Patrons Should Never Do – Part 2

Nearly two years ago, ESer LB responded to The New York Times’ 100 Things Restaurant Staffers Should Never Do with her own 100 Things Restaurant Patrons Should Never Do — basically a server’s wish list/bill of rights. While we only actually came up with 50 items for the original list, this continues to be one of Endless Simmer’s most popular posts, so we’re pleased to present part 2 of the list, as suggested by ES commenters.

51. Don’t walk back into my kitchen to tell me that you are allergic to something.

52. Don’t tell me how to do something. I don’t care, if you think you should pay AFTER you eat. If I’m telling you to pay BEFORE, just do it.

53. If you use a coupon or get a discount of some sort (use a gift card, etc) make sure you tip on the ORIGINAL bill…seems like another “duh” but you’d be amazed how often people don’t do this.

54. If you have kids, PLEASE keep them under control before/during//after being seated, especially when the restaurant is busy. I can’t tell you the number of times I have zoomed out of the kitchen, arms full of hot food, to almost trip over a 3 year old running around the dining room. THIS IS NOT OK people! and it is dangerous. THINK.

55. Don’t be the person that comes in at 9:50 at a place that closes at 10:00, then two hours later as someone vacuums under your feet, say, “Oh…you’re closed? When?”

56. I’m not picking the garlic out of the pasta sauce. Don’t be any dumber than your genetics already make you be.

57.  If you would not want someone to enter your place of employment and act the way that you find yourself acting when you enter a dining establishment, I would suggest you examine your behavior and expectations. If I were to come into your place of employment, and insist that you assist me at the risk of alienating other customers/guests, I suspect that you would find it annoying.

58. Quit making special requests like: substitutions, different cooking methods, adding ingredients etc… We cook a hundred dishes every hour and it really backs us up when 5 people order the same thing but each want something different done for their order.

59. Quite asking for foods to be cooked WELL DONE!!! It’s going to take a lot longer for your food to be cooked, it will taste and feel like chewing meat flavored sawdust, it will have barley any of it’s nutrients left and several hours later your going to shit bricks.

60. MAKE RESERVATIONS!!! Especially when there are more than ten people in your party! Otherwise your going to have to stand there and wait for several tables to open and it throws everyone into a mad frenzy to prepare for you!

61. Don’t be the person who thinks that just because you’re paying some money, you’re a king/queen. You have no right to be a douche. If you’re the type of person who threatens to never come back, guaranteed you are a customer nobody ever wants to see again. You’re not that important, get over it.

62. No calculator needed. Give the server $1 for every $5 you spend, always round up. It’s that easy.

63. It is always appropriate to tip extra if someone has gone above and beyond. Thanks are great, but thanks and a little extra money are better.

64. If you’re returning to a restaurant known for sending a complimentary taste (amuse-bouche) before your meal, don’t presume that they are going to do it every time, and don’t specify what you want for that little free thing. (Yes, there are people who actually ‘order’ their amuse-bouche.)

65. If you are not dining in what is clearly a vegetarian restaurant, then the restaurant is NOT required to provide a vegetarian entree! My restaurant just got a bitchy yelp review because we’re a southern-american comfort-food restaurant and did not have a vegetarian entree. Um, hello?!

66. …And don’t get mad at your server when they politely point you in the direction of salads and veggie side dishes. Read the menu! If there is not a vegetarian entree listed, then there is not a vegetarian entree!! And no, the chef is not required to “just make you something.”

67. Please realize that the cooks only have a specific amount of grill space on which to prepare your food. Just because you ordered something you think is super easy to fix, doesn’t mean there is adequate room on the grill in the kitchen to fix every single item simultaneously.

68. Also, just because your food in rung in before another tables, that does not mean it will come out first. Certain items take more preparation than others. A well done steak will take longer than fried fish.

69. Servers are human, we make mistakes. Sure every once in a blue moon a server may forget to ring something in or ring it incorrectly. If this happens regularly, maybe you should consider trying different retaurant(s). For a good server, these mistakes are few and far between.

70. When a server brings the food, it always irks me when other people at my table leave their drinks, silverware, and napkins (or worse, cellphones and purses!) sitting right in front of them, where a plate should go. It just doesn’t make sense to me–where is our waiter supposed to put your food? In front of ME? Just move your stuff out of the way, guys.

71. Just because you are the customer does not make anything and everything you do OK. It’s your meal but it’s someone else’s business, office, well-being etc… If you do not behave with the respect patience and good nature you would in any other place of business you are rude.

72. Treat you server like a human being. Be polite and courteous whether you’re getting great service or terrible. No question, request, or complaint from a customer is inherently unacceptable so long as it’s delivered kindly.

73. Don’t dine out for the sole purpose of nit-picking and criticizing

74. Don’t yell at your server if you don’t like the rules. If s/he says extra sauce costs 45 cents, then it just does.

75. It seems like almost all of these can be summed up by: Don’t be a douchenozzle.

Mas complaints? Leave your own restaurant patron dos and don’ts in the comments.

Read part one of 100 Things Restaurant Patrons Should Never Do.

(Photo: Scilly Stuff)

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  • Perstephane August 28, 2012  

    Also, would you be more amenable to doing those things if you knew that I tip 20%, tell a manager EVERY time I get a good waiter/waitress, am unfailingly polite, say please for everything, clean my own messes, and even step in to defend staff if someone else is being an ass? Not everyone who wants something done a certain way is a douche about it.

  • M-J October 24, 2012  

    Speak up! I shouldn’t have to say “pardon me?” after everything you say. Don’t ever ask your server to wait for you while you finish a call on your cell phone. If someone is deathly allergic to a food, they should be deathly afraid to eat out. At least know yourself what you can or can’t have. I’m vegetarian and wouldn’t bother going to a steak house. I stick with places like Thai or Chinese something like that where I know I can get more than bread or a salad!

  • nogoodusernamesleft November 7, 2012  

    1) I can’t pay my bills on compliments.
    If you feel I have done a good job, please tip accordingly. Also, feel free to tell a manager on duty; by speaking to someone about your experience, you actually do your server some good, they often times get a pat on the back which, let’s be honest, just feels good sometimes. It’s nice when people recognize that you actually enjoy your job, and that you’re actually good at your job, and it’s especially nice to hear it from the people who sign your paycheques.

    2) Please don’t assume that since I am a server that I am uneducated. It’s demeaning, plain and simple. A lot of the girls I work with have diplomas/degrees/their masters, we CHOOSE to serve because we enjoy it, and the money isn’t terrible.

  • Joy November 13, 2012  

    I think it more like amounts to “Be considerate”. We are quiet, considerate, and good tippers. but I kinda got tired of the constant use of the vulgarism ‘d-bag’ in this article. Seems to give you an attitude.

  • Donald November 16, 2012  

    I am sorry, but I am not a Romney. Maybe 20% is the expected tip but believe me, if you are not friendly or competent you won’t get near that. I have a limited budget and will tip what I can. But if I don’t meet your “expectations” don’t think ill of me. I know that your greedy-ass boss is probably paying you two bucks an hour(because that’s what they do) but I do my best to tip you well. And you will never be stiffed, unless you are the insufferable screw up..and there ARE some of those out there. I am not high maintenance but I do like to be treated like I am important. Because I have a coupon for something free, or because I am not dressed up like a rich robber-baron(your boss) do NOT look down your nose, scowl or otherwise judge me as a non-tipper. Trust me, I know your job is difficult as you deal with both ignorant customers and arrogant managers. I have been there…

  • Natalie November 22, 2012  

    Please read the menu. When the restaurant is slammed during peak times, we don’t have time to go through all the side options. Please stop ordering things that aren’t on the menu. You’ll know we don’t carry the item if you read the menu! Don’t come to the wait station if you are receiving tableside service. See all those other customers in the dining room? They were there before you and are going to receive service before you no matter how many times you interrupt me in the kitchen! If we are exceptionally busy, it’s not a good time to use the restaurant to socialize your toddler. Order for junior. Don’t make the server stand there while you tell junior to “Tell the lady what you want,” or “What do you say to the lady?” If kids can’t talk to me without coaching, they probably shouldn’t be talking to me.

  • Dee December 26, 2012  

    Do not “help me out” by taking plates and glasses off the tray unless I have looked you in the eye and said, “Yes, you may take the chicken dish off of the tray” otherwise you are going to wear it and chances are, I will laugh at you. It’s better to wait the aditional ten seconds it will take me to place that same tray on the tray jack and hand it out.

    Servers are not babysitters, nannies, or house keepers, your kid throws all the sugar packets on the ground PICK THEM UP!

    Expect to recieve exactly the same attitude you give

    If all of you are on cell phones when I walk up to your table and none of you look up and aknowledge me, DO NOT get attitude when I walk away. I have other tables who need me at that exact moment, you obviously do not

  • Mr. Me January 7, 2013  

    This list is utter rubbish. There are a few that are no brainers, however the rest seems to be bitching for bitching’s sake.

  • Joshua January 7, 2013  

    My biggest pet peeve: We seat u places for a reason, if we put u somewhere STAY THERE! Don’t jump to another table halfway through your meal or ask to be moved just because a table u like better just opened up (yea I’ve had it happen several times). This just makes us hate u and gives us now 2 tables to clean up instead of just one.

  • uhhhhhh January 7, 2013  

    jesus christ i hate the fact that so many servers think they deserve 20% tip no matter what. I know what it feels like to get a shit tip/no tip but when I served I never EXPECTED to get at least 20% unless I knew I did an awesome job. Percent tip is fucking stupid anyway, servers should just get paid a normal wage and receive optional tip for exemplary service. Just because the dish costs $30 instead of $15 doesn’t mean you should get more money, the price doesn’t make the work any more difficult…

  • Liz S January 17, 2013  

    Sorry that I don’t like my meat pink…. damn bitchy.

  • Franco February 5, 2013  

    Ordering by course, annoying, waste of time, and the height of pomposity

  • Person February 24, 2013  

    Uhrm.. no offence or anything but you complain about tips like its the law. I find it quite rude how you complain that people only tip 10%, and that you require 20% or whatever, very rude. I got quite angry reading that and I think that you are at fault and not the customer there, you shouldn’t expect tips. If you get them, that’s a bonus, it is not obligatory.

  • TT March 25, 2013  

    I am just a patron & I can agree with some of this list – but a lot of the list just seems like complaints from restaurant staff. They have a right to bitch about their jobs & people they deal with. But don’t publicize a list of complaints telling their clientele how they are supposed to behave, it just says you don’t need the business or the money … And how is this different than any other profession ? There is no one out there without bad customer stories…….

  • Kristin April 23, 2013  

    You guys that think tipping is optional are out of your minds!!!! The only reason they allow companies to pay a serving wage( not minimum wage) is because you are supposed to tip. If you don’t tip then it’s like the minimum wage and labor laws mean nothing. Don’t be an asshole. Don’t go out to eat if you can’t tip.

  • Brad April 29, 2013  

    Fuck you cheap bitches that say oh you should be fine with 10%. Oh I can’t afford to tip 20%. If you can’t afford to tip you can’t afford to eat out. It is part of the package mother fucker. Keep your cheap ass at home or go somewhere that doesn’t have servers. Eat a dick.

  • Leon May 21, 2013  

    Is this a joke? I work at a fine dining restaurant and this server is the server that every other server in the restaurant hates. It’s fine dining so stop treating your customers as a number and do your job!

  • UK Server June 18, 2013  

    I’m a server myself, and I agree with everything on this list. One thing I would add, which isn’t necessarily a terrible thing for a patron to do but is really annoying, is saying you hated your meal as a joke when your plate it empty. We’re glad you’ve enjoyed your meal, but we’ve heard the joke 14000 times before, it’s not funny.

  • possibly Ur bartender July 15, 2013  

    $2.13 is not enough to pay bills, if you aren’t going to tip me don’t come to my bar! Simple fact, I’m going to take care of the people I know are servers and other bartenders before the drunk chick climbing over the bar screaming for water… If you want water go home or there’s a sink in the bathroom go there! Just saying you will get the same respect you give me! If you cuss at me expect it back and your beer to be hot!

  • April August 2, 2013  

    Don’t reach out, with both hands to take a plate from the server as he/she is serving it to you. Are you trying to relieve me of the last ten inches of my journey from the kitchen. This is so awkward and weird and shockingly common.
    2) If you know my name, do NOT shout it at me for any reason while I am serving many tables. I will forget yours for good.

  • Wayfarer August 5, 2013  

    After reading this list, I am starting to wish I had booked self-catering accommodation for my upcoming trip to the U.S.

    Perhaps the author could consider the following points:

    1) You are apparently NOT a ‘people person’. Maybe you would be happier in a different career, perhaps one that doesn’t require any contact with the public. If it’s so awful, why would you put yourself through it day after day? (Could this be an indication that waiting tables is actually a lot more lucrative than we are all led to believe? Especially when no one really knows what proportion of their cash tips individual servers actually declare to the IRS)

    2) If you put half the energy into petitioning the government as you do moaning about customers (without whom, regardless of how much they tip or don’t tip, you would not have a job) then maybe your labour laws would be on the way to being fixed. I have heard the arguments that if restaurants were forced to pay staff a fair wage they would have to raise their prices and people wouldn’t be able to afford to eat there anymore. WHAT??? Firstly, if the tip is basically mandatory, customers are paying the higher prices anyway. Secondly, if it were true, there would be no restaurants anywhere else in the developed world except America.

    From the outside (of America, not the hospitality industry) it seems analogous to hookers moaning about the johns, totally oblivious that it’s their pimp who is really fucking them. Your anger is misdirected.

    That said, having worked as a waitress myself (albeit here in the UK) I agree with your sentiments regarding general politeness and consideration, which is something we should all be able to expect at work.

  • Moi Shannon November 6, 2013  

    Wow, I have experienced just about everything on this list, being a server for over 20 years. I love my job and I do believe, at times, we all become jaded. It happens to the best of us. A lot of the things listed about general politeness and manners doesn’t only affect the server it interferes with other guests’ experiences. A lot of diners have become progressively ruder and critical about service. I am amazed at how people speak to me sometimes. I really just want the guest to enjoy their dinner and their experience. If you are not happy with something, tell me, so I can make it right for you, and you leave happy and satisfied.
    Remember the Golden Rule. Do unto others….

  • ellen November 17, 2013  

    Wow, being a European who is about to make her first trip to the States, you scare the hell out of me. I always try to be friendly, helpful and patient to staff, but please do note that as a matter of fact foreigners *do* have other customs and traditions. Can I still step into a restaurant without being afraid of doing something wrong?
    I’m a teacher and I’ve had my part of rude and nasty students. But suppose I rant about those ‘motherfuckers’ and ‘douche bags’ on the net, would you be pleased to send your kid to me? Would you think “she must be a great teacher, let’s make her life easier by behaving friendly”? If not, maybe you should reconsider this article.

  • RD December 8, 2013  

    Stop with the ambiguous question “Is it spicy?”. There are varying levels of what is considered to be spicy. What the server considers to be “not spicy” to him/her may be very spicy for the customer. Just ask for a small sample, or simply just move on to something else.

  • Aaron March 19, 2014  

    If you are claiming that you “tip what you can” then you should be budgeting differently. Go out to eat somewhere you can afford, including tip.

  • AlskaNoelle March 20, 2014  

    I’m a hostess at a family restaurant, and honestly, at my three year mark, I’m finding myself losing patience having to deal with the same questions and the same bad attitudes that come with them day in and day out…

    One of my biggest pet peeves is when guests get upset and angry at ME if I don’t seat them exactly where they want to be seated even though they said NOTHING to me at all. Contrary to what is obviously popular belief, being psychic is NOT in a host/hostess’ job description. If you don’t want to sit in the back/near the kitchen/near the bathrooms, TELL ME. I’m happy to find you a seat elsewhere, but don’t drag me around the restaurant for ten minutes as I try to guess where you want to sit.

    Also, I completely agree with the point about managing your children when you go out to eat. Especially on a busy Friday or Saturday night, there are multiple servers and bussers trying to get around a maze of a restaurant with heavy drinks and hot plates in their hands. We really don’t want to also have to dodge your running, screaming children like we’re in a live-action game of Donkey Kong. It’s dangerous for us AND to your children! Please keep them seated at your table, for the sake of everyone’s safety!

    And if I tell you that I can not place a highchair/regular chair at the end of the booth/table you’re inquiring about, don’t cop an attitude with me. I’m not trying to destroy your happiness, it’s not job as the hostess to make sure fire codes and safety codes are met while seating guests, which means I’m telling you no because it’s not safe for you, your family, me or my co-workers. Oh and no, I’m sorry, I DON’T have a booth big enough for a party of nine with three high chairs. Don’t get upset with me! I didn’t built the restaurant! I’m doing my best!

    Sometimes though, it makes my day when a guest does one of these irksome things, and another guests takes the words (that I obviously can’t say) right out of my mouth. I had this older couple come in to my restaurant one day, and the next booth in rotation was a table in the back. So I lead them to that booth and the wife says “Is this okay for you?” And the husband responds with all kinds of attitude: “Well I woulda rather sat somewhere back there!” And right as I’m thinking it, the wife says “Well you shoulda said something them! Well we’re already back here, so sit down!” HAHA!

  • Jody June 27, 2014  

    Do not come into the restaurant with a handfull of trash from your car expecting there to be a place to throw them away. It makes you look trashy.

  • Charmaine August 17, 2014  

    And if you’re going to post a blog that the world will read, at least do a spell check first. ‘it will barley (?) have any nutrients? I think you meant ‘barely’. Won’t embarrass you by listing them all…

  • Jono December 2, 2014  

    Don’t stuff napkins or sugar packets right down the bottom of glasses and mugs. It makes it harder for the waiters and dishwashers to remove. Even if you think you are helping.

  • SotoFifi February 25, 2015  

    What do you do if someone joins a table but doesn’t want to eat or drink anything but is happy to sit there for an hour??

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