Fact: people in restaurants can be terrible, and being terrible
can seriously anger the people who touch your food and drinks.
These are the last people you want holding a grudge against you. But there's a
way around it. Take a look at this handy guide to things that really get under
the skin of your server... and then do the exact opposite.
Splitting a bill 30 ways, especially after it's been delivered
Most servers are happy to split a bill up; just give them a heads up before you
order. Other places don't allow split bills, so have cash on hand. Otherwise,
you're forcing a server to do math that would give Archimedes a headache.
Linger during a dinner rush
There are dozens of people waiting. Maybe you should show your friends pictures
of your dog in costumes somewhere else, instead of filling up on water like a
camel while starving people drool over your table.
Say, "Oh, I didn't like this -- can I get something else?"
You ordered the miso-glazed salmon before realizing you like neither miso nor
salmon. And you hate hyphens. If you want little nibbles, hit up a
tapas bar or Buffet.
Slip him/her your number
Classic, classy move, Robert Browning. If she wanted to see you in a situation
where she wasn't being paid to be nice to you, she would have given you her
Write a message on a receipt in lieu of a tip
"You look great today" isn't gonna get anybody a post-work drink, or,
you know, food for their kid. And "the service was terrible" isn't
going to get you any further away from the gates of hell. If you aren't gonna
tip, the lack of money will make your point.
Tip in change
Unless you're packing a handful of quarters or Sacajawea dollars, nobody wants
to deal with the contents of your car's cup holder, especially your sticky
Ignore the list of ingredients, then send an order back because you
You have celiac disease and you just ordered a sandwich on sourdough with a side
of bread pudding and a Hefeweizen. You don't get a re-do on that.
Use a Groupon, then give a discounted tip
Getting a meal for 50% off doesn't mean the service is also discounted.
Snap, scream, or whistle
Unless you're an unfrozen caveman, this is an unacceptable mode of
Say you're friends with the owner and expect special treatment
This is an especially bad idea if the owner is a jerk. Unless you can produce a
full back tattoo of the owner, your so-called relationship is dubious.
Order off-the-menu items
Yes, they have fish. Yes, they have rice. No, the folks at the Italian place
aren't gonna make you sushi with risotto. So don't ask.
Send a half-eaten entree back
"Oh, this is overcooked," you say, as you slide a half-eaten steak
and missing sides over to the server. Was the other half medium-rare?
Blame the server for everything
You are aware the server didn't make your food, right? Or set the
hours of operation? Or price the menu? Or clean the plate? Or forget to put a
gluten-free option on the menu (seriously, enough with the gluten!)? She's also
not the complaint box. Direct your rage elsewhere, Dr. Banner.
Leave literature of any kind
A pamphlet about the virtues of living a Godly life might be enlightening, but
pamphlets don't put money in the ol' tithing basket. And nobody wants to see
your band, so save that flyer for a telephone pole.
Order while on the phone
These people are also likely to yammer throughout dinner, and can't figure out
the correlation between talking to their wife and their burger coming with
honey on it.
Show up for a big table 30mins before the rest of your party
You get in. You get a table for 10 right at 6p. Then you sit there, alone, for
30mins while the restaurant has to turn dozens of people away. And the server
feels too sorry for you to ask you to leave. Your pouty eyes and a-hole friends
are costing her, and the restaurant, tons of money. Make sure to leave a nice
pamphlet when you go.
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