I used to be a waiter and I can tell you the number one thing you shouldn't do is come into a restaurant just before closing. We hate you if you do it. it's not cool. If you must come in, don't linger, so the staff can finish cleaning the kitchen and head home to their own families. I remember many a night of being held hostage by customers who refused to leave. Having feckless management didn't help matters either...
After Redditor [deleted] asked the onlline community, "Servers, what is something all customers should know and do but currently don't?" waiters around the world weighed in.
"If your server is holding a tray of drinks..."
If your server is holding a tray of drinks (or dishes of food, if it's that kind of place) in their hand while serving the table, don't take anything off the tray because the server likely won't be able to adjust for the weight-shift differential in time and what's remaining on that tray will likely go a-flyin'.
Had a table of 6 once where I was serving their drink order while holding the tray in my hand, and the guy at the far end of the table apparently couldn't wait an additional 6 seconds to get his $2 pint of Bud Light draft, and grabbed it while I was passing out the first pints, and the 3 remaining drinks went tumbling all over me and their table.
"Don't let your kids..."
Don't let your kids run around like rabid animals.
I worked in a ton of restaurants and even the high-end ones would have negligent parents letting their kids run around while I'd be carrying a bunch of hot entrees.
"If you're going to switch tables..."
If you're going to switch tables, please let us know about it. I don't know if this is the case for everyone, but I remember where to put drinks and food, not who ordered them, so if you switch around, you're going to get asked who had what every time.
"Tell your server..."
Tell your server about ANY possible food allergies or foods that can interfere with medications (grapefruit juice can interfere with lots of meds), even if you don't think it matters based on what you ordered. You are responsible for your health, not your server.
STOP SHOVING YOUR DIRTY NAPKINS IN YOUR GLASS. NOW I HAVE TO STILL TOUCH THE NAPKIN WHILE ALSO PUTTING MY WHOLE HAND IN YOUR DIRTY GLASS. Also I now can't stack my glasses which is pretty inconvenient.
"I promise you..."
If you don't like your food please tell me. I promise you 99% of servers don't mind getting it fixed or replaced. You ordered it you have to eat it, so it might as well be right. The days of spitting in food don't exist anymore I can't tell you how many times people are afraid to send food back because of that fear. It won't happen I'll bring you out something you like with no problem.
"Telling your server..."
Telling your server that you once worked in a restaurant as justification for some over the top request makes you look terrible.
I'm not a server, but I know quite a few people who are. And I would say that the main thing they complain about is that people just treat them like shit. Or like they are sub-human.
Honestly if you just treat people like they are your equal and just give them some basic human decency you will get a lot better service. And waitstaff wont hate going to your table.
I worked in a busy restaurant in the centre of London and one of the common problems we had that I've not seen mentioned yet, was people not waiting to be seated. Literally just coming in and taking a seat.
If you do this: 9 times out of 10 we won't notice you. That means you won't get your menus, and because you don't have your menus on the table the servers will think you've already ordered and basically ignore you.
If you're unlucky enough to be noticed waltzing in and taking a table, chances are you'll be moved. Normally because that table is either dirty, booked out, or we have a seating system that means those tables aren't in use until prime serving, at which point they're likely booked out anyway. Plus, you instantly get put in the servers "bad books" because you've already been an inconvenience to us.
"I've got kids..."
Sitting in the restaurant after close. I've got kids to pick up from babysitters, I've got groceries to buy. I'm not staying past close. Luckily I've started kicking people out right at 11 saying COVID doesn't let us stay open.
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