Mistakes You’re Making in Restaurants – Dine With Dignity and Don’t Be “That Guy”
You don’t have to sip tea with your pinky extended, but you also don’t want to be “that guy” (or “gal”) when you’re dining out. Thanks to tips from a former waitress, we’ve compiled a list of common mistakes you’re making in restaurants will help you dine with dignity.
Treating the Staff Like Your Personal Servants
If you’ve ever snapped your fingers at waiter or waitress, chances are you’ve eaten a meal with spit in it. Treating the staff like fellow human beings seems like an obvious notion, but the art is lost on some people. Make eye contact and treat your server with an iota of respect.
“Some staff are required to greet every table with some sort of scripted spiel about specials or nightly features,” the former waitress explained. “Some patrons are annoyed by it, but trust me when I say I’m not thrilled about rambling on with pleasantries either. It’s best if we both grin and bear it. I can tell what kind of customer I’m going to be dealing with by how they respond to my greeting.“
Translation, be kind, smile, nod, and everyone can happily move on.
“The biggest mistake I see on a daily basis is a lack of communication. Servers aren’t mind readers, so if you want your salad dressing on the side or need extra napkins, let your server know. If you are in a hurry, trying to make a movie time or need a quick meal – say something ASAP.“
Thanks to technology, phones let us document, rate, and blog about every moment of our lives. While restaurants love positive social media attention, it can be a pain for servers.
“It’s not uncommon for people to take significantly longer meals because they are taking pictures of their food and tweeting about it. It’s a great way for people to connect via the love of food, but sometimes turnover is key. If we’ve got people waiting or your table has a reservation, it may mean we are in a hurry to get customers in and out,” the waitress revealed.
It won’t help the restaurant if you’re posting about how great your steak is, but there is a room full of people who are sharing their frustrations about an hour long wait. Save your detailed recap of the scrumptious meal for later.
It is also extremely rude to take a phone call while you’re dining with others.
Getting a group of people corralled into one place at the same time can be fun, but challenging. If you group doesn’t arrive all at once or some aren’t ready to order, be understanding and be prepared to wait. Typically, it is is polite to wait until your entire table is seated before ordering, let alone eating.
“It’s a server’s job to try and make things run smoothly and ensure everyone have a good time, but large groups tend to be loud and talkative. When your server comes to check on you, ask how your meal tastes, or bring refills, make sure you acknowledge them. It’s easy to get caught up in the moment and a good waiter or waitress will never yell over your party. We try to come to the head of the table first, so seat someone there who will be able to help the server get the group’s attention.“
While it’s important to hear about your friends’ travel stories or enjoy a good laugh, remember your server is still trying to do their job.
- Your eating utensils can flank your plate like little soldiers, and you might not know what to use or when. To make sure you’re eating with the correct utensil, start from the outside and work your way in.
- In some countries, you can make a mistake without even knowing it. For example, in Russia, it’s rude and considered shady to have your hands on your lap during a meal. Put a little research into areas you will be dining abroad.
- Placing anything unrelated to your meal on the table, like a mobile phone, is considered rude. Keep your belongings in your pockets or purse.
- Adding anything like salt and pepper to your food before you taste it, is a worldwide rude gesture. Plus, you might not need it!
- When dining with chopsticks, mistakes like rubbing them together or placing them upright in your rice bowl can be big dining faux pas.