Restaurant Etiquette-Part II

Welcome to Part II of Restaurant Etiquette.  This is written from the customer’s/fellow server’s point of view…sorry, I know it’s been a long time coming.

As background, I wanted to give both points of view; the server and the customer. If you haven’t read Part I, I suggest you click here.

Condiments, water and cold drinks. All very important.

And now, the customer/management point of view….

I have been to a lot of different restaurants, ranging from you dives/diners to the very upscale. I’ve also had to deal with a number of servers as a co-worker and manager…ranging from the very good to the completely awful.

Therefore, as a frequent diner and again, a server, I want to give you a heads up.

*Rule Number One: Smile. 

If you walk up to a table looking like you hate life, it’s going to put a damper on the dining experience. Because we are paying to go out to dinner, try to make it a little more upbeat, rather than a jail sentence. Your attitude has a big impact on everyone around you.

No joke, a smile can be a game changer.

*Communicate with your table. And the Kitchen.

If something is happening in the kitchen, let your table know. If you are out of something, tell them. If food is taking longer than usual to come out, give your customers a heads up. They’ll appreciate it. And they won’t blame it on you.

If a diner asks you a question about ingredients, there is probably a reason for it, so answer it. If you don’t know, find out. It’s better to have a happy (repeat) customer than a disgruntled one who spent the night in the hospital because you were too lazy to check what was in the salad dressing.

If your customer has a special dietary need, tell the kitchen. Or if they want something served in a different manner, let the cooks know! It’ll save you a lot of hassle.

Don’t Complain About Your Tips.

Contrary to what you may think, you don’t automatically deserve a great tip. It’s based on service…which also relates to your attitude and work ethic; Again, if you are acting like you hate your job and life, people notice. Not to mention, it’s completely unprofessional to stand around and complain, regardless of your profession. It’s also a good way to get fired.

Watch Your Language. And be aware of your conversations. 

I brought this up in my last post, watch your mouth! You are in a restaurant, not hangin’ in your bro’s basement, kickin’ back a few cold ones! The F word makes you sound ignorant. And that young couple with a five-year old? They don’t want to hear about who you brought home last night or your urinary tract infection. Neither do your co-workers. Be respectful to those around you.

Don’t Just Stand There.

Again, people notice a lot more than you think. If you are standing around doing nothing, people notice… texting, people will see it. If you refuse to help move a table or if someone comes in looking for a table and you walk away, you guessed it-people notice. Not only is it a turn off to your customers but it will also tick off your co-workers.

That being said, if you’d rather text your boyfriend than take dirty dishes off of your tables, or you’re constantly running to the bathroom to make personal calls, don’t wonder why you only got a three dollar tip. Hello!!! Do you like to sit at a table covered with dirty dishes and empty glasses? Do you like to wait ten minutes for your drinks? Neither do your customers!

I’ll reiterate, don’t automatically assume that you deserve that twenty percent-or more-tip. And you can only blame so much on what tables you have. If you’re not doing your job, it shows.

On the flip side, people also notice if you are busting your butt, helping out your co-workers and going above and beyond, and they will usually say something. Keep that in mind.

Help Each Other Out. 

This goes along with my last point. If you notice one of your co-workers is stressed out, give them a hand. Pick up the salad plates off their table or drop off their appetizer. Take away empty bottles or glasses.You need to work as a team. And if you help someone out, chances are they are going to return the favor.

If you notice that the dressings are getting low, take a moment to refill them. Out of lemons? Chop a few. Like I said, it’s a team effort. It makes everyone’s life easier if people do side work throughout the night, even if it’s just the little stuff.

Pick up after yourself. If you spill something, don’t wait for someone else to take care of it.

Know the Menu

And be honest. If you’ve never tried something, tell them…but also let them know what’s popular, what you would have and what the night’s specials are. If you’re new, tell people. They usually understand.

Pay Attention.

This is pretty self-explanatory. Pay attention to your tables. Make sure you aren’t neglecting anyone. Pay attention to the kitchen. If a plate doesn’t look good, say something.

If someone ordered a salad with no olives and extra tomatoes, make sure that’s how it comes out. Make sure you bring out condiments/extra plates/waters. Little details like this can make or break a dining experience.

If someone orders a steak, make sure to ask how they’d like it cooked…and check to make sure it came out that way.

Remember where certain dishes go on the table. People love that.

Think about what kind of service you expect when you go out to dinner. That should be what you aim for. Sometimes, you’re going to get a table that sucks but try to give them the same service you’d give your favorite diners…they may surprise you.

In short, a good attitude and work ethic will go a long way. And you’ll probably find out that you enjoy your job a little bit more.

Did I miss anything? What are some of your pet peeves when you dine out? OR with your restaurant co-workers?

Again, if you missed the first post, here it is.  Thanks for reading! Have a great weekend!


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One Comment on “Restaurant Etiquette-Part II”

  1. […] Restaurant Etiquette-Part II « Noelle's Notebook says: March 9, 2012 at 3:40 pm […]


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