10 Ways to Make Your Server Hate You at a Restaurant

Don't be the diner from hell—all you have to do is avoid these common missteps.

servers_lead

This is a response to The 20 Most Annoying Things Servers Do at Restaurants.

Being a server is a special kind of job. It requires a lot of patience and a lot of attention to detail, because at the end of the day, you are dealing with people more than you are food, and people can be really, really stupid.

Keep in mind that while you are treating your server like your servant, this person might have a master’s degree and play music in a band you love, and maybe he or she is your neighbor, too. In other words, servers are part of the human race. So show them some respect, or suffer the consequences of being called names behind your back.

For whatever reason, people who are lovely and normal in the real world sometimes transform into enormous douches upon entering a restaurant. Servers watch fights unfold and relationships unravel over the course of a super hectic, stressful night of service. Good servers are literally there to help diners have a good night, eat good food, and enjoy themselves. Try to remember this while you are bitching about your under-foamy cappuccino and how you wish the chicken parmesan could be prepared unbreaded.

Here are ten things that drive servers absolutely insane. Please control yourself.

Click to start the list
  • lovin

    You didn’t mention the hot tea service. Or the “are they killing the cow” comments when their well done steak takes five minutes. And again, the hot tea service.

    • Joshua Walker

      What the heck are you talking about by hot tea service? I’ve not seen this happening in resturants other than Asian resturants, in which case, don’t put hot tea on the menu unless you are prepared to serve…. wait for it…. hot tea!

    • Niki Carrie

      I hate fixin hot tea don 4get ab tryn to find them a clean coffe cup

  • lovin

    Demand a table that doesn’t exist in the restaurant. Then insist that you sat there last week. IE, a booth for 8.

  • Joshua Walker

    Physically Beckoning a Server to Come to your Table and use ridiculous
    hand gestures.

    I can totally understand how this is definitely not cool and
    agree it shouldn’t be done. Servers should also know that if I have to sit and
    stare at a plate that we’ve clearly not touched for 15 minutes only to not have
    a server come by and ask for dessert, or offer a check, I’m now impatient
    beyond caring about manners.

    Act Weird about Water

    I agree, this is dumb, these people must be socially
    challenged, or disappointed there’s no VOSS on the menu, either way, water is
    water.

    Say you are ready when you’re not.

    Completely justifiable complaint, especially when you aren’t
    the only table in the restaurant. Conversely, if my order is more likely to be
    botched because I didn’t meet your time expectations you’re vindictive and my
    tip will reflect my disappointment.

    Order thinks that aren’t on the menu or are no longer available.

    It should be acceptable to ask if you have something even if
    it’s not on the menu, not everything is on the menu at every restaurant,
    however I agree one should not assume they can order something without asking
    about availability, if not available, move on.

    Order things one at a time.

    Yeah this is just a jerk move. I have asked for ranch and
    suddenly noticed that your ketchup bottle which is conveniently colored red but
    really has no ketchup in it whatsoever needs replacement, but continually
    ordering things one after another is going to get you a little extra saliva
    with your next condiment. It’s in everyone’s best interest not to piss of the
    Server.

    Bring your kids out to eat

    It shouldn’t be annoying to a server that I bring my kids out to eat, however they should have manners and remain seated unless escorted by a parent/older sibling to the bathroom. People who don’t parent their children should continue going to Chucky Cheese’s.

    Demonstrate Horrible Table Manners

    Napkins in the lap, great I get it, except for when my 5″ by 5″ paper napkin is wrapped tightly around silverware and does nothing but roll up into a ball when unrolled. Very few restaurants use cloth napkins anymore even the more expensive ones. If you clear my plates when we are done eating not only will you get a great tip, but we won’t feel the need to stack them into the “Leaning Tower of Pisa”. Nothing is less appealing than staring at a plate of mostly eaten food for 10 minutes while you print my check and drop it off in front of me only to leave me with all my
    plates and food intact, staring back at me, because you’d rather let the bus boy handle that.

    Refuse to offer a helping hand

    I’ll meet you in the middle here, I’ll be happy to offer you
    a helping hand when trying to place food on the table, as long as you promise
    not to “auction” the plates like e-bay. “Who had the Veal?”
    It’s really annoying when a runner has no idea who had what, or when the Server
    is too lazy to enter orders into the system in such a way that they know who
    should have what orders.

    Ordering at the bar then disappear before your drink is ready.

    I can understand how this can be infuriating, it’s equally infuriating when you order a drink and 15 minutes later you are still waiting. Here’s a thought, don’t take my order if you aren’t ready to serve me. I know it can be busy behind the bar, but how hard is it really to pour some vodka in a glass and serve it to me. It’s not rocket science. Also, if you are a bartender, you should be able to actually tend bar. If I order a drink you should know how to make it or have a bartenders bible. If you don’t know what a Cape Cod is, get the FUNK out from behind the bar, you’re a server not a bartender.

    Fail to Tip on the entire bill.

    Provided the server did a great job, it’s not uncommon for me to tip 30% for fantastic service. Do your job and I will reward you with great tips, I know you work hard and receive almost non-existent hourly wages. If we have a party of 6-8 or more and you put the “automatic gratuity of 18%” for parties on my check, expect to get exactly 18% and nothing more, since you left me no choice I left you nothing extra.

  • Joshua Walker

    Physically Beckoning a Server to Come to your Table and use ridiculous
    hand gestures.

    I can totally understand how this is definitely not cool and
    agree it shouldn’t be done. Servers should also know that if I have to sit and
    stare at a plate that we’ve clearly not touched for 15 minutes only to not have
    a server come by and ask for dessert, or offer a check, I’m now impatient
    beyond caring about manners.

    Act Weird about Water

    I agree, this is dumb, these people must be socially
    challenged, or disappointed there’s no VOSS on the menu, either way, water is
    water.

    Say you are ready when you’re not.

    Completely justifiable complaint, especially when you aren’t
    the only table in the restaurant. Conversely, if my order is more likely to be
    botched because I didn’t meet your time expectations you’re vindictive and my
    tip will reflect my disappointment.

    Order things that aren’t on the menu or are no longer available.

    It should be acceptable to ask if you have something even if
    it’s not on the menu, not everything is on the menu at every restaurant,
    however I agree one should not assume they can order something without asking
    about availability, if not available, move on.

    Order things one at a time.

    Yeah this is just a jerk move. I have asked for ranch and
    suddenly noticed that your ketchup bottle which is conveniently colored red but
    really has no ketchup in it whatsoever needs replacement, but continually
    ordering things one after another is going to get you a little extra saliva
    with your next condiment. It’s in everyone’s best interest not to piss of the
    Server.

    Bring your kids out to eat

    It shouldn’t be annoying to a server that I bring my kids out to eat, however they should have manners and remain seated unless escorted by a parent/older sibling to the bathroom. People who don’t parent their children should continue going to Chucky Cheese’s.

    Demonstrate Horrible Table Manners

    Napkins in the lap, great I get it, except for when my 5″ by 5″ paper napkin is wrapped tightly around silverware and does nothing but roll up into a ball when unrolled. Very few restaurants use cloth napkins anymore even the more expensive ones. If you clear my plates when we are done eating not only will you get a great tip, but we won’t feel the need to stack them into the “Leaning Tower of Pisa”. Nothing is less appealing than staring at a plate of mostly eaten food for 10 minutes while you print my check and drop it off in front of me only to leave me with all my
    plates and food intact, staring back at me, because you’d rather let the bus boy handle that.

    Refuse to offer a helping hand

    I’ll meet you in the middle here, I’ll be happy to offer you
    a helping hand when trying to place food on the table, as long as you promise
    not to “auction” the plates like e-bay. “Who had the Veal?”
    It’s really annoying when a runner has no idea who had what, or when the Server
    is too lazy to enter orders into the system in such a way that they know who
    should have what orders.

    Ordering at the bar then disappear before your drink is ready.

    I can understand how this can be infuriating, it’s equally infuriating when you order a drink and 15 minutes later you are still waiting. Here’s a thought, don’t take my order if you aren’t ready to serve me. I know it can be busy behind the bar, but how hard is it really to pour some vodka in a glass and serve it to me. It’s not rocket science. Also, if you are a bartender, you should be able to actually tend bar. If I order a drink you should know how to make it or have a bartenders bible. If you don’t know what a Cape Cod is, get the FUNK out from behind the bar, you’re a server not a bartender.

    Fail to Tip on the entire bill.

    Provided the server did a great job, it’s not uncommon for me to tip 30% for fantastic service. Do your job and I will reward you with great tips, I know you work hard and receive almost non-existent hourly wages. If we have a party of 6-8 or more and you put the “automatic gratuity of 18%” for parties on my check, expect to get exactly 18% and nothing more, since you left me no choice I left you nothing extra.

    • Guest

      These days gratuity doesn’t happen since it now has extra taxes involved that employers don’t want to pay. However, prior to January 1st 2014 when I had a party of 8 or more this is how it worked. I go to the computer, type on my server number, it prompts me to enter a table number so I type in “34″ then it prompts me to enter a number of guests in the party (restaurants need this information for staffing purposes as well as to know a server’s “per person average” which is used to rank our performance) so I type in “8″ then when I print the check the 18% gratuity is automatically on the check. However, if paying with a credit card there will be an “additional tip” line. So you still have the option to tip more. If you don’t feel that your server was deserving of at least an 18% tip you can ask to see a manager and they will gladly remove the automatic gratuity. You always have an option of how much to tip. The server doesn’t usually have control over whether automatic gratuity is put on the check so don’t take it so personally.
      You are right that it shouldn’t annoy servers if parents take their children out to eat so long as the children are well behaved. However, they are so often not that when we first see children at out table we cringe a little. We may well feel better about it after a visit or two to the table where either the child sits quietly or says things like “please” and “thank you” while addressing the server. I once had a child bolt out in front of me causing me to have to move quickly out of the way and when I did that a beverage on my tray toppled over. Thankfully it didn’t hit the child and his father scolded him and made him apologize to me but I dread the day a child running around a busy dining room has a hot plate fall on her and gets injured and instead of being apologetic for their terrible lack of parenting the parent decides to sue. A restaurant getting sued, a server fires and a child injured is a whole mess that could be avoided if parents would either raise their children properly or leave particularly wild/misbehaved children with a babysitter. About 3 weeks ago their was a child running around my restaurant screaming, throwing things that hit other guests and using the wooden floors as a slip and slide. His parents did NOTHING. An older lady at another table got hit with something the boy threw and she told him off. The boys parents had the nerve to look at her like she did something wrong. Neither myself nor my siblings nor my step son have ever behaved this way in a restaurant. It is preventable.
      Maybe you’re right that bartenders shouldn’t take a drink order until they are ready to serve you but our bosses tell us to acknowledge the guest as soon as possible. It should never take 15 minutes to get your drink but it may take a few sometimes. Maybe we have 10 other drinks to make that were ordered before yours. 20 other bar guests yelling out demands at us, a service well with a line of servers whose tables are waiting for their drinks or maybe the drink before yours depleted our supply of the brand of vodka you wanted or the last drop of cranberry juice and we have to flag down a manager to go get us more Grey Goose from the locked liquor cabinet in the back. If you have a table ask your server for your Cape Codder, or you could just stop trying to sound fancy and call it a vodka cranberry. If you’re sitting at the bar then where are you going to after ordering your drink anyway?
      I get your point about how annoying it is to have to wait forever for a server to the point you feel like physically beckoning for them. In fact, I really don’t see anything wrong with it if you do it politely. Trying to make eye contact and once it is made indicating that you’d like them to come over. If I just check on you and you said everything was fine and 45 seconds later you realize you need something then you probably should beckon me over because otherwise it will probably be at least 2-3 more minutes before I even walk past and glance at your table to see if there is anything I can observe that you might need. However, waving your hand about frantically above your head is rude and NEVER acceptable. Saying “Hey, my steak is overcooked!” While my back is turned to you and myself and guest at the table next to yours are actively engaged in conversation. Now, you’re not just being rude to me but also to my other guests and once you’ve done that it’s game over. I will no longer be polite to you and will most likely go tell my manager that you are disturbing other guests and should be asked to leave.
      I may be a server but I am also a human and I will not be mistreated. I have and will continue to refuse service to rude guests. I have when managing asked guests to leave and a when serving asked managers to ask guests to leave.
      People feel power over servers cause they’re in charge of tipping but we’re in charge of your dining experience. If you’re polite then we are polite, then you get a wonderful dining experience and we get a good tip and then everyone is happy. If you’re rude then we will come to your table as little as possible and you may go without things that would make your dinner more enjoyable and then you won’t tip as well and we will all be miserable. I think being polite looks like the better option all around.

  • Kool Nerd

    Hmm.. Is it just me or is rule 7 & 8 are kinda contradicting themselves? I will admit I am guilty of stacking plates cause I thought I was being helping and making it easier for the server to clear the table. So by these rules you don’t want us to help clear the plates but you want us to help you place the hot plates on the tables which we might get burnt cause we dont have dish towel like most servers do when they are handling the plates, especially when we are supposed to keep our napkins on our laps. For the record I never put my napkin on my finished plate.

    • Thpolaris

      I appreciate people stacking plates, but I don’t like when they stack them in a very unstable way (cutlery and ramekins on each plate) and then try to hand me 8 more plates while I’m trying to balance the awkward stack I already have. And I don’t usually need people to take the plates from me, but move your elbows, phones, purses, drinks, etc, so I have somewhere to put the plates. Looking at me like I’m an idiot for not putting down your large dinner plate in the 3″ area you have cleared in front of you makes you an asshole and makes me want to drop it on your lap. But I don’t mind the napkins. b I’m going to wash my hands anyway…

    • Niki Carrie

      The plate still burnes us dumb ass i hav scares from bein burnt by plates

  • Renee

    This whole post smacks of an entitled, bratty, I-dont-like-my-job-so-you-should-have-to-suffer-too mentality. Many of these “annoyances” are the results of FUNKING poor service. To complain about problems you cause is a demonstration of a complete lack of self-awareness. This person clearly doesn’t think they should have to work for a living. S/he also seems to think that its the customers’ responsibility to help them earn tips by doing their job, but only when it’s convenient for them (ie, taking plates when it gets “hard” but not stacking them when the server doesn’t bus the table). Working in a restaurant is a completely customer-centric job. If you don’t like that or know appropriately how to do that, GET ANOTHER FUNKING JOB.

    • Niki Carrie

      No we jus don’t feel like gettin treated like shit by cooks msnagets n u sorry ass fuckin people

      • Niki Carrie

        That affect our life when we hav kids to support who depend on us bc u dinn get ur lemon boo hoo bitch go home n serve ur damn self ho n 20 other people u don know thst don care ab u or ur family n complsin so u loose ur job n hav no income by the wsy roll silverware. n scrub the place down but wait somebody already complain u were rude so ur fired nyway n now ur homless w ur kids lookin at u like why did u get fired

        • Niki Carrie

          All bc somebody who belives in jesus complained ab u that’s a lot of love right good christian outlook bitch

          • Matt the Bruins fan

            Wow, I pity the poor people who end up seated at your tables. Some people are clearly not cut out for working in any capacity that interacts with others.

    • LuJohnson

      Awesome post!

  • Fuck Waiters

    Entitled fucking cunt right here. Oh you don’t like having to make multiple trips to the kitchen to get things fro your customer? That’s your fucking job. Maybe you should’ve gone to college. Oh yeah you have a master’s degree though right. Then why do you work at a fucking restaurant?

    • jake

      It may be our job to get you everything you want but when.you have to make 14 trips to the kitchen for 1 of your tables when you have 3 more to wait on as well we feel like telling you to leave. Its a hassle on us, and everybody around you. So next time you go out to eat remember, if you need more than 1 thing with your steak or burger ask for it all at once so we don’t have to deal with that hassle and so our other tables don’t become impaitent. 1 bad table can screw up an entire night for a server.

    • Jimmy

      Hey whore, you’ve clearly never been a server, so let me educate you on something. Most servers either have college degrees, are working on getting their degree, or it’s their 2nd job. I have a Bachelor’s degree and I’m working on my Masters degree. I’ve been waiting tables for 13 years. It’s people like you that servers hate. Here’s some advice: Don’t act like such a pretentious, entitled bitch, and have some respect for the people that are handing you your food. Otherwise, the next time one of these “uneducated” servers hands you your drink and/or food, you should probably check it for spit, semen, mucus, and multiple other fluids.

      • LuJohnson

        And if I think that is on my food, I’ll effing faceplant your criminal puss onto the greasy floor with all my strength, and hold you there till the police come and haul you away, you stupid socialist fece.

    • Emily

      You’re fortunate you haven’t had to work in a restaurant to survive and deal with fucktards like yourself. You’re the entitled cunt, thinking you can treat servers like shit because you tip them what $3,$5,$7? Shove your tips up your ass and go fuck yourself. How hard is it to be a decent human being nowadays?

    • Niki Carrie

      Who the fuck would wait on u then mutherfucker every resturant would b closed if ur so damn smart and hav a college degree then y hacent u thought of that dumb ass nobody would b there to serve u and ud hav ur educated ass cookin ur own damn foodretatted ass bitch

    • Niki Carrie

      Bitch id say fuck yourself but teading this ur prob already doin that sorry ass bitch uv prob had spit all n ur food ehich is a reason 4me to laugh n the only one thig i can find comfort n sayn this ha ha lol

      • Niki Carrie

        Spit ho

    • LuJohnson

      Omg… You nailed it better than I did in my post! Kudos!

    • JustSaying

      I don’t mind making multiple trips to the kitchen to get things for my customer when I only have one table. But more than likely, I have 4-5 tables. YOU are not the only customer there that needs things. And if the customers sitting at one of my other tables need something but I have you sending me back and forth from the kitchen literally 10 times, then it affects their service, and if you were that other person at another table you would not be happy about that either, when that is something that isn’t my fault.
      And just because someone is a server doesn’t mean they didn’t go to college. I am in nursing school which takes up about 90% of my time and I have to work the other 10% and make enough money to pay for bills and school. Not all of us have mommy and daddy that can pay for everything until we “grow up” and “get a real job” Newsflash good servers are some of the hardest workers out there. I’ve been working my butt off since I was 15 to make sure I could go to college. I got good grades in high school and high test scores so I was lucky enough to get some scholarships but that doesn’t pay for all my school and doesn’t even touch my rent and living expenses.
      So you should be grateful for the people who work at restaurants, and maybe even try treating them with respect and they will treat you the same. The job isn’t easy and people like you make it more difficult than it should be. So if it is really that horrible for you and you are obviously so smart because you don’t work at a restaurant, then why not try learning how to cook for yourself, at home, away from the horrible servers, and you can make taking are of yourself your own job.

  • Joy Whitman-Sorce

    I am a server and I disagree with a couple of things…like hand gestures. I appreciate when a diner diesva scribbling sign so I don’t have to waste another trip to the table. And..children are a part of life..just sayin’

  • Joy Whitman-Sorce

    I am a server and I disagree with a couple of things…like hand gestures. I appreciate when a diner diesva scribbling sign so I don’t have to waste another trip to the table. And..children are a part of life..just sayin’

  • kitty

    Please bring on the paper napkins, cloth is like using a towel , unless it is just to place over the lap.

  • LuJohnson

    I really don’t like the tone of this little rant. Sounds like ‘servers’ need to be reminded that the world doesn’t revolve around them.

    I stopped reading about a quarter of the way through… The whine was be coming unbearable. Listen toots, if you don’t like people signalling you when they need something, (possibly a something YOU forgot to do or get for them) perhaps it’s time to simply quit and get a different job.

    We have freedoms here… Nobody is holding a gun to your selfish little head to work in food service.

    I’m guessing you (writer) are either a millennial or a feminista socialist.

    Good luck with that.

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