Eat & Drink

How To Be the Best Restaurant Customer You Can Possibly Be

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Remember when you were in elementary school and your teacher gave you a gold star on your assignment? It meant you did a good job and you were being recognized for doing so. That kind of validation was so much easier to get when we were younger, but that doesn’t mean we don’t still crave it. Everyone wants to be told they’re doing a good job. Here’s how to get that proverbial gold star of approval from your server the next time you go out to eat in a restaurant. And if it’s not an actual gold star sticker on your check, at least you’ll know your server doesn’t think you’re a horrible human being.

Be nice. It sounds simple, but so many people fail at this. It takes very little effort to smile and acknowledge that someone is there to physically bring food directly to you. Think about that. All you have do is sit in one spot and everything you ask for will be literally handed to you. And if you’re in the right kind of restaurant, those things might even be handed to you on an actual silver platter. What isn’t nice about that?

Don’t seat yourself. Just because you see empty tables doesn’t mean they are ready for you. It’s someone’s job to place you at a particular table and by forgoing that step, you’re going to make your server question whether or not you deserve a gold star.

Read the menu. It’s there for a reason. It literally has one purpose. Use it. Just because your server has it memorized don’t mean they want to recite it to you.

If you say you’re ready to order, be ready to order. Take as much time as you need looking at the menu, but don’t expect a gold star if you call your server over and then make them wait whilst you debate between three options. Have your questions ready and your choices narrowed down. Your server doesn’t want to waste your time and you shouldn’t want to waste there time either.

Clear your table when your food arrives. If you’re reading a book or scrolling through Instagram on your phone or anything else that requires use of you table space, move it out of the way when you see your food coming. Otherwise, your server is permanently searing away their fingerprints as they hold hot plates and try to navigate where those plates are supposed to go if your laptop is directly in front of you. No gold star for you!

Stack your dirty plates, IF you know how to do it correctly. If you don’t know how or simply don’t want to, it’s perfectly fine. No server expects a customer to do that, but if you are going to do it, there’s a right way and a long way. The wrong way is to pile plates on top of each other when the plates still have food, balled up napkins, and silverware on them. All that does is create a teetering tower of tempestuousness that will irritate your server and make them throw your gold star directly into the garbage.

Be nice. It’s been said before, but it needs to be said again. Manners matter and using “thank you” and “please” go a long way in securing your coveted gold star of approval from your server. You catch more flies with honey than vinegar and the same goes with servers. The sweeter you are to them the nicer they are to you and if they don’t have a gold star to give you, maybe, just maybe, they’ll hit you up with an extra glass of wine or a free dessert. Those are both way better than a silly sticker anyway.

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Bitchy Waiter

Bitchy Waiter

Darron Cardosa is a writer, actor, singer, and waiter. He lives and and works in New York City and enjoys "The Brady Bunch," "The Facts of Life" and cocktails almost as much as he hates your baby.