7 Ways To Ensure An Enjoyable Dining Experience, As Told By Your Hardworking Server

7 Ways To Ensure An Enjoyable Dining Experience, As Told By Your Hardworking Server

I thought this was all common knowledge, yet I am surprised every day at work.

Mind your manners people! Don’t be that table that all us servers talk about in the back. If you’ve ever worked in a restaurant you know what I’m talking about.

A shift is typically 5-6 hours of standing on your feet filled with (forced) smiles and dealing with the general public. My job is always interesting and I am very lucky to work where I do, it just becomes comical with the stuff I see on a daily basis.

So with that, I’ve created a little list of things that I think everyone needs a refresher on for when they go out to eat.

1. Tipping

Just tip, people! Always 20%. A tip isn’t “extra” added to our paychecks. In fact, we don’t even get a paycheck, we work off of tips. The smart comment written on the receipt or the two dimes that you left on my table, unfortunately, will not pay my rent this month. Another aspect that I don’t think many realize is that it took a team effort in order for you to eat today-- the busser, food runner, and bartender need to make money, too! When a customer tips 20% (If that’s you, you rock, keep it up) the server will only get about 15-16% of that tip after tipping out the rest of the support staff. So, if your drink tasted great and a cute little high school boy cleared your dirty plates for you, remember that when signing the tip line. Okay, so tipping is covered, we are all tipping at least 20%, got it?

2. Cell Phones

Yes, it’s the year 2017 and most people have their cell phone tied to their hand. But if you’re out to eat at a restaurant, you are probably supposed to be enjoying time with family or whoever is sitting across from you, I think you can put the phone down for 45 minutes. When customers talk on their phones at the table, not only is it rude, but the tables around you really don’t want to hear your conversation when they are trying to enjoy a nice dinner. Take it outside, people! And if a busy server is at your table trying to take your order, look at them! Please don’t have your head down scrolling through Facebook, I just need 30 seconds of your time to figure out what you want to eat, then you can go back to your very important phone gazing.

3.“Well, I know the owner”

That’s nice, Mrs. Johnson, I know him too, he’s my boss actually. Just because you “know” the owner does not mean your wait time for a table will be shortened, you will be getting a free drink or can order things that we don’t even have in the kitchen. “Knowing” the owner is not an excuse for anything. Quit acting like a celebrity and come back down to reality, please.

4. Children

I love kids, I really do. But if your kid isn’t well behaved enough to sit through a dinner without throwing a tantrum, maybe it’s not time to go out to eat. And babies, boy are they precious. But if your baby is screaming bloody murder and the restaurant is full, you should probably take it outside so everyone else does not have to listen to the screaming child while you try to inhale your dinner. I will happily put your food in a To-Go box for you. Lastly, regarding the kids' menu, its say “12 and Under”, if you look 18 and are trying to order off the children’s menu so you can eat for five dollars and not tip me, please go to McDonald's.

5. Stop Trying to Recreate the Menu

We have a menu for a reason and a wide variety of one. The restaurant does hundreds of meals each night, it is amazing enough that they are able to process a number of orders that they do. I work at a steak and seafood restaurant, so don’t be shocked when we don’t have a Greek Gyro or Italian lasagna. I’m all for accommodating, but when a customer tries to add this to that and then wants to substitute everything on their plate, maybe they should have gone elsewhere. I want to make the customer happy, but the kitchen simply does not have enough time or resources to customize each and every plate. And if they happen to do that for you, don’t complain that your food is taking too long, you have no idea what goes into changing around meals when you have 20 others to make in the next 15 minutes.

6. Trying to Get Free Meals

It happens at least once a night. After the food comes out I ask to make sure everyone is happy and satisfied with their meals and then check back periodically while the customers are eating. Don’t wait until after you have eaten every scrap on your plate and the check has been dropped to tell me that your steak “wasn’t really cooked the way you wanted it, and it should be taken off your bill”. I’m sorry, if it was that terrible then why didn’t you tell me the first 5 times I asked? Or how on Earth were you able to be a plate cleaner if it tasted so horribly!? I know what you’re trying to do here, no, you’re not getting your meal for free.

7. You Are Not the Only Table in the Restaurant

Typically, a server will be responsible for between 4-6 tables at a time and a large party could be in the mix of that. Personally, I want to give every person that I am waiting on, a great dining experience, but sometimes customers make that difficult. *Flags me down from across the restaurant* “Oh miss, miss, don’t go anywhere we are ready to order”.

I can normally gauge just by body language and nonverbal cues when a table is ready, this table does not look ready, but hey I’ll go check on them. When I get to the table, it’s a task just to get everyone to stop talking and look at me, and nobody knows what they are having and keeps pointing to the person next to them to “go first”.

I stand there awkwardly waiting for 60 seconds before I tell them that I will give them more time and will be right back. Here’s my next favorite: I am talking to one booth and the booth next to them decides to yell over “Hey, come here I need more water!!” In my mind, I think “Didn’t your mom teach you not to yell at someone and not to speak when someone else is talking?!”

The current table that I am at looks baffled and I shake my head and continue to take their order before heading over to the man dying of thirst who is chugging waters faster than I can bring them. “Is my appetizer ready yet?”

No, ma’am, you ordered it two minutes ago and I have not even had a chance to go in the back to enter it. I could go on and on. Next time you are out to eat, please remember there are many other people than just you at the restaurant.

At the end of the day, my job is great. The shift normally goes by fast, I work with awesome people, and I encounter some very funny situations along with meeting tourists from all over.

If you take anything away from this, please just be courteous and treat your server like a normal human being when you are out to eat at a restaurant!

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

Popular Right Now

10 Things People Who Addictively Drink Diet Coke Are Sick Of Hearing

In tribute to the most wonderful beverage in the world during my attempt to detox.

Hi I'm Katie, and I'm a Diet Coke-aholic. It's been 28 days, 22 hours, 2 minutes, and a handful of seconds since my last Diet Coke and I think I'm going to die. I'm not kidding — I've had dreams about the stuff, it's bad guys. I figured with the new year I would try and be healthier. I said I would give up Diet Coke for a year, a whole year. So when I found myself sitting in my room missing the feeling of drinking a nice cold Diet Coke I couldn't help but reminisce on all of the super annoying things people say about my "addiction."

1. It'll cause cancer

The original study that “firmly concluded" that Diet Coke “definitely causes cancer" was done by Italian researchers where they overfed almost 2,000 rats aspartame (the main sweetener in diet soda) at a rate and concentration that no human being would ever likely consume. So although a link was found between aspartame dosage and cancer in rats a similar study on humans confirmed no link between the two. Maybe they'll find something in the future, but right now I get to drink my can guilt free. Science.

2. You know, Diet Coke won't make you skinny

I haven't been to the gym since October. Trust me, honey, I'm not drinking the stuff for the health benefits. I'm drinking it for the delicious taste.

3. Have you ever thought about cutting back a little?


4. Have you ever thought about swapping it out for seltzer water or something else?

No. Seriously? Are you kidding me? Please stop suggesting stupid things.

5. Put the bottle down!

Some people think that it's a problem. I think that it's a solution.

6. Diet Coke is actually worse for you than regular Coke.

Ok cool. Thanks, doc.

7. Do you know how much money you're probably spending?

No, and I don't want to find out. I have been successfully avoiding the answer to this since 2010.

8. All that soda will impact your mood.

You're damn right it will. If I'm stressed, or sad, or angry — you name it, a Diet Coke is guaranteed to make me smile. So thank you for pointing this out because yes, Diet Coke does affect my mood.

9. The sugar will rot your teeth

a) It's the carbonation, not the sugar that rots your teeth b) I brush my teeth and practice other oral hygiene regardless so I think I'm OK.

10. You have a problem.

Yeah, it's you. I am fully aware that I drink more Diet Coke than some people but I'm OK with that.

Despite all of the nonsense people insist on talking to me about I will always have a special place in my heart for Diet Coke. See you in 2017, my love.

Cover Image Credit: Coca-Cola Co.

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The Year of the Pig

Happy Chinese New Year! My family has a few traditions that we do to celebrate the new year together, but this year my mom and I decided to start something new.


Do you remember the controversial maybe even disturbing short film before Incredibles 2? The one where the mom eats her son who is a small steamed bun? Even though it might have been disturbing, you have to admit that the buns the mother and her son made together looked delicious!

The food in the short film is called bao and it is a traditional Chinese steamed bun that typically contains pork as its filling. My mom and I were inspired to try to make our own and maybe after this article; you'll be inspired, too!

Here are the ingredients you will need:

1. Premix flour steamed bao (you can find this at the Asian market)

2. Steamer (we used bamboo steamers from the Asian market)

3. Ground chicken breast

4. Chopped Portabella mushrooms

5. Chopped green onions

The first thing we did was prepare the filling for the bun. Traditionally, pork is supposed to be in the bun, but we decided that we would do chicken instead.

1. Add grapeseed oil to a large, frying pan

2. Add minced ginger, onions, and mushrooms (measurements are optional)

3. Add the ground chicken breast

4. Add the seasoning as you continue to sauté all the ingredients.

5. Season with soy sauce, hoisin sauce and ginger (measurements are optional)

Make sure your center stays heated while you start to make the bun. The instructions for how to make the buns are on the packaging of the bun powder. Once you mix all the ingredients, you have to knead the dough for quite a while.

You can always make your buns from scratch. You can find a recipe for homemade steamed buns here.

Once the dough is kneaded, separate it into 18 strips. It is difficult to roll out the dough at first, but it becomes easier after a while. Once the dough is divided, roll them out into flat circular shapes and place the filling in the center of the dough. After you put the filling in the center of the bun, grab all of the edges of the dough together and twist them at the top, forming a swirling shape at the top of the bun.

We placed four bao on wax paper in one steamer and steamed them for 15 minutes. Each bao must be placed on separate sheets of wax paper. After 15 minutes, you have your bao!

This is a family-friendly activity that not only entertains your family, but it also feeds them! Celebrate the Year of the Pig by making bao with your friends and family! It's an experience that brings people together and gives them memories to cherish for a lifetime!

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