Food & Drink

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.

Things You Should Never Do at a Restaurant close up of bills money and change at a restaurant
Dave Infante/Thrillist

Refuse to tip

Even anti-tipping evangelists concede that there's simply no present alternative to gratuity.
 

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.

close up of a cheeseburger with bacon
Sara Norris/Thrillist

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.)

Things You Should Never Do in a Restaurant salt and pepper on a table close up
Dan Gentile/Thrillist

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. 

a frustrated server and an annoying restaurant patron Things You Should Never Do in a Restaurant
Thrillist

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. 

angry server hipster woman looking frustrated Things You Should Never do in a restaurant
Dan Gentile/Thrillist

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.

chocolate dessert with vanilla ice cream close up
Dan Gentile/Thrillist

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.

close up pf receipts with valentine's day candies
Dan Gentile/Thrillist

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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Dan Gentile is a staff writer at Thrillist. He is uncertain of his adulthood status and is sure that Internet commenters agree. Follow him to child's play at @Dannosphere.