Kelsee’s Ten Commandments of Restaurant Behavior

Ten Commandments of Restaurant Behavior

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Ten Commandments of Restaurant Behavior

Ah, yes. This post is a joy for me to write. After a decade of working in restaurants (host, server, bartender, expo, server assistant, shift manager), I’ve seen some pretty ridiculous stuff. That’s not to say that I haven’t seen some great restaurant behavior, but I’ve also seen the terrible side. I’m also a major foodie, so I’m always trying to be a good restaurant guest.

Trust me, the restaurant staff isn’t there to make sure you have a terrible time – we really want you to enjoy dining with us!

With that in mind, here are my Ten Commandments of Restaurant Behavior!

1. Thou shall treat restaurant staff with respect.
Most likely the staff member has greeted you with a simple greeting like “Hello, how are you? Welcome!” The proper response is NOT “table for 4” or “Coke. Cheeseburger & fries.” This also includes not snapping or waving in an obnoxious way to your server, we always see you. A simple nod will do if you need our attention immediately. Once we approach your table, please pause your conversation so that we can get you the items you need for a spectacular experience – otherwise, we’ll just stand there awkwardly until you pay attention to us. Saying please and thank you – you know, the basics – goes a really long way.

2. Thou shalt not allow thy children to run amuck in a restaurant.
This is for staff safety as well as the safety of your children. Servers and food runners come barreling around corners lightning-quick sometimes and they could easily injure a child or trip and send food flying across the restaurant. Please do your best to keep them in their seat at the table.

3. Thou shall ask questions BEFORE ordering.
Please ask your servers questions about the food or drinks you are ordering if you have them or if you’re unsure about it. Also, it’s good to ask about allergies and tell your server what you’re trying to avoid. The more you know before you order, the less likely you will send an order back because you “didn’t know there were nuts in the dish.”

4. Thou shalt not call a restaurant in the middle of the dinner rush for a reservation.
Instead, try calling during the afternoon or right at the beginning of dinner service (like right at 5 pm). You might even be able to book online! Chances are the person answering your call is talking to you, trying to seat guests, maintaining the wait list, and greeting guests as they come in the door. Don’t be surprised if you’re put on hold.

5. Thou shall arrive with their entire party or must wait to be seated.
Many restaurants will not seat an incomplete party, so try to have your whole group arrive at the same time. This isn’t always possible, but don’t expect to be seated unless your whole party is there and ready – you’re taking up valuable seating space for guests whose whole party is present and ready to be sat. It also makes for a better dining experience since your server won’t have to come & go and then be forced to share the specials 5 extra times.

6. Thou shalt not leave a $0 tip because of an unsatisfactory occurrence.
Really, that’s the worst thing you could do. Instead, speak to a manager quickly who can rectify the situation. If you can’t do it at the time of your meal, try calling back (during the day) or emailing management to voice your issues.

7. Thou shall spring for the lemonade instead of asking for an obscene amount of lemons and extra sugar packets.
We all know what you’re doing – don’t be that customer! Spring for the $2-3 lemonade instead. Are you really that worried about saving a couple bucks?

8. Thou shalt not arrive for dinner at 10 minutes till closing time.
Chances are that most restaurants will seat you for dinner up until closing time, but be courteous and don’t show up at an empty restaurant just minutes before closing. Remember your server can’t leave until you leave and they don’t get paid hourly.

9. Thou shall speak up when placing thy order.
You’d be surprised at how many people struggle with simple eye contact and mumbling while trying to place their order. It’s a server’s job to get your order placed and delivered accurately, if we ask you to speak up or repeat in a loud restaurant it’s because we want your order to be right in the first place.

10. Thou shalt not split the bill a bajillion ways.
Yes, I know I’ll probably get a lot of flack for this one. People often ask for a check to split 10 ways and then complain that it takes forever to pay, so think about it for a second. Customers in a party of 10 ask for 10 different checks, so it takes time for a server to split and book 10 checks. Then, they have to take 10 checks to the table and hand them out one by one. Guests then present a combo of payment options (cash, credit card, gift cards – sometimes all 3 on one check) for the one server to deal with one by one. So, save everyone some time and split that check less than 5 ways. Venmo and Facebook Money exists for situations just like this! 🙂

These commandments are pretty common sense to me, but in general, they are just useful tips for dining out! Good customers get even better customer service! Keep treating restaurant staff with respect and you’ll receive it in return! Oh, and don’t steal our pens! 🙂

Let’s flip the coin: What bothers you about restaurant staff? What commandments would you suggest for restaurant staff?

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