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Those Annoying Things You Do To Make Your Server Hate You

Have you ever heard the phrase that you get what you give? Dining out is no different. If you treat your server with kindness and respect, your dining experience will inevitably be exponentially more pleasant–all because of kindness and magic words. Unfortunately, it’s common to unknowingly or unintentionally mistreat wait staff and servers. Here are a few faux-pas to avoid if you’re aiming to stay in good graces with the wait staff at your favorite restaurant.

1. Grabbing Plates Out Of Their Hands

Your server understands that you’re excited to get the food, and you’re probably just trying to help, but this just knocks off their balance and comes off as rude and greedy. Calm down; it’s only going to take a millisecond longer to let your server set the plate down in front of you. Yanking it out of their hands inevitably risks your dinner getting dropped, and it’s safe to bet that you’d much rather have that hot chicken parmigiana in your mouth rather than on your lap.

2. Not Saying Please And Thank You

What are the magic words? Come on, your mom didn’t raise a barbarian. It’s as simple as remembering to say “please” and “thank you”. It might not seem like much, but it shows you’re willing to treat your server like a human, not an automated robot.

3. Not Reading The Menu

Most questions could be avoided by just reading the menu. Wondering what options are vegetarian? The menu probably says. Want to know what comes on the burger? It probably lists them in the description. Give the menu a quick look-over before you launch into an interrogation about the seafood linguini.

4. Saying You’re Ready To Order When You’re Not

Sure, they call them “waiters” but that doesn’t mean they like to wait for you to read the whole menu in front of them. If your server asks if you’re ready to order and you say yes, be ready. If you’re not quite sure if you want the burger or the chicken fingers, give yourself a second longer–your server isn’t going to mind; there are probably three other things they need to be doing instead of silently staring at you and your indecision.

5. Demanding A Specific Table

Especially if you’re a table of two and you’re wanting to claim a table with eight seats–remember that restaurant staff usually direct you to a specific table for very specific reasons. It might seem to you there’s no reason you can’t have the six-seater in the window, but restaurants run on complex algorithms of reservations and mealtime rushes. Seating tables becomes a mind-numbing game of Tetris; don’t be the block that wrecks the whole game.

6. Getting Angry For Things They Can’t Control

Even if you’re displeased with the food you’ve received or you’re unhappy with your overall experience, remember to mindful of what’s your server’s fault, what’s the management/kitchen’s fault, and what’s just plain bad luck. It’s okay to voice displeasure to your waiter, but expressing direct, aggressive negative emotion in their direction is almost always inappropriate. If you’re truly displeased, ask to speak to a manager.

7. Letting Your Children Run Wild

It’s lovely if you’ve brought little ones out to eat with you, but try to manage them mindfully. Sure, kids can get wild and sometimes there’s not a lot you can do to stop a crying baby or hush a screaming toddler. If your child is being truly disruptive, be mindful of the restaurant staff and other patrons around you and remove them. Additionally, always teach your children to speak kindly and respectfully to the wait staff–something they’ll learn best if you demonstrate it for them firsthand.

In short, it’s not so hard to be kind. Servers and wait staff aren’t asking for a lot–they just want to be treated like humans. Remember when you order your dinner or your morning coffee that you’re speaking to a living, breathing person with feelings, not just a robot or machine. If you can avoid these seven things, chances are your server will love you, and you’ll love your dining experience.

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