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How to Treat Your Server in a Restaurant


  1. Respond to the server's greeting.The server will probably make a banal comment such as "How are you today?" They are trying to initiate conversation to develop a rapport with you. A simple response such as "I'm doing great, thanks" will suffice. Respond to the server when they make this conversation. If you simply start demanding food, you will probably be considered rude.
  2. Pay attention to the special off-the-menu items announced by the server, so they won't have to announce them again later.After this dialogue, they will ask you what you would like to drink. If you aren't quite sure, just say so. Don't ponder too long, and avoid using interjections. Don't say, "What do you have?" All restaurants have the same basic beverages; water, soda, juice, coffee and usually a bar. If there isn't a particular drink, they will let you know.
    • If your group is splitting the check, now is a good time to mention that.
  3. After your server has taken your drink order, this is the time for you to decide what you would like to eat.Use the menu; that is what it's for. When you know what you would like, close your menu and place it on the table. This signals to the waiter that you are ready to order. If you leave it open, they will assume you are still looking it over and will not come to your table.
  4. When it comes time to place your food order, be audible and clear.Do not make the waiter try to decipher your mumbling, and do not simply point at a listing in the menu. Use your words. If there are children at the table, order for them. Avoid saying "Tell the man/woman what you want, sweetie."
  5. Let the waiter decide who places their order first.They have a system; typically starting with the women and then going from there. Refrain your whole table from yelling out what they want at the same time. This is rude, confusing, and will make your server irritated with your table. This is also the time to ask any questions you have about the food. Ten minutes later is not the time to inform him of your peanut allergy.
  6. Be patient.Your order has been placed and your beverages are at your table. Enjoy the conversation with your friends and/or family and understand that your food is coming. You do not need to call your waiter over to see if it's done yet or to ask how much longer it will be. When it is ready, they will bring it to the table. Trust your server; they want your food to get to you quickly just as much as you do. The sooner it comes out, the sooner you eat and the sooner they can turn the table over and make more money.
  7. When your food arrives, make sure you have what you ordered.Do not eat half of the chicken club sandwich before you realize that you ordered a burger. When the food is placed, think for a moment about what else you may need during the course of the meal. Ketchup, mayonnaise, fresh pepper, extra napkins, more soda refills? These are all requests that you should ask your server for now. They can get them all in one trip instead of five of them. If you make them do that, they will grow to resent you.
  8. A good server will come back to your table in two minutes to "check back" on you to make sure everything is to your liking.This would be when you ask for your medium rare burger to be cooked more because it "has too much pink in it." Or this would be the time to tell them that french fries are "ice cold" or that you need more salad dressing because the salad has "no dressing on it whatsoever."
  9. When it is time for the server to clear the plates, let them do it.Do not try to help them by stacking them; it doesn't help them. They have their own method for clearing plates, so let them do it their way. Don't disappoint; it is very much appreciated that you want to help, but don't bother. Also avoid cracking jokes like "Oh, it was horrible" as they clear a plate that you obviously licked clean. It's a trite joke that every waiter has heard hundreds of times and it's never considered funny by the servers.
  10. Decide if you would like dessert and coffee when offered.If you want it, have it. If you don't, don't. They do not care either way.
  11. When they present you with the check, simply pay it.Do not argue amongst yourselves about who owes whom or who paid the last time. Do not thrust several credit cards at them, shouting over others, "No, take this one!" They will take which ever one touches their hand first because they do not care who pays for the check as long as it gets paid. If you want separate checks, you should have specified so when you first ordered. Use a calculator to figure it out, or check the receipt to see who ordered what.
  12. Compute your tip.In most cases in the United States and other tipping countries, fifteen to twenty percent is expected. If you don't think that tipping is something you should be responsible for, then a fast food restaurant is probably more appropriate for you. In some states (such as California, where the tax rate is 9.25%), a good way to figure out the tip is to look at the tax and then double it. Or you can use a smartphone app or calculator if the math is too complicated for you.
    • It is never acceptable to "stiff" your waiter. If you have a problem, ask for the manager and let them do the reprimanding. By not tipping at all you are also not tipping the bartender, busser, and/or food runner, whom get tipped out by the waiter.
  13. As you leave, look around your table to make sure you didn't leave any of your personal belongings.This is also a good time to see if your child left a pile of Cheerios or french fries on the floor. If you left more than a twenty percent tip, feel free to leave the mess. The janitors/cleaners are paid with your tip to clean the mess and you should not move a muscle to do so. If you left ten percent or less, then it's expected that you clean the mess up. Such a low tip is not appreciated by workers and even other customers occasionally.

Community Q&A

  • Question
    Is it polite to thank a server when he delivers a course?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Servers are people, not machines, so they should be thanked - even if it is part of their job.
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  • If you have children dining with you, keep them at the table at all times, or supervised if you need to get up. The restaurant can be a dangerous place to let a child run freely, and is by no means a playground for them to roam while you enjoy dinner. There may be a shard of glass on the floor or maybe a server who is carrying a tray of hot and heavy plates who won't see your child sitting in the aisle and playing with a toy.
  • If you have a problem with the food, alert your server as soon as possible; but keep in mind that they didn't prepare it. All they did was punch some buttons on a computer and hoped that the cook would know the difference between "rare" and "well done."
  • Always say "please" and "thank you." It will make all the difference in the world.
  • If you know your child is prone to misbehaving in public, it may be best to leave them at home and get carry-out. Most adult diners do not appreciate having to contend with screaming children when they're trying to enjoy a quiet meal.
  • Remember that your server wants you to have a good time because the more you enjoy your meal, the better their tip will (should) be. They are not out to get you or make you wait longer for your food than the table next to you.

Video: Servers Share Their Biggest Pet Peeves

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Date: 06.12.2018, 16:28 / Views: 84475