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75 Things Restaurant Customers Should Never Do

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Warning: things are about to get a little snarky. welcome to 75 Things Restaurant Customers Should Never Do

Back in October, Bruce Buschel wrote a piece for the New York Times blog, “100 Things Restaurant Staffers Should Never Do.”  Buschel explained this list to be a part of the training manual he would use for an upcoming fine dining seafood restaurant of his, a literal lists of 100 “Don’ts.”

This idea of training through a series of do nots instead of through illustrations of what should be done irks me in and of itself, especially as a restaurant manager.  I have to admit that I do agree with some of his points, but I found the article to be, well, essentially hating on his staff (what a way to build up morale, Buschel!), without having allowed them a chance to prove that they more than likely already knew a lot of these rules– and that they didn’t need to be subjected to a patronizing list. (I printed the list and brought it up to my restaurant to see the reactions — there was a lot of eye rolling and “duh” being thrown around.)

More than anything, this list started to get me fired up, not about things servers should/should never do, but the serious disrespectful faults that I come across with restaurant patrons every day (in every restaurant I’ve ever worked in).  I like to think that some people are just ignorant when it comes to proper restaurant etiquette, but I know that some are just, well, assholes.

I don’t have 100 things quite yet, but this list is a definite work in progress, as new disrespectful acts are constantly witnessed. So in that same do-not vein, here is part one.

100 Things Restaurant Patrons Should Never Do

1. Snapping, waving, flailing your arms wildly is really not necessary.  You look like a fool, and you’re only distracting (and annoying) your server while he or she attends to another table.

2. Do not ignore your server.  When he or she approaches with a smile and a greeting, do not stare at your menu, all the while never looking up, and say “Yeah, I’ll have the salmon.”

3. Do not expect your server to be an octopus, or the god Shiva.  Three plates are generally the maximum that a server will carry at a time, and when you’re a table of five and three plates are brought by your laden-down server, do not go “And where are our meals?!”  It’s called a second trip.

4. Interrupting gets you nowhere.  Saying “excuse me” loudly while your server is attending to the table next to you is rude to the server and the other table, and generally makes you look like an ass.

5. When dining in a small, heavy-volume restaurant (especially one expected to be a quick serve), do not sit 45 minutes after you have finished all food and drinks and have paid the bill.  There is most likely a long wait, and you’re ruining everyone’s day.

6. Do not ignore the host or hostess.  Those people standing at the door and saying hello to you are, in fact, people.  Pretending they don’t exist will only make your wait for a table longer.

7. Along the same lines, do not attempt to do the host or hostess’ job for them.  Creating the flow of a restaurant involves a lot more than just sitting people in empty chairs.  When there are visible empty tables, it’s for a reason– either reservations or a section was triple sat.  Never say, “but there is an empty table right there!” unless you like looks of contempt.


9. I cannot repeat this one enough — Never, ever, EVER touch your server or hostess.  Do you touch your bank teller?  No?  Then why do you think that grabbing your server or host/hostess is acceptable?  It happens constantly and is inexcusable.

10. Do not stop a server/runner/backwaiter while they’re running heavy plates to another table.  Heavy.  Plates.  You and your emergency need for more Splenda in your coffee can wait.

11. Know what you ordered. You’re the one who looks like a moron (and angers the entire staff) when you get your baked pasta with pancetta and cry “But I’m a vegetarian!” making us waste a plate of food and make something else for you.  If you don’t know what something is, ask.  It’s easier.

12. Be on time, and also know that a reservation is exact.  Do not call for a reservation and say “We’ll be there between 7:00 and 7:20 or so.”  No, you’ll be here at 7:00, or your table will be given away by 7:15.

13. “Yeah, I’ll take” or “Gimme/Get me” are not respectful ways to start a sentence. So don’t do it.

14. This almost seems too obvious, but tip your server.  Even if you didn’t like the food, keep in mind that your server only had anything to do with, well, service.  And remember that depending where you are, hourly wages aren’t even enough to pay taxes.  (Here in MA it’s currently $2.63 for servers.)

15. Must you blow your nose on five different tissues and just leave them on your table for your server or backwaiter to pick up?  What is this, TGI Fridays?  Excuse yourself.

16. LISTEN to your server.  When he or she asks if you would like milk, cream or sugar with your coffee, “yes” is not an appropriate answer.

17. This is a tip for non fine dining restaurants, but when your server comes up to the table with three plates on his or her arms, and you have a bread plate and a cup and saucer blocking the entire space in front of you, don’t just sit there.  Move things, at least until one of the server’s hands are free.

18. Asking “What’s good today?” is pretty much the same as asking your server “What’s inedible here?” putting the server between a rock and a hard place.  There is no correct answer to that uncomfortable question — be more specific, asking about particular dishes.

19. This also seems to obvious, but clearly announce any allergies/aversions you may have to your server.  The last thing we want is a lawsuit due to the diner’s negligence (or the server’s, of course).

20. Standing up around your table for 15 minutes at the end of your meal is disrupting to all.  If you all need a long time to put on coats/say goodbye, please move it along to the foyer.

21. Whether you’re in the industry or not, never tell restaurant employees what they should or shouldn’t do – as long as what they’re doing isn’t hurting or violently offending you, you have no say. Just go somewhere else.

22. I know you think you’re being helpful, but please don’t stack plates and silverware “for the server.”  Everyone has different ways that they feel comfortable carrying stacks of plates, and your helpfulness could result in a floor-smashing mess.

23. Don’t name drop — it’s just tacky, and will not change the fact that every table is currently occupied. Especially do not name drop incorrectly — mispronouncing the name of the owner that you “know so well” will only result in your being mocked by the entire staff for the rest of the night. Because you deserve it.

24. It pains me to have to say this, but the “I’m in the industry” line is never amusing nor helpful, nor will it curry favor. You should know better.

25. Tourists, please don’t tip 10% because you know you’ll never be back to this restaurant ever again. I have no words for people like you.

26. If you mention that you’re a frequent Yelp-er or Chowhound-er as a scare tactic, you are officially banned from ever eating out again. That is just so unnecessarily insulting (and makes you look like a real douche and gives all bloggers a bad name.)

27. You do not own a server or a bartender just because you know that their livelihood requires tips. Please, if you take nothing else from this list, remember this fact.

28. Please don’t be loud– the whole restaurant doesn’t need to hear about every detail of your life. I’m pretty certain the rest of your party isn’t interested, either.

29. Saying that you’re ready to order means that you’re ready to order. Don’t tell your server you’re ready, only to look over the menu one more time– your server has many other tables that he or she needs to attend to.

30. Server does not mean servant. Do not treat restaurant staff as being in a class lower than yours.

31. If you are not happy with something, speak up– let the staff try to make it better, that way you won’t have to be passive-aggressive on Yelp later.

32. At the same time, remember that no one is perfect. Be flexible and work with us, people.

33. Remember the golden rule. You’ll be fine.

34. Policies are put in place for a reason — and recognize the fact that no one is obliged to explain to you why a rule is in place. You probably wouldn’t understand, anyways.

35. Put your phones away — or if you must, keep conversations quick and quiet…you’re holding up service and disrupting those around you.

36. Don’t get mad when a restaurant doesn’t have that random condiment/vegetable/side dish you want. Food costs money and chefs don’t order food that isn’t on the menu.

37. If you have children, do understand that non-chain restaurants rarely have children’s menus. This sounds like the perfect chance to get your kid to start liking real food.

38. The customer is not always right — raising your voice and getting indignant about non-issues doesn’t give you the upper hand…it just makes you look like the douchenozzle you clearly are.

39. If you’re with a group that’s being loud, or rude, or difficult, police them! Don’t let the behavior go any farther if you know better.

40. Slipping money to the host or maitre d’ so that everyone can see you doing so is incredibly tacky. Also, it won’t necessarily get you anywhere faster.

41. PLEASE don’t fake having an illness (Diabetes seems to be the most common) in order to jump the waitlist. This happens constantly, and I’m sure that those with such illnesses wouldn’t appreciate you doing so.

42. Saying “but we’re just going to eat quickly!” doesn’t change the fact that there are no empty tables. I don’t understand why people don’t get that.

43. Trust the fact that if you’re nice and respectful to the staff, they will be the same back to you. If this doesn’t work, then you have the right to feel that you’re not receiving good service, and to say so.

44. Sending back an entree after you’ve eaten half? Really?

45. Don’t flash your money around and act like everyone around should be kissing your feet — odds are you won’t even tip well.

46. If you had a really great experience, let be known! Tell the manager if you had an outstanding server.

47. If you’re at the bar, waiting to order, and the bartender is clearly going as quickly as possible, please refrain from waving your arms wildly or yelling “hey, over here!”

48. Also, if you’re at the bar, don’t stand in the server/service area — people are trying to work, and you ordering your drink is holding up the entire floor.

49. If you’re with a group that is splitting the check or paying with more than one credit card, step up and insure that the server is still getting the right tip.

50. Remember, dining out should be fun, so chill out, leave the drama at home, and be respectful — it will get you far!

Nearly two years ago, ESer LB responded to The New York Times’ 100 Things Restaurant Staffers Should Never Do with her own 100 Things Restaurant Patrons Should Never Do — basically a server’s wish list/bill of rights. While we only actually came up with 50 items for the original list, this continues to be one of Endless Simmer’s most popular posts, so we’re pleased to present part 2 of the list, as suggested by ES commenters.

51. Don’t walk back into my kitchen to tell me that you are allergic to something.

52. Don’t tell me how to do something. I don’t care, if you think you should pay AFTER you eat. If I’m telling you to pay BEFORE, just do it.

53. If you use a coupon or get a discount of some sort (use a gift card, etc) make sure you tip on the ORIGINAL bill…seems like another “duh” but you’d be amazed how often people don’t do this.

54. If you have kids, PLEASE keep them under control before/during//after being seated, especially when the restaurant is busy. I can’t tell you the number of times I have zoomed out of the kitchen, arms full of hot food, to almost trip over a 3 year old running around the dining room. THIS IS NOT OK people! and it is dangerous. THINK.

55. Don’t be the person that comes in at 9:50 at a place that closes at 10:00, then two hours later as someone vacuums under your feet, say, “Oh…you’re closed? When?”

56. I’m not picking the garlic out of the pasta sauce. Don’t be any dumber than your genetics already make you be.

57.  If you would not want someone to enter your place of employment and act the way that you find yourself acting when you enter a dining establishment, I would suggest you examine your behavior and expectations. If I were to come into your place of employment, and insist that you assist me at the risk of alienating other customers/guests, I suspect that you would find it annoying.

58. Quit making special requests like: substitutions, different cooking methods, adding ingredients etc… We cook a hundred dishes every hour and it really backs us up when 5 people order the same thing but each want something different done for their order.

59. Quite asking for foods to be cooked WELL DONE!!! It’s going to take a lot longer for your food to be cooked, it will taste and feel like chewing meat flavored sawdust, it will have barley any of it’s nutrients left and several hours later your going to shit bricks.

60. MAKE RESERVATIONS!!! Especially when there are more than ten people in your party! Otherwise your going to have to stand there and wait for several tables to open and it throws everyone into a mad frenzy to prepare for you!

61. Don’t be the person who thinks that just because you’re paying some money, you’re a king/queen. You have no right to be a douche. If you’re the type of person who threatens to never come back, guaranteed you are a customer nobody ever wants to see again. You’re not that important, get over it.

62. No calculator needed. Give the server $1 for every $5 you spend, always round up. It’s that easy.

63. It is always appropriate to tip extra if someone has gone above and beyond. Thanks are great, but thanks and a little extra money are better.

64. If you’re returning to a restaurant known for sending a complimentary taste (amuse-bouche) before your meal, don’t presume that they are going to do it every time, and don’t specify what you want for that little free thing. (Yes, there are people who actually ‘order’ their amuse-bouche.)

65. If you are not dining in what is clearly a vegetarian restaurant, then the restaurant is NOT required to provide a vegetarian entree! My restaurant just got a bitchy yelp review because we’re a southern-american comfort-food restaurant and did not have a vegetarian entree. Um, hello?!

66. …And don’t get mad at your server when they politely point you in the direction of salads and veggie side dishes. Read the menu! If there is not a vegetarian entree listed, then there is not a vegetarian entree!! And no, the chef is not required to “just make you something.”

67. Please realize that the cooks only have a specific amount of grill space on which to prepare your food. Just because you ordered something you think is super easy to fix, doesn’t mean there is adequate room on the grill in the kitchen to fix every single item simultaneously.

68. Also, just because your food in rung in before another tables, that does not mean it will come out first. Certain items take more preparation than others. A well done steak will take longer than fried fish.

69. Servers are human, we make mistakes. Sure every once in a blue moon a server may forget to ring something in or ring it incorrectly. If this happens regularly, maybe you should consider trying different retaurant(s). For a good server, these mistakes are few and far between.

70. When a server brings the food, it always irks me when other people at my table leave their drinks, silverware, and napkins (or worse, cellphones and purses!) sitting right in front of them, where a plate should go. It just doesn’t make sense to me–where is our waiter supposed to put your food? In front of ME? Just move your stuff out of the way, guys.

71. Just because you are the customer does not make anything and everything you do OK. It’s your meal but it’s someone else’s business, office, well-being etc… If you do not behave with the respect patience and good nature you would in any other place of business you are rude.

72. Treat you server like a human being. Be polite and courteous whether you’re getting great service or terrible. No question, request, or complaint from a customer is inherently unacceptable so long as it’s delivered kindly.

73. Don’t dine out for the sole purpose of nit-picking and criticizing

74. Don’t yell at your server if you don’t like the rules. If s/he says extra sauce costs 45 cents, then it just does.

75. It seems like almost all of these can be summed up by: Don’t be a douchenozzle.


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Things Not To Do as a Chick-Fil-A Guest

Confessions of a Chick-Fil-A Employee

Things Not To Do as a Chick-Fil-A Guest

Because I like to think that not everyone in the world wants to make people hate them, I have compiled a list of things you should not do in a Chick-Fil-A drive-thru in order to keep CFA Team Members from hating you. This list is arranged in no particular order of significance, and is not limited to the below points. I will probably continue this list throughout the rest of my blog posts from now on and forever more, because I’m almost positive that people do increasingly more stupid and annoying things as time continues.

#1: Being greedy.
Let’s get one thing straight: you will never need ten sauces for four nuggets. You don’t even need ten sauces for 24 nuggets. I know CFA sauce is good and you want to go home and put it on all of your sandwiches and pizza and oxygen, but we do sell 8 ounces of the stuff for a reason.
#2: Ridiculous requests.
“Can I get my side salad with no tomatoes?”
“No, actually. No you cannot. Do you want to know why? Because we prep side salads ahead of time, and when someone makes a special request we have to make a brand new one. Do you know that we put one or two cherry tomatoes on our side salads? Do you know that they are small and round and contained enough that they don’t spread contaminating tomato-dust onto anything they touch? Do you know that you have fingers that work just as well as our kitchen staff’s? Do you know how easy it is to pick up that (those) tomato(es) all by yourself? You don’t even have to find a trash can, you can actually throw it out your window. I’m pretty sure it’s not littering when you’re tossing something that grows on the earth anyway. And look, your window is already open! You don’t even have to go to the work of pressing a button to get rid of those nasty little things. Unless you have an abnormal and extreme allergy and any form of slight contact with itty bitty tomatoes is life threatening to you, I think you can handle this one yourself.”
In a perfect world, that would be my answer to that question.
#3: Not using your ears.
When I ask, “What would you like to drink?” There are many proper responses, but one of them is not “Yes.”
#4: Not knowing the difference between a meal and an entree.
In case anyone is confused, a meal comes with a side and a drink. An entree does not. So when you say, “I want a number one meal with no drink,” you actually just sound uneducated and obnoxious. However, I would prefer you saying something like that to saying, “I want five sandwiches just the entrees, and two fries and a cole slaw and two fruit cups… and five cokes.” Because you know what just happened? I just rang up all those entrees and sides by themselves like you told me to, and now because of those cokes I have to cancel everything, hack into my super-mind that can memorize everything you just said, and re-ring every single thing. While being very angry.
#5: Asking for your shake in a bag.
“Wait, what? That actually happens?” Yes, yes it does. And don’t bother trying to come up with a good reason as to why anyone would desire their shake in a bag, because I have tried and there is no logical answer. They always fall back on the same thing… “It’s easier to carry.” But, um… I don’t really think that’s true. I’m fairly certain you can wrap your hand around a cup just as easily as you can carry a bag. Both options take one hand and no brains. But one is normal, and one creates an irritating and difficult situation and then probably causes you to spill something. I’ll let you figure out which is which.
#6: Having a car full of annoying friends.
If I can’t get mad at you for having 48094238902347 friends piled into your car screaming and laughing and yelling “LOL OHMYGAWD,” then you can’t get mad at me for setting your house on fire in the middle of the night… slash, not understanding your order at all.
#7: Coming in at 9:59pm:
Or anytime after 9:45ish.
#8: Changing your drink mid-order:
When you start saying things like, “I want a number one with a doctor pepper,” here’s what happens: I hit a couple buttons and then make a doctor pepper. Then I pat myself on the back for being nice and efficient. But OH WAIT, efficiency means nothing when you have a fickle guest. “Actually, can I have a sweet tea instead of a doctor pepper?” I’ll say “Absolutely” but in my head I’m strangling you, because now what am I supposed to do with this mother trucking doctor pepper?
#9: Being slow.
I know you have 12 kids and that’s really cool, but it’s a lot cooler when you don’t sit at the window after I give you your massive order and hand out each meal individually to your entire family before driving away. I also love it when you don’t take five years counting out seven dollars in change whilst at the window. It’s called planning ahead, people.
#10: Thinking that my arms are 15 feet long.
If I had to estimate, I’d say they are around three feet long, probably less. So when you park a mile away from the window and expect me to hand you your food, you’ll understand when I crunch it all up and throw it like a football instead.#11: Cell phones.
It’s fine if you want to talk on your cell phone instead of listening to me repeating your order. It’s especially fine when I charge you for the wrong thing because you weren’t listening. It’s even more fine when you get pissed at me because youweren’t listening.

#12: Forgetting where you are.
If you ask me for “McNuggets” or “Arby’s Sauce,” I will assume you are mentally handicapped and/or tell you to go get your seeing eye dog before coming back. Probably not. But I’ll dream about it every night until people start being more aware of their surroundings.

#13: “Can I add five shakes to that?”

#14: Polynesian sauce.
It’s pronounced like pol-ee-nee-shen. Not polyester sauce, asian sauce, polynaise sauce, pedestrian sauce, and most certainly not pomeranian sauce.

Sourced from


Chipotle Workers Walk Out Mid-Day Because They Work In ‘Sweatshop Conditions’


The fast food establishment’s staff was so fed up with their working conditions that they simply turned off the lights, closed the door and walked out. The restaurant remained closed for hours on Wednesday.

A tweet from the Daily Collegian showed a paper sign on the door that read,

Ask our corporate offices why their employees are forced to work in borderline sweatshop conditions… People > Profits.

Chipotle spokesman Chris Arnold issued a statement, saying that a minority of the staff chose to speak for them all.

He said,

A few employees quit, locking out a majority of others who are enthusiastic to return to work.

Brian Healy, the restaurant’s manager, told State College that the working conditions were truly disgraceful. The Mexican food chain markets itself as transparent, fair and progressive. On the contrary, Healy called conditions at the restaurant “heinous.”

He said,

I just want to see people treated better. We’re not trying to start a strike or anything like that.

The restaurant reportedly re-opened its doors later that day. The incident happened just days after fast food workers picketed for better wages in three dozen cities across the country.


Photo Courtesy: Twitter


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