Pretty much everyone has been to a restaurant at one point or another. I happen to work in one, so I'm there all the time. As someone who works in a restaurant, there are some things I wish our customers knew. There are some things you just shouldn't do or say, whether because it's rude or just annoying. Being the perfect customer is easy.

1) How are you? I'll have water.

When your server greets you, never respond in kind. Just give them your order. "I'll have water" is the only appropriate response to "How are you?" or "Welcome to [insert place here]." This is just basic manners. Don't be one of those people who returns the greeting. That's just inefficient.

2) Substitute everything

Servers and culinary professionals get tired of making the same dishes all the time. Help them out and spice it up by substituting every part of your desired entree for something else. It's best if what you create doesn't even remotely resemble the original dish.

3) Children

It's also always great to bring very young children into the restaurant. The best time for this is when they're cranky or late at night. Order the messiest possible thing for them (I'm looking at you spaghetti) and cut it into teeny tiny pieces. If you can somehow get them to throw it everywhere, that would be ideal. Also, don't bother cleaning up. Servers and bussers live for that part of the job. Bonus points if you also tear all the straw wrappers into tiny pieces and scatter those as well.

4) Tip Horribly


Tip your server around 5-1o percent even if they were amazing at their job. They make a whopping $2/hour wage, so really that tip is just extra. Sure, they work really hard to make sure you have everything you need, and you did choose to go to a restaurant where tipping is a thing, but that's really not your problem. You got your food, so why bother showing appreciation for good service?

5) Arrive Late

Walk in right before closing time. If the restaurant closes at 10 p.m., make sure you get there around 9:55 pm. Everyone is bored at this point anyway. The place is almost closed, business is usually slow, and they're shutting everything down for the night. This makes it the perfect time to show up and order food. It's even better if you can manage to stall your departure. Just sit there like the entire restaurant revolves around you. Don't bother leaving, even if the place has been closed for an hour. You're a paying customer. Why should you care that the staff might want to get home at some point? Sit there all night if you want.

Bonus: Steal the Pen

Servers carry pens all the time. Some have a special kind they like or a favorite one. Don't worry. We love it when you steal our pens. It's not like we had to buy those ourselves or anything. Stolen pens make our day. Really.

In actuality, people who do these things are the absolute worst when you work in the restaurant industry. So please, next time you're in a restaurant, pay attention, and do not do these things.