How To Treat Your Waitress

By Taylor Irwin on April 22, 2013

Photo by Pennuja via Flickr

I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again: everyone should be required by law to take a course in going out to eat. After six years in the service industry, you’d be shocked and amazed by the entitled nature that people assume upon walking into a restaurant, as if servant and server are synonymous terms. From sliding cups across the table onto the floor to scanning fake coupons, I’ve seen it all. As a guide for anyone who missed the memo on how to appropriately conduct oneself in a restaurant environment, this list of do’s and don’ts should suffice as a reference guide.

Note: if it is not mentioned in this list, and you question whether it is an asshole move; it’s probably an asshole move.


Don’t stay past closing time.

Just don’t. The last thing any waitress or waiter wants to do after working eight hours is to sit and watch the only remaining guests slowly enjoy the last remnants of their “Combination Dish Number Four”. It’s called closing time for a reason, people. In fact, you shouldn’t even come fifteen minutes before closing; it’s just as bad.

Do learn how to tip.

There are exceptions to this rule only in dramatic circumstances. If your service has been horrible, i.e. food has been dropped on your lap, you haven’t been greeted for an excessive amount of time, or they have forgotten about you altogether, then ten percent may be a suitable tip. However, if nothing has been wrong whatsoever and you realize you ended up spending more than you would have liked, that is not the fault of the employees. With servers earning an average of $4.50 an hour, your tips make up our salary.

Don’t make aggressive gestures to gain the servers attention.

“AY Miss!” *snaps fingers* “AY Miss!” This, for example, is not okay. It may be easy to forget that servers are not trained animals, but actual people, and you have to remind yourself of that from time to time. Inappropriate gestures may also include: slamming your cup on the table, tugging on a waiter’s apron, clapping your hands in their face, or yelling in general. This seems like it would go without saying, but when it occurs several times in the span of a night, a refresher seems necessary.

Do realize that servers aren’t the ones cooking your food.

Communication problems happen in real life, and a restaurant is no different. Whether the food is taking too long or your dish didn’t come out just right, it is important to remember that your server is not the one flipping the burgers over the skillet. The kitchen is a another enchilada (pun intended), so before you go off on the middle-man, it would be more appropriate to kindly inquire the reason for your issues with your meal.

Everyone could brush up on their restaurant etiquette. Except you, 20% tip guy. You keep on keeping on.

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