The holiday season is upon us, which means that many of us will choose to dine out with our family, friends, and loved ones. That means that all of our interactions with waiters, waitresses, hosts, hostesses, servers, etc. will only increase as the days pass by. However, the joy that we feel as customers is not always reflected by those who serve us. Trust me… I’d know; I was a waitress back in the day (AKA like one year ago).

So I’d like to take advantage of this time of year and give you my best advice for properly behaving while other people are serving you.

When I still worked at the restaurant, I was both a hostess and a waitress. However, it almost felt as if I wasn’t a hostess at all considering the countless times that customers would walk in and seat themselves, blatantly ignoring the “Please Wait to be Seated” sign.

This, in turn, made them become invisible to us waiters and waitresses, not because we didn’t like them, but literally because we DIDN’T KNOW THEY WERE THERE. And then they had the audacity to complain to us and say that we weren’t tending to them properly.

Now I know this doesn’t really happen often, but I figured I’d mention it anyways. So when you go eat at a restaurant, please make sure you don’t just waltz in like you own the place.

Once you’re all seated and feeling nice and dandy, the real show has begun. It’s time to order, eat, drink, and gain ten pounds. It’s also time to be nice to your servers (it should always be that time, but you know what I mean).

So unless the service of the restaurant is just clearly horrendous and the food is in need of a good Gordon Ramsay whooping, please be nice to the people who are serving you. And to be honest, you should never be rude to those in charge of serving you food, now should you?

And what exactly do I mean by this?

Let’s say you ask the waitress for a napkin or a fork. And let’s say that a couple minutes have passed and it seems that she’s forgotten about your request. Don’t take this as an invitation to turn into a jerk and call her over to berate her. Chances are, she may have accidentally forgotten about some of her tasks, considering she has SEVERAL. And no, I’m not saying your request isn’t as important, but just keep in mind that we’re all human and we all make mistakes.

So just calmly flag down your waitress and politely ask again for what you needed.

Of course, this general logic applies to many other things as well. In general, just don’t be a jerk to your waiter/waitress. Be patient and you’ll get your food in due time.

Again, disclaimer (because I don’t want to offend anyone): If you’ve been waiting for your food for an exceedingly long time, it’s not a bad thing to ask your waiter/waitress to check up on the food. There’s nothing wrong with that. The only thing that’s wrong is when a customer speaks to a waiter/waitress in a degrading way.

So after you’re done eating and you’re feeling like a million bucks, it’s time to look around your table. If you’ve made a massive mess and it looks like a tornado forced its way to be your additional guest, it doesn’t take that much effort to help clean up a little.

Maybe stack a few plates (don’t overstack them and cause breaking plates), wipe up a few soup puddles, and pick up some fallen food. It really does not take that much effort to help out a little bit. If you’re one of those people who feel like you shouldn’t have to because it’s “not your job”... well… you’re a jerk.

Besides, think about it like this. The more you help clean up your table, the less time it’ll take for your waiter/waitress to fully clean up your table. The faster they clean it up, the faster another party can be seated. Imagine if that party was your party. AND THEN, imagine if the table before you wreaked havoc everywhere and caused your waiter/waitress to have to spend ten minutes cleaning up the table. That could have been ten minutes you were already sitting down.

So help out. No harm, no foul.

LASTLY, my favorite topic. Tips.

I hope all of you already realize that waiters and waitresses make a majority of their pay OFF TIPS. Tips are extremely important and should be dealt with accordingly.

Okay. If you GENUINELY had a really really bad time with the service and it was just horribly bad… then fine. Don’t tip as generously if you don’t want to. I can’t force you to do that. Otherwise, don’t be, you guessed it, a jerk.

Do not come to a restaurant if you know you might not be able to pay off the entire bill, which later means that you might not be able to come up with a tip.

If you CAN pay for a tip, don’t be stingy about it. You don’t want to be known as that “one guy who sucks at tipping.” Trust me, we remember these things. That just makes the waiters and waitresses not want to have to deal with serving you in the future because “it’s not worth it.”

Overall, the main gist is to just not be a jerk (so basically this applies to all life as well). Restaurant workers remember the jerks.

With Christmas coming up, perhaps some of us can get into a really generous holiday spirit! Generous tipping, anyone?

Happy holidays everyone :) Have a wonderful time with your family and friends, and I wish you all the best when you’re out on your food adventures!