Since I've been able to work, I've always been involved with the food industry. I could never see myself in retail so I deal with the food industry with all of its ups and downs. Whether it's a cafe-style fast food chain, a steak house, or a sports bar, there's a few guidelines that all patrons should follow.
1. The difference between "I'll have..." and "May I have..."
It's something some so simple but it really does make all of the difference. Servers and employees are already there taking orders from their supervisors so we don't need more demands coming from customers. Also, it's just a matter of manners.
2. We can't help it if your food comes out late.
Sometimes we're training new kitchen staff or the kitchen is backed up for any other reason, but it's not our fault. Giving us dirty looks as we walk by your table won't make the kitchen staff move any faster. With that being said, docking our tip because of somebody else's mistake doesn't exactly make sense. Not everything is our fault.
3. We also can't help it if your food comes out under or overcooked.
Again, it's always our fault. Every now and then there may be a mis-ring, but that's not always the case. Don't get fussy with us because the new guy on the grill station doesn't know the difference between rare and medium-well.
4. The table is not a trash can so don't treat it like one.
If you have a dirty napkin or stray straw wrapper, put it on your plate or in your cup at the end of your meal. It cuts off a few seconds on cleaning time and those seconds are valuable. This is one of those little things that not many people think about-- unless they've worked in the food industry before.
5. Please, for the love of all things good in the world, don't answer a phone call in the middle of us taking your order.
Alright, so sometimes there's those phone calls that can't wait, we get that. But if your grandma is calling to tell you about a new upside down pineapple cake recipe that she found on "the Facebook," it can wait. Just don't be rude and we won't be rude back.
6. We're not there for you to hit on.
I've actually been asked if I'm on the dessert menu by 60 year-old men. Twice when I was only 18. If the thought of that doesn't make you cringe, you're probably part of the problem.
7. If we hear you whistle for us, we won't answer.
I've ignored plenty of people for this. We're not your dogs or servants. We know you wish you could have a bell to jingle when you need something, but you don't. Any good server will tell you his/her name at the beginning of your meal. If they don't, they should at least have some kind of name tag. You'll also be ignored if you clap, snap, or anything else that may be considered dehumanizing and condescending.
8. If you can't follow these seven, easy tips, don't bother going out.
Do we want your money? Yes. Is it worth it if you're going to treat us like an object or trash the restaurant? No. Learn your manners before you embarrass yourself or your family in public. Of course these aren't the only "rules" of dining out; but they're key components to a great dining experience. A happy server means a happy visit.