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Daily Archives: October 31, 2009

Top 100 things that a guest should try to avoid doing, #26 – 50

A continuation of my post from yesterday.

26. Don’t ask if I’m sure that the coffee is decaf. Why would you think I would tell you if I wasn’t sure?

27. And don’t follow that with the worn-out “If it’s not, I’m going to call you at 3am”.

28. Don’t lie about what you’ve ordered. I understand that we all have brain farts sometimes. But when I’ve written it down and had you repeat the order back to me, I’m pretty sure that you said medium rare, not medium well.

29. Don’t completely dismiss my suggestions, especially if you asked me for a recommendation. No, you’re not required to take my suggestions, but at least make the pretense of carefully considering it.

30. Don’t say, “No, we’re not going to do dessert, but bring the dessert tray/dessert menu anyway”. If you want to see it, fine. Just don’t tell me that you aren’t going to even consider dessert. Have a little class and don’t task me just to show that you can. At least keep it to yourself.

31. Never ever take something off of a waiter’s tray while he or she is holding it. Unless you want the whole tray of drinks in your lap, of course. Those trays are carefully balanced, and it’s especially awkward when you have top-heavy martini glasses on them.

32. Don’t walk into a restaurant 5 minutes after closing without calling first and expect that you will get served. You might or might not be able to get served because the kitchen might already be partially broken down. You have a much better chance of getting served if you are a regular or very deferential, especially if you call first. Heck, try not to come in any later than 15 minutes before closing. If you have to come in so late, please try to decide what you’d like to order as quickly as you can.

33. If you are closing down the restaurant (something that some people pride themselves on doing), for god’s sake, at least take care of the check as soon as you can. Let the waiter do his or her shift checkout. Don’t sit on the check. If you decide that you’ve just got to have dessert after all, you can start a new check.

34. Please don’t hide your credit card in the check presenter. Most of them have a little pocket for your credit card that forces them to stick out. Use it. Remember, I don’t use my x-ray vision for things like that.

35. If you have cash, please have it sticking out of the check presenter so that I can tell that you’re ready to pay.

36. Please don’t say that you know the owner, even if you do.

37. Please don’t try to take over service of the table. Of course you should tell me your wants and needs, but don’t try to structure the service to your liking. You don’t know the logistics of the restaurant – I do. If you try to mess with the system, you’re likely to degrade your own service experience.

38. Please don’t avoid the words “please” and “thank you”. Thank you.

39. If you are in a private dining “cocktail hour” situation, please don’t stand directly in front of the only entrance to the room unless it’s the only place you can stand. I can’t tell you how many times the room is mostly empty and there’s a clot of people standing right at the door. Be a mensch.

40. Don’t forget to tip on wine and alcohol. It’s part of your bill too. You wouldn’t stiff your bartender would you?

41. Don’t forget that I have to tip out fellow tipped employees. You might as well assume that I’m going to be giving away 25 – 45% of the tip you just gave me.

42. Don’t get impatient for the next course when I’ve only removed your previous course’s plates 5 minutes ago. Don’t start looking around impatiently and drumming your fingers on the table and sighing dramatically.

43. If you have a time constraint (babysitter, theater tickets, movie, etc.) don’t forget to tell me upfront. And if your time is truly limited, allow me to speed you through your courses. I’ll try to keep you from feeling like you’re being totally rushed because I have a few tricks that can help.

44. Don’t leave me a religious tract, especially if it’s in lieu of a tip.

45. If you must leave the table for a smoke break, don’t mind if I have to bring your entree while you’re gone. Depending on when you take your smoke break, I might not have a choice if I’ve already fired your order. Once it hits the pass, it needs to go. Now.

46. Don’t joke about this or that affecting my tip. I don’t rib you about your paycheck, do I?

47. Don’t forget that you’re not the only person I’m waiting on.

48. If you don’t want to hear the specials and you know what you want – tell me. I’m glad to get you rolling right off the bat.

49. Don’t forget that I’m reading you from the time you get to the table. If you are taking your time through the first part of the meal, please don’t shift gears and go into overdrive and then complain that your service is slow. If you suddenly look down and realize that it’s later than you thought, just tell me. I’ll do what I can to speed things up for you.

50. Conversely, if you are demanding your drinks NOW, and asking for the specials before I give you the menu, and wondering where you buffalo wings are 5 minutes after you ordered them, please don’t later complain that you were rushed. We take our signals from you. Little passive-aggressive things like “Well, that was quick” (you know the tone) are annoying when you’ve been Speedy Gonzalez through the rest of the meal.

I’ll be posting the rest of the list later, but I can almost guarantee that there actually won’t be 100 things by the time this thing is over.