Things People Do in Restaurants That Need to Stop

things that make you look like an idiot in restaurants

Nobody wants to look like an idiot. Yet some people are really, really good at it. Especially in restaurants, where all it takes to look like a total dipshit is a snap of the finger or a bite of fake cake.

Consider this a starter pack on things not to do if you don't want to look stupid in a restaurant. Take these lessons to heart. No one wants to eat with an idiot, right? Unless it’s another idiot, of course -- because even idiots don’t like to be lonely.

Snapping your fingers at a server

This is the international hand gesture for “I’m a pee-farting idiot who puts my own needs above respecting others.” Either that, or basic communications skills utterly fail you. Anyone who does this has clearly never worked in a restaurant... nor do they understand basic ground-rules for human decency.

Putting on an accent while ordering "ethnic" food

When you do it right, you sound pretentious -- which is an elevated form of idiocy. When you do it wrong, you look like a walking Jeff Foxworthy joke. "Arroz con pollo" does not equal "a rose con poh-low."

Accusing the server of not putting alcohol in your drink

There's a special class of customer who consistently thinks the server or bartender is pulling a fast one on them when they deliver a drink that "doesn't seem to have enough alcohol in it." These are also people who automatically think their glass of water is their gin and tonic just because there's a lime in it.

Aggressively hitting on servers

Things you will never hear anyone say: “Yes, I met my wife when she grabbed my ass while I was a server at Applebee’s.” This does not happen. (Except in Florida).

Accusing a server of hitting on you

Other things you’ll never hear anyone say: “Yes, I met my husband when I grabbed his ass while I was a server at Applebee’s.” This does not happen. (Except in Florida.)

Asking the server a question

Asking the server a ton of questions about a dish, then ordering something different

If you ask more than 12 questions about the shrimp scampi, you’ve committed to ordering the shrimp scampi. And if the last question is "what's a scampi," you really need to reconsider the value of your degree.

Dad-joking with the server

Server: “You all finished here?”
Dad/Idiot: “Yes.”
Server: “Do you wanna box for your cheeseburger?”
Dad/Idiot: “No, but I’ll wrestle you for these french fries.”

‘Nuff said.

Not letting the servers take plates... ever

I can appreciate the commitment in literally licking your plate clean, but there comes a time when you just need to let go, man. You don’t want your table looking like an episode of Hoarders that happens to take place at the corner booth of the Olive Garden.

Asking the server to choose between two very different dishes for you

Asking your server to rattle of some of their favorite dishes is one thing. Asking him to choose between two wildly different options -- like a bacon cheeseburger or the clam linguini -- is like asking someone if they prefer water-skiing or shooting a parrot.

Asking questions that are answered on the menu

If it says on the menu that your meal comes with a side salad, it definitely comes with a side salad. No need for verbal confirmation -- this is lunch, not a space-shuttle launch.


Unless of course it’s one of those restaurants that requires you to get up and dance every 15 minutes. If so -- where is this restaurant? That sounds pretty fun?

Tipping a server

Asking the server how much you should tip

If you haven't figured out a formula for calculating a tip, there's an app for it. If you haven't figured out how to download an app... hey, maybe the server knows!!

Stuffing napkins in your cups

There’s a special circle of hell reserved for people who think they're helping bussers and dishwashers by cramming two dozen napkins inside their half-drank water glasses. You know someone has to reach in there and fish them out, right?

Eating half the meal, then sending it back

“Um yea, it took me a while to figure out this steak wasn’t to my liking. If you want, you can just give me half a new one.”

Asking for a “rush order”

Rest assured, they are cooking your food as fast as possible. That’s how kitchens work. How exactly do you want them to handle such a request? Cook it at twice the heat?

Asking if things that are gluten-free are definitely gluten-free

If you are actually allergic to gluten, you should probably know that the fruit salad does not contain gluten, but the bread plate with a side cup of wet flour for dipping probably does. If you aren’t actually allergic to gluten, YOU ARE PART OF THE PROBLEM.

Substituting an egregious amount of items

If you want a bacon pizza without cheese or crust, you might as well not be ordering anything in the first place. It’s a pile of sauce and bacon, dude.

Chef getting mad
Anthony Humphries/Thrillist

Saying you know the chef

“Oh you know the chef? Well in that case we’ll give you the REAL menu, not this crap we serve the rest of the guests.”

Asking questions you know the server can’t answer

It’s not your 17-year-old server’s fault if she doesn’t know if the farmer who grew their restaurant’s chickens used well water or tap water in their coop.

Placing orders with someone who is obviously a busboy

You are just going to have to order twice, dude.

Asking the server super-personal questions

You probably shouldn’t be wondering aloud if your server is pregnant or not...

Telling the server super-personal things

… and you probably shouldn’t tell your server that you wish you were pregnant, either.

Filling up on bread

Don’t blow your wad on free dough, yo.

Yelp review
dennizn / Shutterstock

Loudly reading Yelp reviews of the restaurant

Maybe you should have done that before you were sitting at a table, hovering over your phone and slowly reading aloud all the negative reviews of the entree you just ordered.

Trying to eat the wax cake sample

Generally, it's not smart to just grab food off a gigantic tray a server is presenting to you. But if you take a bite of fake cake, you really should finish it.

Assuming anyone in a tie is an employee

That's a lawyer you're snapping your fingers at, and he very certainly does not want to get you another gin & tonic.

Paying with thousands of Skittles

Though whimsical, most businesses prefer cash or credit.

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Wil Fulton is a staff writer for Thrillist. He's never done any of these things, but he's also never been to a restaurant. So... Follow him @wilfulton.