Everyone… and I mean everyone… should either work in a restaurant at one point in their lives, or at least be knowledgeable about the restaurant industry so they know how to dine out. You don’t realize how much you suck at it until you’re on the other side.
Here are a few guidelines:
- If there is someone standing at the front of the restaurant, they will seat you. It’s not your job to seat yourself, it’s theirs, that’s the point of a hostess, that’s what they get paid to do. If there is a hostess stand but no hostess, just hang on two seconds, they will be back (I promise).
- Give your server a minute to introduce himself/herself, their just trying to be nice/do their job, it’s rude to bark drinks at the person who has just barely approached your table, it gives them a bad impression and will thus make your service worse. They will ask you shortly what you want to drink, just be patient.
- Be conscious of how fast you drink your drinks or how often you ask for a refill – their are a pain in the ass, especially when it’s busy.
- If you want a side of ranch, ask for it when you order. There is nothing more annoying than being accosted mid-walk (possibly by a table that’s not even yours) to get you ten sides of ranch.
- Not every server in the restaurant is there to serve you. If you need something, instead of asking the first person you see to get you something, ask them nicely if they would mind grabbing your server for you.
- There are often days when a restaurant is just out of every-effing-thing. It’s not the servers fault. They probably feel super awkward telling you all the shit their out of anyways. They are not in charge of stock, don’t take it out on them.
- If your food came out wrong, it is also not always the servers fault (yes, they might have rang it in wrong, but don’t jump to conclusions). Let them apologize and fix it for you. I guarantee you that they are not out to fuck up your food and ruin your life… unless maybe you’re a total asshole (which you obviously won’t be after reading thing, right?)
- Do. Not. Snap. Your server is not a dog. A kind hand motion to catch their attention will do the trick.
- If you’re over 15 or so, don’t order off the kids menu (usually it’s under 12, but we’re not food nazis). When you’re a table of three 40-something-year-old men, ordering off the kids menu is tacky and cheap and makes you look like an ass. Especially if you assume you get the complimentary dessert then get mad that your server brought your drink in a kids cup. Yes, people, this actually happens.
- Not all restaurants include big-group gratuity (my restaurant, for instance). On parties larger than 8 or so, restaurants often include a 20% automatic gratuity. You know why? You guys were probably hard as fuck to take care of. However, make sure you check the receipt to see if they do or not. Getting $0.00 on a $350.00 bill just because they assumed gratuity was include is not fun.
Tipping (yes, this deserves it’s own category):
- Yes, your server has certain parts of their job that they have to do, like greet a table in their section. But in no way does a server have to be friendly, careful with your food and drinks, or come back to check on you and make sure your food’s good. They do that because they’re making tips. Theoretically, better service = better tips.
- Do you know why servers make minimum wage (and in some states, a separate “server” minimum wage that could be as low at $1.50 per hour)? Because the government assumes they make tips. Think about that real quick. While your job might be “professional”, I guarantee you that working in a full restaurant with 8 table sections is 100x more strenuous and hard-labor oriented then anything you do in your little cubicle. Yes, the base job description of being a server is not too complex, but you try working in a restaurant on a full section on a busy night and see how “easy” it is then. That’s why tipping is absolutely necessary.
- Does the law say you have to tip? No. Does the law say we can’t accidentally cut our finger in the kitchen, then en route to wash your hands and bandage your cut, accidentally get a few drops of blood in your food, not notice, and bring it to your table for you to enjoy? Nope.
- That one sounded a little bit grotesque, it was just an example. Personally, I would never do that. But lets just say you’d be lucky to have me as a server.
- If your food is somehow discounted (maybe you friend got you the hook ups), tip off of the original bill, don’t be a dick and tip off of comped food, because it may be $0.00.
- 20% of the entire bill should be your base tip, for example $6 on a $30 tab. If you service is noticeably shitty because your server was just not friendly and obviously didn’t care about crap, use your judgement, but do not go below 10%, remember what we’ve been discussing this entire post? If your service is really good, go above 20%!! You’ll make the servers night, I promise. Even leaving $5 on a $15, that’s almost a 30% tip, and it was literally only $5 more dollars out of your pocket!!
Bottom line: don’t be a dick, be understanding, know that 99% of the time the servers just want to make rent, etc.
Thank you and happy restaurant-ing.