Working in the service industry is something that I believe every human being should have to do at some point in their lives. Everyone deals with the service industry and interacts with the people employed within it. When we were little our parents sat us down and told us how to behave in a restaurant before they braved the outside world with our strollers in hand. I've found that as adults, the human race needs a major refresher course.
1. You cannot touch your server
under no circumstances is it okay to touch a restaurant industry employee. Would you grab the arm of your mechanic and pull them back towards you to say "where's the bathroom?" then don't do it to your server either. I have seen men and women in the restaurant industry sexually harassed by customers far too many times. Just because they are providing you a service does not mean that you are free to put your hands on this stranger you just met thirty seconds ago.
2. Do not scream in the restaurant
just like when you were little, you're still not allowed to scream in a restaurant. I get it, at a bar there are tons of people and it can be a loud environment, but please do not scream your servers’ name, or more frequently "miss" or "sir," from across the building. And when your server introduces themselves, please don't interrupt. Just let them get their kind greeting out. The time for "hello my name is-" "water with lemon," is never.
3. Don't flag your server down unless it is super important
servers have a million and one things they are trying to remember on their walk from table to computer. Please, unless it is of the upmost importance, try not to pull them aside when you see them busting it from one side of the restaurant to the other. The second you break their stream of consciousness, they just forgot three drink orders, two sides of ranch and a check that they had to print. All so that they could grab you ketchup right this second.
4. Communicate with your server
restaurant employees cannot please you if you don't speak up. If you don't like your meal, let your server know so that they can get you something else. You're not going to have to pay for it if you didn't eat it. If you feel that you've been waiting too long, politely let the hostess know, or ask to speak to a manager. 99 percent of the time, you'll get free appetizers sent to your table as a thank you for your kindness and patience. Employees can't help you and fix mistakes unless you let them know about it. Don't just go home and write a nasty yelp review because you couldn't use your words face to face.
5. The wait list is real, slipping the host a $10 won't help you
it will most certainly help them, but there are no hidden tables in the back. It's not like in the movies. If a restaurant is on a wait, it's because there are no available tables. If you see tables open, it's because there are reservations. The host can't seat you there when in the next thirty minutes a reservation for that table is going to come in, so don't go up to them saying "what about that table right there?" it. Is. Reserved. The restaurant is not trying to screw you over and make you wait. If there is a wait, there are no tables available.
6. Hosts cannot predict the future
calling in and asking, "Do you think it'll be busy around 6:30?" is the most frustrating thing that you can do. Yes, the host/hostess works there. This does not mean that he or she can predict what the people within an hour radius of them are going to want to do for dinner. There is also a google feature that helps you with this, and can give you real answers based on data. If you google your question, a little graph pops up that tells you the average times the restaurant you're asking about will be busy. Don't be angry when the host gives you a vague answer. How could they possibly know? And if you seat yourself, they cannot read your mind. When you're angry because no one has brought you menus and a server has not greeted you yet, remember that you didn't even let anyone know you were in the building.
7. Don't play dumb
there have been far too many times that restaurant policies have been made clear to a guest prior to their arrival, and when the time comes they choose to ignore it and act like they were never told about it. If the restaurant does not do separate checks for parties of ten or more, then they just don't. If you don't like that policy so much that you're going to cause a scene at the restaurant when the time comes to pay your bill, then you should have chosen to go elsewhere when you were made aware of it in the first place. Restaurants have policies for a reason, and that reason is to make sure that the night runs smoothly for both you and their employees. Please respect them.
8. Do not hit on your server
this is by far the most inappropriate thing I have ever seen that is so strikingly common in the restaurant industry. Your server does not keep coming back to your table and checking on you because they are romantically interested in you. They are doing it because it is their job. To trap someone who is in a situation where part of their job description is to be kind to you and serve you is disgusting. Their job is to be nice to you. Don't ever put your server, host, cashier in this position. It is the most demeaning and uncomfortable thing to deal with. They are at work. If you wouldn't act that way in your own work place, what makes you think that you can act that way in theirs?
9. If you don't have $ to tip, you don't have the $ to go out
it's as simple as that. Tipping is part of going out to eat. Servers make $2.83 an hour. When you take out taxes, that's a whopping $0.00 paycheck. If you do not have the money to tip your server, then you do not have the money to go out for the night. Period.
10. If you have a great time, let the restaurant know
if you had a great time, let someone at the restaurant know so that they can relay it to your sever. Nothing makes a 14 hour day doubling, running inside and outside, not eating for eight straight hours and being covered in grease even the least bit bearable apart from hearing that you're doing a great job. If you leave a server a note on your receipt, I guarantee you they'll be talking about how sweet it was for the rest of the week. If you start to become a regular and you're kind, you tip well, you develop a rapport with your sever, you become a beacon of light to them. Little feels better on those long days with table after table that doesn't follow any of these rules, then to see the face of a regular who knows the drill.
If anyone has any additions to this list please feel free to share/reblog with the remainder of the list, because I’m sure that it could go on forever. Or if you disagree, that's even more interesting. Let me and the rest of the industry know. And next time you go out, please remember these rules. This will make your dining experience so much more pleasant for you and for the restaurant employees. Nothing is more important to restaurant workers than you having a good experience. Don't use that as an excuse to treat them like garbage. Have the same respect for them as they have for you.