How to be the Best Dining Patron

Why do we love dining out so much? Because, we get to enjoy a tasty meal we don’t have to cook ourselves or clean up for afterwards. The only thing we have to do is show up and pay the bill.

Keep in mind, while we’re feasting the restaurant staff is fervently working. The food service industry can be an incredibly tough, thankless business — especially when it comes to customer service. Most of us customers are great. We tip well and we’re kind to our servers. Then there are those of us who behave less than fairly. Here’s how to make sure you aren’t one of those people.


If you have a reservation, make sure to show up on time. If you’re going to be late, a quick phone call to the restaurant will make everyone’s life a lot easier and possibly save you a lost table. If you have requests about where you’d like to be seated, make sure you convey that information at the time the reservation is made, not as you show up.

If you’re dining at a crowded seat-yourself establishment, don’t hover over other customers while they’re still eating. Yes, it can be tempting, given there are plenty of others doing the same thing, but it’s very uncomfortable for those people trying to finish their meal.


When time comes to order, get acquainted with your server. Learn their name and establish a quick connection. You’re bound to get more attentive service this way. Also, if you have any picky eaters or you’re in a rush, now is the time to communicate that clearly with your server. If you’re both on the same page, you’re less likely to be waiting forever on your check.


Don’t tell your server that you or a member of your party has a food allergy unless you actually do have one. A customer with a food allergy request sets off a series of strict procedures that go into effect in the kitchen to ensure your food is 100% free of any contact with the allergen.


Unless you’ve been given the wrong meal, there is something you can’t stand on the plate that you didn’t ask for, or your hamburger isn’t cooked, enjoy the meal you’ve been given. Don’t get bent out of shape because there’s green onion on your sour cream that you didn’t realize would be there. Just pick it off. If food is sent back, most restaurants trash the whole dish, resulting in unwanted waste.

Don’t get annoyed by an attentive server – good service is what a dining experience is all about. Sure, you may get a super friendly server once in a while, but isn’t that better than the direct opposite.


When you’re finished eating, be clear with your server that you’re ready for the check, and put your used plates within his/her reach. Most servers appreciate getting their tip in cash even if you’re paying with a card. Make sure your tip is adequate – take the time to double check the amount.

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