Brian1la7's Blog

December 15, 2009

100 Things Restaurant Customers Should Never Do

Filed under: Service Industry — brian1la7 @ 5:10 am

I am a server at a restaurant and was recently given an article from my boss from the New York Post entitled “100 Things Restaurant Staffers Should Never Do.”  The memo mentioned items such as handling glassware by the stems, not interrupting conversations for any reason and never mentioning the tip.  I have been in the service industry for eight years and thought I would write an article of my own entitled “100 Things Restaurant Customers Should Know/ Never Do.”

1.  Never speak to a server while they are serving other guests, this is rude.

2. Understand that separating checks for a large party takes time, be patient.

3. Never curse at a server.

4. It’s ok to smile and be friendly to the person waiting on you.

5. Leave 20 percent for good service! The tips you leave is what servers make their living on, don’t try to save a buck by tipping them less.

6. Understand the tip you leave also goes to other staff members such as the bartender and busser.

7.  If you ordered a steak medium and it came out medium well, do not blame it on your server, they didn’t cook your food!

8. Foreigners please tip accordingly to US standards. Servers are not on a salary and do not get benefits. Most make $2.65 per hour.

9.  Do not waive your hand in front of a server as a sign to stop pouring water or dismiss them from the table.

10. When paying your check pay promptly so your server doesn’t have to keep asking you if your ready to cashout.

11. Don’t block your server while they are trying to clear your plates/glasses.

12. Do not make fun of your server or mock them.

13. Don’t ask for your server’s phone number, they are there to make money.

14. Do not wait until you have eaten all your food to complain about something wrong with your meal.

15. If you have food allergies, ask about the ingredients used in the food before ordering.

16. Do not take your personal stress out on your server.

17. Do not make corny jokes or flirt with your server, they will only put up with it to get a good tip.

18. Do not put empty plates on other tables when your done.

19. Say thank you to your server.

20. Do not call a young female server ma’am, miss will do just fine.

21. If your party needs numerous things, ask your server at the same time so they don’t have to make a lot of trips.

22. If your server goes up and beyond, make sure to compensate them.

23. Verbal tips are nice, but cash tips are better.

24. If you tip poorly your server will tell the the other servers and they will remember you on your next visit.

25. If you tip really well the same thing will happen and you will be taken extra special care of.

26. Knowing the owners doesn’t give you any special privileges.

27. If you lose something don’t yell at anyone. This will make them not want to help you and besides they didn’t loose it, you did.

28. If you see that it’s a really busy night, don’t ask your server about their school plans…they have a lot of people to take care of.

29. Realize that you are not the only person your server is waiting on.

30. Know what you want when ordering, do not ask your server to recite the whole menu.

31. Do not ask your server what isn’t good. This is awkward. Instead ask them what is most popular.

32. If you have consumed too much alcohol do not be upset if you are no longer served. This is for your safety and that of the person serving you.

33. Do not touch your server.

34. Take notice of any additional charges. Most will be located at the bottom of the menu such as additional gratuity for large parties.

35. Do not give your order to another server who is not waiting on you…ask them to get your original server.

36. Ask for extra condiments when you first place your order so it can be brought with your meal.

37. Do not make messes intentionally on the table if you are not under the age of 10.

38. Do not stare at your server in silence whenever they come to your table, this is uncomfortable.

39. Make sure to call if your going to cancel a reservation.

40. If you have an empty plate in front of you and your server says “may I take your plate?” Do not say “obviously, nothing is there.” The server is being polite and you are being rude.

41. If a server cannot reach your water glass, set it to the side so they can easily refill it.

42. Do not call and ask when a restaurant will be busy or if you will likely get a table on a Friday night. They don’t know! Make reservations.

43. If your server tells you a plate is hot don’t touch it to see if it’s true.

44. Let your server know if your not going to be at your table for an extended amount of time.

45. Tip off the original bill. Just because you have a gift card or coupon doesn’t mean you tip less.

46. If you have your drinks transferred from the bar make sure to leave a tip for the bartender.

47. If a restaurant closes at 11 p.m. and you walk in at 10.59 p.m. for dinner, you are being an inconvenience.

48.  Be patient.

49.  Ask, do not demand.

50. Do not linger around after the restaurant is closed. The staff has family, pets and things to take care of at home.

51. Wear deodorant and clean clothes. No one wants to smell body odor or moth balls.

52. Don’t make up your own meals. Order what’s on the menu.

53. Do not ask to speak to the chef on a busy night. They are busy cooking for the entire restaurant.

54. There are other people waiting for your table on a busy night. Don’t stay over 2 hours, be considerate.

55. Be considerate of other tables, they are trying to have a nice time too.

56. Never stiff a server out of a tip unless something went seriously wrong.

57. If your server tells you their out of something listen, don’t ignore them then order the item they just said they didn’t have.

58. Don’t have your server recite specials if your really not interested.

59. Just because a bottle of wine you ordered comes with a screw cap does not mean it’s of less quality thank a bottle with a cork.

60. Don’t rearrange chairs or try to take a tray from a server and serve it yourself…that’s what they are there for.

61. Don’t order too much if it’s out of your budget then skip out on the tip.

62. Never dine and ditch.

63. If you order decaf do not ask your server if it is decaf…they heard you the first time.

64. If the restaurant is out of the one thing you always go there for don’t let it ruin your evening, try something new.

65. Don’t make fun of things you aren’t familiar with on the menu, your just embarassing yourself.

66. While dining at ethnic restaurants, do not mock the culture or try to impersonate their accents.

67. When you finish everything on your plate do not say “I hated it!” This joke is overdone.

68. Never think you are better than the person serving you.

69. Try to put yourself in your server’s shoes.

70.  Your waiter is your server, not your servant.

71. It is OK to send something back if it is not made or taste properly. Do not eat more than a couple bites before you say something.

72. Don’t say “I’ll have Pellegrino” without knowing if the restaurant carries it. Ask them what sparkling water they have.

73. Do not battle over the check and rip it out from your servers grip…slip your server your card at the beginning of the meal if you want to take care of the bill.

74. If your an adult and your server brings out your birthday dessert without a candle don’t get upset. They may be out and you are grown.

75. Do not put your order in, wait fifteen minutes and then try to cancel. The food is already being made, eat and pay for what you ordered.

76. Do not go into a restaurant just to use the bathroom.

77. Do not go into a restaurant  just to get change for a meter.

78. If you are obviously in the way of a server carrying a large tray, do not ignore them, please move.

79. Do not block server stations.

80. Do not argue in front of your server or anyone else for that matter, your out to enjoy yourself.

81. Do not ask to have a drink split, food is different but for drinks  just order a drink per person.

82. Do not ask to sample a bunch of wines then just stick with water, it’s rude.

83. If you see the server you just had out in public, don’t feel obligated to say anything to them.

84. Never comment on the prices. If the place is too pricey, go somewhere else.

85. Don’t let your kids talk rudely to waitstaff, unacceptable.

86. Never insult your server for any reason.

87. If the restaurant does not have what you want do not ask “are you sure?”

88. You know best what you like. What a server recommends is according to their taste, not yours.

89. Do not snap your fingers to get your servers attention.

90. Don’t let your kids run around the restaurant.

91. Do not let your underage teenagers drink from your glass.

92. If you look 30 or younger just have your ids ready, it saves time.

93.  Never tell your server how much other restaurants charge for the same bottle of wine your having, they don’t care.

94. Do not show up for a reservation for 10 when you now have 20 people. Call and update the restaurant.

95. Just because you see an empty table does not mean it’s available.

96. If you have a birthday party at a restaurant please take your empty bags and party favors with you when you leave.

97. Entrees do not always come with salads and if they do, appetizers are not considered an entree and you will not get a salad with it.

98. Do not complain about something to try and get a freebie.

99. Sign your credit card slip!

100. Never take your servers pens, they are not free.



  1. I have worked in restaurants for over 10yrs and it seems that guest just don’t know how to be served or treat their server. If you can’t do anything else always tip your server 20% on the original bill. Even if service was horrible. Instead of stiffing that server who could be new or having a bad day, just let them know if they have done something wrong soon enough so they can fix it. If the service was just completely unbearably awful still tip but inform the management. Remember the squeaky wheel gets the grease. The problem (whether it be the server, food, drinks, atmosphere, etc.) can not be addressed if the right people do not know. But always tip no matter what! When you mess up at your job or have a bad day your not docked your pay and your server/bartender shouldn’t be either.

    Comment by Desiree Liwosz — December 15, 2009 @ 9:57 pm

  2. I only have one word to say to this list…… Amen.

    I have worked in the industry for a long time and it is my career and if only 50% of my guests followed 50% of these guidelines I wouldn’t feel the need to have a few drinks after every single shift. I love this list and it is being linked to from my blog and I am sending it to all my server friends.

    Comment by Chris — February 1, 2010 @ 6:33 am

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