Restaurant etiquette for Patrons and Servers

Manner is always in trend, being nice is always hip. It pays a long way to do your duties diligently and it aids the servers to know how to please the patrons. In return, it also helps to treat those who serve you, politely. Yes, you pay for the services but being a decent human being is priceless.

Here are a few guidelines for etiquettes that must be followed to maintain decorum and civility by all:

  1. Wait to be seated- for some restaurants, it’s polite to wait for your entire party to arrive before being seated. Be mindful of their protocols.
  2. Don’t leave your phone on the table- take your phone, keys, and other belongings off of the table. And don’t take your phone out to text. This sends a message to your company that whoever you’re texting is more important to you than they are. Sending a reply message or email can wait until dinner is over, but if it’s urgent, excuse yourself before taking out your phone.
  3. Wait for everyone to be served before you start eating- If you have to send something back, which is acceptable if the food is not cooked properly, make sure you tell the rest of your party to continue eating without you.
  4. Don’t call out to your waiter- Instead, try to make eye contact with him or her to silently signal that you need something. If you still can’t get your waiter’s attention, raise your hand in their direction.
  5. Treat the wait staff with respect- cannot stress this enough. Treat a human being with the respect they deserve. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, but if any of the food is not to your liking keep in mind that this is likely not the waiter’s fault.
  6. Leave within 15 minutes of finishing your meal- If you don’t want the fun to end, grab drinks somewhere else. You don’t want to monopolize a table that the restaurant needs, especially if it’s a popular restaurant. After all, a restaurant is a business, and staying past your welcome could prevent another customer from being seated.
  7. Decide ahead of time how you’re splitting the bill- If you would like separate checks, ask the waiter ahead of time if this is possible so they can keep track of what each person orders throughout the meal. However, if you’re with a large group, don’t assume the restaurant will be able to accommodate this. If everyone’s meal was around the same price range, it’s best to just split the bill evenly.
  8. Tip well- Depending on the restaurant, your waiter may not be working on an hourly wage, which means they depend on your tip for their livelihood. Tip 15 to 20 percent for satisfactory service and 25 percent for exemplary service.

For Servers

  1. Be pleasant. Greet everyone who enters warmly.
  2. Don’t refuse to seat three guests just because the fourth isn’t there yet.
  3. Your job is to help. Never say “I don’t know” to a guest’s question without immediately following up with “… but I’ll find out.”
  4. Be patient, and choose your moments. Never interrupt a conversation; wait for a lull to list the specials—and always include the prices. Don’t clear any plates until everyone is finished.
  5. Never reach across a guest to serve another guest.
  6. Never clear a plate full of food without asking what was wrong. Something clearly was wrong.
  7. If you ask a patron how their meal was and they say something isn’t right, fix it.
  8. Serve from a guest’s left, using your left hand, and clear from their right, using your right hand.

So, follow these etiquettes to make your restaurant experience good for all parties involved.