21 Things People Do At Restaurants That Really Annoy Servers

The first thing I’ll do after quarantine and this pandemic mess is go to a restaurant. I want to see how it feels to be welcomed, seated, asked ‘what would you like to order?’, be showered with ‘excellent choice,’ poured a glass of Chardonnay, and make up my mind what to get for dessert.

Most importantly, it’s the opportunity to be smiled at and smiled to, joyfully and with ease, like nothing else exists in this world except that restaurant, the food, your companion… and the server.

But this is where it gets tricky. In such a lovely environment like a restaurant, servers still have to deal, time to time, with a fair share of serial a-holes. And it’s not a-holes per se that annoy the heck of them, it’s their a-hole behaviors that refuse to abide by unwritten rules.

For those who’re wondering what the unwritten rules actually are, I’d say it’s half common sense, half being polite, patient, and understanding. But let’s hear from the servers themselves who shared honest responses to the “What unwritten rules do restaurant servers wish patrons would abide by?” question posted on Quora.

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#1 Crying Children And Adults Who Ignore It

When children cry and cry and cry and cry in a restaurant, other people find it annoying. Please, take your child outside for a moment to calm him down.

Edith Deween Report

Final score: 277points Hans Hans Community Member • points posts comments upvotes FollowUnfollow 1 month ago

Many people think of this as “that spoiled brat”, but it usually are the adults to condemn and the children to pity.

111 111points reply View More Replies… #2 Snapping Your Fingers At Servers

Don’t ever snap your fingers at a server, bartender, anyone. Ever.

Sofia Korkala , Kate Townsend Report

Final score: 262points James016 James016 Community Member • points posts comments upvotes FollowUnfollow 1 month ago

That’s just rude

5 5points reply

Sara Thorn , Boganm9p Report

Final score: 236points CowboyHank CowboyHank Community Member • points posts comments upvotes FollowUnfollow 1 month ago

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You should definitely not touch someone without permission. But if someone sees a pretty girl that they would like to get to know better, why can’t they say something?

-19 -19points reply View More Replies… #4 Touching Their Servers

When people touch their server. I’m not to be touched. I don’t like it, and I’m not your pet. I’m not your buddy, baby, friend, or lover.

Mike DiGirolamo , Tim Ford Report

Final score: 229points Linda van der Pal Linda van der Pal Community Member • points posts comments upvotes FollowUnfollow 1 month ago

The reverse is also true: waiters please don’t touch your clients! (Much, much more rare, I know, but it happened to me once. It was just my lower arm, so no sexual intentions, but still not appreciated.)

76 76points reply View More Replies… #5 Coming In Minutes Before Closing

If Google says that the restaurant closes at 11, the right time to order is not three minutes before closing.

The staff are not people willing to work every single day overtime like they had no lives of their own.

They are people with loved ones and hobbies as well.

Sofia Korkala , Tim Mossholder Report

Final score: 223points WilvanderHeijden WilvanderHeijden Community Member • points posts comments upvotes 1 month ago

In the Netherlands you can order all you like, but when the kitchen is closed, the kitchen is closed.

89 89points reply View More Replies… #6 Being Impolite

Please, get off your cellphone when I’m taking your order

Edith Deween , 7shifts Report

Final score: 191points WilvanderHeijden WilvanderHeijden Community Member • points posts comments upvotes 1 month ago

I’ve seen servers just walking away if the customer was phoning and ordering at the same time. I’d always tip these servers extra.

68 68points reply #7 When People Go And Sit At A Dirty Table

PLEASE DO NOT HELP YOURSELF TO A SEAT AT A DIRTY TABLE.

First of all, it’s gross. Why would you sit yourself down in someone else’s mess?

Second of all, if it’s not clean, we aren’t ready for you at that table yet. Now someone has to awkwardly bus the table and wipe it down while your impatient ass just sits there being all in-the-way.

Natalie Knowles , Kent Wang Report

Final score: 184points

로희 로희 Community Member • points posts comments upvotes 1 month ago

Does this happen frequently in most countries? Because in the two countries I live in, customers usually wait at the restaurant’s entrance until a server attend to them. Except for fast food restaurants, but usually all the tables are not dirty because customers normally clean after themselves.

56 56points reply View More Replies… #8 Ordering Something That’s Not On The Menu

Do not order anything that isn’t on the menu. I’ve run into so many situations where customers want to make up their own dish that isn’t on the menu (ordering fish and chips at an Italian restaurant). Perhaps it’s because they don’t know how to read, and therefore can’t understand anything the menu says. That menu is there for a reason. Read it. This is not a private chef service

Maxwell Arnold , Amanda Vick Report

Final score: 157points Hans Hans Community Member • points posts comments upvotes FollowUnfollow 1 month ago

A good restaurant will have waiters who are able to explain the menu, and they will be able to advise in case a customers has certain allergies or disliked. Simply ordering something that is not on the menu is rude, **asking** for something that is not on the menu is just fine in my opinion. Asking for example whether a certain ingredient you do not find in any other dish is available should just be fine – an example would be particularly hot peppers in a place that does not regularly have so spicy dishes. If asked politely, you will just get a polite answer, sometimes even met with gratitude for real interest in what the place can offer.

60 60points reply View More Replies… #9 Acting Like You Own The Place

This restaurant is not your house. You’re a paying customer. We get that, and we respect that. But do not forget that you are a guest. In addition, you are not the only guest. There are other people here too. So when you request that we turn down the music, turn up the lights, or adjust the heat/air conditioning, you should know that we may not be able to make this accommodation, even if you ask nicely. If you go on to demand such accommodations, you’re not only disrespecting us (because you’re essentially treating the restaurant like your house, and us like servants who run it for you), you’re also disrespecting the other guests (because they may not desire the same accommodations that you desire). This is not your house, and this is a space that you’re sharing with other people – and if you’re the only one asking for something to be changed, we’re unlikely to do it if it will affect other guests.

Maxwell Arnold , Syed Ahmad Report

Final score: 148points Iggy Iggy Community Member • points posts comments upvotes FollowUnfollow 1 month ago

People actually do this?

44 44points reply View More Replies… #10 Helping Without Being Asked To

I hated when customers tried to help me. Don’t get me wrong. I appreciated the sentiment, but when a customer took things from my tray or grabbed things from my hand it became dangerous.

Sheila Blohm , Jay Wennington Report

Final score: 148points Mrs_ Possum Mrs_ Possum Community Member • points posts comments upvotes FollowUnfollow 1 month ago (edited)

Yup, this. I worked in a restaurant for a bit, some years back, and people grabbing things off the tray can really unbalance a heavy tray. If the server removes things from the tray themselves, they can adjust their own balance, but not when people just randomly take things while you’re trying to set it down, etc. Especially with lots of drinks. I once had someone plunge their hand into a load of drinks on a tray to get to their one, and they nearly knocked over all the others.

55 55points reply View More Replies… #11 Not Understanding When The Bar Is Full

Understand that when the bar is full, the bar is full. No, I’m not going to go and ‘see if anyone’s done’ at the bar so you can squeeze in for free corn chips at happy hour. I’ve politely told you you’re more than welcome to stand at the bar, but all the seats are taken. And for the love of god, don’t try to take other customers’ seats while they’re in the bathroom.

Kyle Redman , Alexander Popov Report

Final score: 140points Iron Eddy Iron Eddy Community Member • points posts comments upvotes FollowUnfollow 1 month ago

Taking others seats while they’re in the bathroom?? What.the.fu*k?!?!?!???!?!?!?

49 49points reply View More Replies… #12 Being Glued To The Phone

Please do not be glued to your phone, especially if you’re in a large party. I work in a tapas restaurant, which means everyone orders small plates to share. We recently had a table of ten do this, ignoring runners and servers that were bringing their food, causing the food to be returned or eaten by different table members, and so the person who ordered the food would finally look up from their phone and start complaining that they never received the food they ordered. Of course, the other table members neglected to tell them they had received it and eaten it. Why? Because THEY were now on their phones. They nearly made a server cry with rude comments about her intelligence and figure (“that skinny bitch probably ate them, she needs to put on weight before her hips cut me”) is just one thing I heard. It’s worth mentioning that these were all morbidly obese people.

Kyle Redman , Isaac Matthew Report

Final score: 140points Doggo Froggo Doggo Froggo Community Member • points posts comments upvotes FollowUnfollow 1 month ago

How disgustingly rude.

13 13points reply #13 Not Considering The Hard Work In The Kitchen

Allergies. If the truth is you don’t like a food, then just say that. Say you don’t like bell pepper. The amount of work that happens in the kitchen is hardly ever seen in the dining room. Respect the staff by not adding to that amount of work if it’s not necessary.

Sofia Korkala , Tim Meyer Report

Final score: 130points

James016 James016 Community Member • points posts comments upvotes FollowUnfollow 1 month ago

Sometimes I ask for ingredients to be taken out, gherkins in burgers for example. If they can’t do it because the food has been prepped already, I’ll just order something else.

45 45points reply View More Replies… #14 Clients Who Can’t Manage Their Time

Don’t order a well-done steak if your movie starts in 15 minutes.

Edith Deween , Thanti Nguyen Report

Final score: 128points Wyn Williams Wyn Williams Community Member • points posts comments upvotes FollowUnfollow 1 month ago

Don’t ever order a well done steak for any reason…

121 121points reply View More Replies… #15 Being Overly Picky And Making It More Difficult For The Staff

The menu is not a canvas for your wildest imagination, unfortunately. I have come across customers who ask what ingredients do we have, and start building their own portion based on them.
I know the struggle of being a hard customer and not being able to take whatever from the menu due to dangerous allergies, but don’t be picky in vain. The staff is usually crowded with special orders anyway.

Sofia Korkala , Sunrise Photos Report

Final score: 119points Hans Hans Community Member • points posts comments upvotes FollowUnfollow 1 month ago

It’s not what you say, but how you say it.

7 7points reply #16 Disrespectful Behavior

Do not address us as “waiter”/”waitress”, or snap your fingers at us.
This is basic human respect. I will openly ignore such requests for my attention, and you’ll be waiting a while for me to come back.

Maxwell Arnold , Jessie McCall Report

Final score: 116points Maciej Zajaczkowski Maciej Zajaczkowski Community Member • points posts comments upvotes FollowUnfollow 1 month ago

How should you address them then?

10 10points reply View More Replies… #17 Wasting Servers’ Time

This is a more Spanish restaurant specific thing than anything, but please for the love of god do not order 6 plates and then ask me which are spicy, having me bring back the ones that are. Please. It’s a Spanish restaurant, nearly everything is spicy. Stop wasting our time. You wouldn’t believe how often this happens.

Kyle Redman , Peijia Li Report

Final score: 111points LOttawa LOttawa Community Member • points posts comments upvotes FollowUnfollow 1 month ago (edited)

Most restaurants I’ve been to solve this by having little drawings of peppers next to the meal description. Green for mild, orange for medium and red for spicy (and those for from 1 to 3 depending on how spicy it is).

57 57points reply View More Replies… #18 Complaining That The Food Takes Longer To Come Out When The Place Is Busy

Food takes longer to come out when we’re busy

When a restaurant is busy, it’s usually no secret. It’s loud, it’s full, staff are running around, the whole deal. You can also anticipate when a restaurant will be busy, like on Friday and Saturday nights. If you choose to dine at such times as these, you can expect your food to take longer to come out. Why? More people, more orders, more work for the kitchen to do. So if you’ve just placed your order now, it could take 20, 30, 40 minutes, or even longer than that. If that’s too long for you, none of us have any sympathy for your complaints. You knew it was busy, so you knew it would take long. You chose to dine at this time, so you knew what you were getting into. We don’t care that you’re hungry. Everybody is hungry. That’s why they’re here! What do you think we’re going to do? Bring your food out first before someone else’s, just because you’re complaining? Dream on.

Maxwell Arnold , Zahir Namane Report

Final score: 111points Ripley Ripley Community Member • points posts comments upvotes FollowUnfollow 1 month ago

Rubbish. If diners are having to wait more than half and hour for their food the kitchen needs more staff, or to review their practices. 40 minutes is too long, even on a busy night.

71 71points reply View More Replies… #19 Not Accepting Where You’re Being Seated

Please accept where I seat you. I understand you want a booth. But we only have four, and by dinnertime, I’ve already reserved them for my six other 6:30 reservations. And if you’re a party of two, you’re going to get placed at a two top. Not a full-size table.

Kyle Redman , K8 Report

Final score: 103points

Hans Hans Community Member • points posts comments upvotes FollowUnfollow 1 month ago

Frankly, why again not ask politely? There might be a perfect rationale behind the place you are seated, which is hiden to you as a customer, but it might have been a random choice out of many options.

52 52points reply View More Replies… #20 Sitting At An Empty Table Without Asking

If you see a table with no one at it, that is not necessarily your table! There might be a reservation plotted for your table later that night. The restaurant limits how many people can sit in each time-block.

Jesse Sutton , Hitesh Dewasi Report

Final score: 86points LOttawa LOttawa Community Member • points posts comments upvotes FollowUnfollow 1 month ago (edited)

If it’s reserved, shouldn’t there be a note on the table saying so? If not, and there’s no hostess to sit us down, how are we supposed to know which table is free and which one isn’t?*Just mentioning that I said if there are no hostess, I did not say, what if the hostess is unavailable. The post makes no mention wether there is one or not, makes no mention of what type of restaurant it is (fancy or not).

46 46points reply View More Replies… #21 Tipping Is Important

Tipping is not mandatory, but servers live off of our tips.

Edith Deween , Sam Dan Truong Report

Final score: 72points Francesca Annoni Francesca Annoni Community Member • points posts comments upvotes FollowUnfollow 1 month ago

Only in USA…

235 235points reply View More Replies…