We all love to go out and enjoy a nice, relaxing meal after a long day of work. It’s a great chance to let your day go and enjoy your evening. Your waiter has the chance to make your evening great; why not make their night great too? Here are some common, easy things you can do to make things pleasant for both you and your server.
Do treat your server with respect. With so many people going in and out of their life during the day, make yourself stand out as someone they genuinely want to do well for.
Do listen to them as they explain specials to you, and ask questions. You might learn something about where you are dining that you didn’t know before, and by asking questions you can make sure that you will be happy with your meal.
Do ask for a glass of water with your beverage if you notice the restaurant is busy, or if your particular server is overwhelmed. Your beverage refills may not make it to you quite as fast as they should; having a glass of water to keep yourself refreshed will keep you from going thirsty when your entree arrives.
Do be honest with your server once you’ve tried your meal! Most servers can pick up on whether or not you like your food, but if you tell them that it’s good, they likely will believe you, even if you don’t eat most of it. Tell your waiter is something is wrong, rather than eating something you don’t like. Be polite but specific, if possible.
Do tip what you feel is appropriate. While 15% is the standard for acceptable service, if you feel as though your server went above and beyond your expectations, give them a little extra! You have a chance to make someone feel much better at the cost of a single dollar more than what you would usually tip. On the other hand, if your server did poorly, at least leave them something. Often, waiters are required to “tip out” a certain percent of their sales to the host, bartender, busboys, and other personnel, so “stiffing” them can result in them actually paying money to take care of you!
Those aren’t too difficult, are they? You can really make someone’s evening this way. Now here are some things to avoid.
Don’t blame your waiter for bad food. The serving staff isn’t cooking your meal in the back. Let them know what the problem is, and if it is a big issue, ask to speak with the manager but don’t take your frustrations out on your server.
Don’t make a large mess for no reason. Guests sometimes rip straw wrappers into tiny pieces, spill sugar or salt all over the table, or other such messes that they would never do at their own table. Remember that anything you leave behind has to be cleaned up. Also, if you have a child, chances are they will be messy; this is ok, but keep this in mind when you are leaving your tip!
Don’t hang yourself out in the aisle. You are tempting fate if you have an arm or foot out in the walkway, or if your chair is sticking out excessively. This can create an embarrassing accident for both you and a waiter.
Don’t leave anything behind! Check your table for your purse, a baby’s toy, sunglasses or other items you may have possibly left behind. Also, don’t forget to take your credit card out of the book once you have paid. Items left in a restaurant are not often kept for longer than 24 hours, and other guests dining out aren’t always the most honest folk if they find a cell phone sitting around.
Don’t forget your server’s name! If your waiter did a great job, remember their name and request them the next time you eat out! Returning guests are always made to feel welcome, and a server that knows your name feels much more personal.
Many of these may seem like common sense, but hopefully a lesson can be taken from some of them. The next time you eat out, try these tips. Both you and your server will notice how much better the experience will be!