Things You Should Never, Ever Do in a Restaurant
To the dismay of everyone who has ever worked in a restaurant, there's no rulebook for how to act when eating out, and many full-grown American adults still lack the skills needed to order and eat food properly.
This story is directed at that special type of knuckle-dragger who orders well-done steaks, blocks the path of servers, and casually forgets to mention their life-threatening peanut allergy. Please retire these bad habits once and for all.
Refuse to tip
Compare food negatively to another restaurant
Comparing every sexual experience to a threesome is a surefire way to ruin a lifetime of future sex, and the same goes for judging every entree against its ideal. There may be no way to forget the brisket of a lifetime, but waxing on about how another barbecue joint is better only makes everyone's meal taste worse.
Stand in the servers' way
Restaurants make money by placing tables in a room. People sit at those tables to eat food. Thus it stands to reason that a restaurant will cram in as many tables as possible, leaving their servers with razor-thin pathways to navigate while holding trays of scalding food. Hovering in between tables like a human parking cone disrupts the flow of service and is just one of many things that will make your server hate you.
Apologize for ordering a burger
Sometime in recent history the food gods decreed that every restaurant shalt offer a burger as the lowest-hanging meat fruit on the menu tree. There's no shame in choosing it over a carefully composed small plate, so order with pride.
Let a dog or a child run wild
Leashes and babysitters were invented for a reason.
Make bizarre off-menu requests
Moms happily cut the crusts off sandwiches or put pizza toppings on bagels, but don't expect a restaurant chef to do the same. (Reasonable substitutions are probably OK though.)
Blindly shake salt and pepper onto an entree
There is no reason to automatically unleash a cloud of seasonings over food cooked by a professional.
Ask for a phone charger
Finite phone battery life is a modern dilemma that the ghost of Steve Jobs will fix by the year 2020. In the meantime, this precious resource will always be fleeting, but a restaurant is not a charging kiosk. It's not the server's job to guard your phone. Instead, follow these tips to get the most out of a charge.
Talk on the phone for more than 30 seconds
Adults need to answer phone calls, but they don't need to talk to have a detailed discussion of the local effects of El Nino within earshot of 100 people. Excuse yourself entirely or keep the conversation quick.
Touch a server
Making physical contact is one way a server will endear a customer to them and thus milk an extra few percentage points on a tip, but that subtle shoulder brush is a one-way street. Any self-respecting adult knows that personal space is a right, not a privilege.
Order a well-done steak
Every time a steak is ordered well done, the state of California cries a tear for the thousands of gallons of water it took to raise a perfectly marbled, horribly charred cut of beef.
Sit down without the approval of a host
Just like there are rights of way on the road, restaurants have systems set up to control the flow into the restaurant. Consider the hostess stand a red light that you shouldn't run without police permission.
Stick gum under the table
Sure, most gum only keeps its flavor for two minutes, but that's no excuse to make a stalactite out of a piece of Trident.
Order dessert after the restaurant has closed
Everyone ends up closing out a restaurant on occasion, but that piece of chocolate cake is not worth making a crew of five people stay on the clock for an extra half-hour. No one wants to be at work longer than necessary.
Forget to tell servers about allergies
Life is precious and nuts are in everything.
Roll in on Valentine's Day without a reservation
This is the easiest way not to get laid on Valentine's Day.
Speak while chewing
Words do not travel effectively through masticated shreds of duck confit.
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