Saturday, September 26, 2009

Rules for Dining Out

Okay, people. I work at a restaurant, and it would seem most of you don't get it. You just don't. So, here are some instructions! Please learn them well, and add any that you see fitting.


  • When the host asks, "How are you tonight, folks?", the correct response is something along the lines of, "Fine, how are you?" It is not correct to simply say "Two for dinner" after someone has taken the effort to feign interest in you. Be kind, and fake it back.
  • Do not show up during the dinner rush with a party bigger than six people, without a reservation, and expect to be seated instantly. It won't happen.
  • If you make the choice to go to a smoking restaurant, don't bitch about the smoke. You have free will and can go elsewhere.
  • You take the table the host gives you. Period. Don't ask if you can have that booth instead. If he put you there, it was for a reason.
  • Along this same vein, don't request a four top if you have only two people. You don't need it, but a table coming in later with four people will. Don't be selfish.
  • In general, don't request a table. It screws up server rotation. The food is the same, the company is the same, why do you need that table in the left corner over the table in the right corner?
  • For the love of God, don't change tables in the middle of your meal unless you have a damned fine reason. Most restaurants function in server sections, and it's likely that you will be changing sections. Don't do it.
  • If you choose to sit outside, don't complain about bugs. What do you expect the server to do? Call God and ask him to make the bugs stop bothering you?
  • If you aren't ready to order, say so! Don't say you are ready and then force the server to stand there for three minutes waiting for you to make your decision. The server is busy and doesn't want to have to watch you make your decision that you already indicated you had made.
  • If you say you have four people in your party, don't have more than four show up. It's rude, and often difficult to adjust.
  • Don't ask your server what's in a dish that clearly has the description on the menu, otherwise he will assume you are stupid.
  • Don't try to engage your server in a long discussion when he is obviously busy. His income depends on making people happy, and that includes all the other people he is dealing with, not just you. Remember: we don't really care.
  • Don't flag down your server by waving your check in the air. If the server isn't at your table, there's a reason. They waited on you for the whole meal, you can wait on them for five minutes.
  • Don't ask your server to break a Benjamin if your check is only $13. 
  • Tip at least 18%. The concept of 15% for good service and 20% for great service is outdated. Servers are making almost all of their income off of tips, and need 20% at least to make a dent in their student loans, rent, car payments, etc.
This is not inclusive all of the rules, but these are some of the ones that, if followed, will make your server not hate you. And that's important.

4 comments:

Andy said...

Amen to that, those are the reasons...among others why i only lasted 3 days in food service.

thefoolish said...

It is a challenge, and that is one of the reasons for my final rule. People don't understand how annoying they really are, and we manage to put up with you with a smile on our faces!

Anonymous said...

But...what if you want to propose or something and you need a certain table? I agree for everyday purposes just sit wherever...but sometimes occasions call for a different table, yeah? Ive only ever done it twice...and im sure its annoying...but generally im a good restaurant goer...i haven't ever been a server but ive been in food service and i know how much it can suck...i am always sure to thank everyone because i know how much being appreciated can help...believe it or not barely anyone appreciated that i was making sure they didnt die when I worked at six flags this summer...it was nice when people actually thanked me...much less the people waiting on you...lol
Becky S

thefoolish said...

Naturally, special reasons, such as needing to leave early to make a show you have tickets to, or proposing, or something logical like that are reasons to break some of these rules. These are meant for the everyday.

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