I'm sure it's common knowledge that there is a laundry list of customer behaviors that get underneath servers' skin. What you might not know is that restaurant staff often intentionally throw the book on customer service out the window and put up two invisible middle fingers. Here are 11 things you do that cause restaurant staff to not give a fuck about you or your order.
1. Show up 10 minutes before the restaurant closes.
Cooks start their cleaning procedures up to 30 minutes before the restaurant closes. Ten minutes before the doors close, they are no longer set up to prepare appetizers and entrees, as most of the patrons have already eaten their meals and are onto desserts and their lasts drinks. Preparing your meal when you've walked in at the last second means they have to dirty things they've already cleaned (or sent to the dish room) and pull things they have already packed up out of the coolers. Don't be surprised if your order comes out half-assed (because it probably was), missing garnish or takes an unusual amount of time (because chances are they are going to make you wait until they finish cleaning what they are cleaning before they get to it. )
2. Order after closing time.
Per the last point. If the restaurant closes at 10pm, the kitchen has their equipment turned off at 10:01pm. When you try and place an order at 10:15pm, even if you were already in the restaurant before it closed, be prepared to get turned down. Most, if not all, of the equipment has already been shut down. Don't expect the cooks to spend time re-heating all of their equipment just to make your single order.
Aside from that, it's just plain rude. Closing time is closing time for a reason. The staff wants to go home and you're standing in their way.
3. Ask for a laundry list of modifications.
Not only does it take too much time, especially during busy hours, but you mess up the flow of the kitchen. Asking to forgo the sauce and veggies that already comes on the salmon because you instead want roasted tomatoes, asparagus and lemon is a "d-bag" move. It usually means someone has to stop what they are doing to run to the cooler to find these ingredients because since they don't normally come with the meal, they aren't ready at the cooks disposal. And no cook wants to run back and forth to the cooler when they have things on the grill, a full screen of tickets in front of them and servers continuously asking, "how long on the fried rice?!"
Don't be surprised if the cook simply says they won't do it or if it doesn't come out the way you envisioned because they just threw it together. Also, now your server hates you for making them slump to the kitchen to explain your dish to a cook who probably "Gordon-Ramsey'd" them for allowing you to make that crazy order in the first place.
4. Order things that are not on the menu.
Again, this ties into the last point. If it's not on the menu, chances are the cooks aren't set up for it.
Be prepared for whatever you ordered to come out any sorta way...
5. Change seats without talking to the server or host first.
Hosts seat you based on A) areas with an assigned server and B) evenly distributing guests between servers so that one isn't overloaded. That being said, when you get up and change your seat by yourself, you may be sitting where there isn't a server assigned. Servers don't necessarily know which sections have servers and which don't (they just know where they are supposed to be) so understand why you may be feeling ignored. You aren't anyone priority because you aren't in anyone's section.
6. Show up with a large party without a reservation.
The purpose of a reservation is so that the waitstaff and kitchen are ready for your arrival. Reservations give the staff time to clear out a section of the restaurant (or avoid seating people there) and have your table set before you walk in. It also allows the kitchen time to prep extra ingredients for that day. When you show up unannounced with a party of 20 people, not only do they have to figure out where and how to seat you around all of the other patrons but, someone has to stop what they are doing (by neglecting other guests) to put together your table. So you're going to be stuck standing and waiting for 20 minutes while a ton of smaller parties get sat before you.
Then when you finally do order, the kitchen may not be stocked up on the plethora of ingredients that it takes you make your enormous order of appetizers and entrees, which means you deplete their supply and slow down tickets for all of the other guests.
Making reservations also allows management to schedule enough people for that time of day. There are few things worse for a cook than getting it with a ticket for 20 people shorty after their co-worker was just sent home for the day.
7. Pretend to have allergies because you don't like vegetables (or whatever).
Restaurants take allergies very seriously. The last thing they want to do is kill someone. One of the biggest allergies they hear is a "gluten allergy." Tons of people claim to gave a gluten allergy so much so that there is actually a "gluten free" button on most restaurant registers.
Too many guests lie and say they have a gluten allergy when really they just don't want bread. The issue is that gluten is in a ton of ingredients so cooks have to spend time making your dish with crazy substitutions when they really don't need to all because you called it an "allergy." And servers do know when you lie. That beer you just ordered is full of gluten, fyi.
Again, you've set yourself up for your dish not coming out the way you wanted it to, so don't complain now.
8. Changing/cancelling your order after it's already been rung in.
It annoys both the servers at the cooks who have often times already begun making your dish. In a rush, the cooks may then place your ticket at the bottom of the pile.
9. Sending your order back after you've eaten most of it.
They know you do this to get a free meal. Not only does it piss off the servers, but don't expect the cook to re-make your meal with love after you've already wasted their time, ingredients and possibly gotten them in trouble.
10. Not knowing what temperature you want your steak.
Medium-well done is not a thing. It makes no sense. There is literally 20 degrees difference between a medium steak and a well done steak. Pick one, or the cook will pick one for you.
11. Sexually harass the waitstaff.
You are probably thinking, that doesn't happen! It does. Kitchens and manager offices are often refuge to female servers who need to have a good cry after a male patrons cross the line.
Don't expect your new server or the manger who took over your table to go above and beyond for you.
Moral of the story. If you exibit d-bag tendencies, have a-million-and-one food allergies or a sense of entitlement, just stay home.