Restaurant Servers Reveal The Most Annoying Customer Habits That Constantly Drive Them Crazy
Working as a server can be brutal. As we sit comfortably in our fancy chairs and wait for our meals to arrive, our waiter or waitress is usually two bad complaints away from reaching their breaking point. Most of us think to ourselves, “Oh, well that’s not because of me. I’m one of the good customers.” But apparently there’s a lot that we do that they can’t stand — and they’ve finally revealed what their biggest pet peeves are.
1. People Who Flirt With The Waitress
Just because a waitress is being nice, that doesn’t mean she wants to date you. In general, it’s in a server’s job description to be kind and welcoming to their customers. Additionally, it’s in their interest to try and make you like them as much as possible, so that you might give them a generous tip.
Unfortunately, quite often a waitress will receive a phone number from their “thirsty” customer, instead of a tip. As Reddit user Randomlycandy pointed out, “You expect me to call you for the rest of my tip or something? Yeah, you’re exactly who I’d want to date.”
2. The Annoying Photograph Request
You might be having the most beautiful dinner of your life — but that doesn’t mean that the waiting staff wants to be a part of it. Reddit user Jdizzle3192 explained how annoying it is when customers are constantly asking him to take pictures of them: “I hate that every table I serve needs a group picture. I’m a waiter not a photographer.”
Sure, it’s part of the waiter’s job to be cordial and helpful, but they shouldn’t have to jump through hoops to make your life wonderful, and shouldn’t have to stop working for your personal interests every few seconds. They’re usually pretty busy as it is without receiving endless picture requests from everyone in the restaurant.
3. People Who Stack Their Plates
Here’s one that may surprise you, because the people who do this genuinely believe they’re helping out. It’s common for some customers to stack their plates when they’re done eating, convinced that they’re making the job easier for their waitress. But generally, your waiting staff hates when customers do this.
“I know it’s done with good intention, but if you hand me a stack of plates there’s almost a 99% chance they aren’t stacked correctly,” explained Reddit user Danam524. He then added, “It’s fine to be helpful and move things off to the side but PLEASE don’t try to add your plate to my stack to try to help.”
4. Control Your Kids, Or, Don’t Bring Them
Aren’t kids just wonderful? Sure. Sometimes. But while some parents only have eyes for the wonderful attributes their children may possess, the waiting staff sees everything else. If their kids have a penchant for being messy, the waiters are the ones who will have to clean it up.
If the kids are bouncing off the walls, the waitress is the one who must prevent them from bothering other diners, let alone breaking a chandelier. The main message that servers want to leave parents with is this: know your kids. If you know that you won’t be able to control them, then maybe don’t bring them at all. Servers aren’t employed to be babysitters.
5. People Who Don’t Know How To Tip
It’s common for servers to make less than minimum wage, and this is because it’s expected that they’ll receive tips. People can complain about the system all they want, but it is what it is — and until things change, your waiter or waitress is relying heavily on the tips that customers give them. Unfortunately, people don’t always leave tips at all.
And even when customers do leave tips, it’s not always the kind of tip that’s appropriate for the restaurant, or for the bill. For this reason, waiters request that patrons do their proper research before getting the check — and then proceed to leave a tip that’s fair. Remember: if the kitchen is slow or backed up, it’s not your server’s fault, and they shouldn’t get a lower tip as a result.
6. People Who Change Everything In Their Dish
It makes sense that the resident chef at most restaurants would put a lot of thought into the menu entrees. He (or she) will mix the various ingredients in such a way that’s optimized for the customer’s pleasure. Sure, it makes sense for vegetarians to make changes to a meat dish, or for people with allergies to have peanuts removed. But it doesn’t end there.
Outside of special circumstances, the waiting staff would prefer it if customers would just trust the chef and order the dishes as they are presented. Once you start changing every little ingredient, customizing it to your absolute perfection, it becomes a completely different order — and it also adds more work to the staff.
7. People Who Fight Over the Bill
Waiters want their customers to know that they couldn’t care less about who actually picks up the check. “Figure out who’s getting the bill before I drop it off,” said Reddit user Blackdragonking13. “I can’t pick a side because then I gotta deal with the other getting all pissy at me.”
You might think that the game of “who pays the bill” is a fun game to play amongst yourselves on a date, but your waiter or waitress has better things to do. They’ve probably been on their feet all day, and would prefer it if you didn’t add unnecessary drama to things that could otherwise be handled quite easily.
8. People Who Don’t Speak Up When They Need Something
Here’s another one that may surprise you. Often shy customers won’t call over their waitress to ask for something because they’re afraid of bothering her. But what ends up happening is that the customer ends up resenting the waitress for not helping them, even though the waitress had no idea that there was a problem in the first place.
As Reddit user PinkWhiteandGreen explained, “I hate it when customers don’t complain about something, at least not until after the fact when it comes time for the bill and it’s too late to try and fix their issue. I’d rather have you happy with my ability to accommodate you when it comes time for the tip than to have nothing to do.” Speak up!
9. If You Didn’t Reserve A Spot, You Can’t Complain
It’s not uncommon for people to arrive at a restaurant without making reservations. Sometimes we spontaneously have a craving for a particular dish, where no other food on the planet can possibly substitute it. But when you arrive at a more exclusive restaurant with no reservation made ahead of time, you have no right to complain about not getting the seating experience you want.
You’re competing with customers who had the foresight to call the establishment in advance, for the sole purpose of avoiding what you’re going through right now. So respect the system that’s put in place, and be grateful if a choice spot does happen to open up for you.
10. People Who Make A Lot Of Noise
We all know those restaurant patrons: the rowdy group of folks who either aren’t aware of their surroundings, or simply don’t care. They are generally the loudest ones in the room, and have a particular knack for making everyone — waiting staff included — truly uncomfortable. But at least other customers can just turn their heads and try to ignore them.
For the servers, it’s a whole lot harder to deal with them, especially when they themselves must be on their best behavior. Unfortunately, some of these customers will also yell at the servers who are handling their food, and that’s a good way to become public enemy number one.
11. The Clueless Chit-Chatter
There’s absolutely nothing inherently wrong with having a friendly chat with your waiter. But you need to make sure the time is right. You need to be able to read the room, or be able to assess how busy the waiter is at the time.
As one Reddit user explained, “Light chat/banter is fine (appreciated even so it’s not awkward while I’m there), but diving into a banal/conspiracy monologue is terrible while my arm is dying and I don’t want to be rude and walk away.” It’s always helpful to try and picture yourself in their shoes. If you’d want to leave if you were them, chances are they do too.
12. When The Restaurant Says Closed, It Means Closed
Waiters and waitresses are just like the rest of us in that they look forward to being able to go home. They look forward to the moment their place of work closes — and they would appreciate it if their customers respected those boundaries. Unfortunately, they constantly must deal with patrons who simply won’t leave.
Whether it’s a family who has long overstayed their welcome, an inebriated latecomer knocking on the glass who won’t take no for an answer, or someone who just can’t read the room, some people simply have no sympathy for the workers. If a restaurant’s about to close, then please do everyone a favor and just leave.
13. People Who Move After Being Seated
“I hate servers having to play musical tables,” stated Reddit user AmyXBlue. When you come into the restaurant, sit where the host tells you, and please stay there. You might think it’s no big deal to randomly decide that you want to eat somewhere else, but it can totally screw with the logistics going on behind the counter.
Restaurant seating generally runs under a strict and carefully planned system, and once you change your table without telling anyone, it throws a wrench into the whole operation: “If you decide to venture out of the section of the server whose turn it is, it can mess a lot of things up,” said another waiter.
14. People Who Ask What’s ‘Good’ On The Menu
There’s nothing wrong with getting recommendations from the waiting staff; in fact, it’s encouraged most of the time. But the devil is in the details, as one Reddit user pointed out: “We’re gonna say everything is good. We have to. Instead, ask us what our favorite thing on the menu is. That’s a much safer bet for a quality dish.”
Indeed, when all you do is ask the waiter what’s “good” on the menu, you’re piling a world of stress on their shoulders. For instance, they might want to tell you what they like, but also have pressure from the kitchen to push other menu items that haven’t been tried yet. So don’t be vague with your questions.
15. People Who Prematurely Ask For Salt
If you’ve got a steaming hot dish coming to your table, give it a taste before asking for salt. Waiters are more than happy to give you the seasoning or condiments you need — but they’d prefer it if you give the food a chance before making them do extra work.
A chef works endlessly to come up with the perfect blend of seasoning that’ll make a dish pop — and when salt is requested, it can be certainly viewed as insulting to their craft. Again, everyone’s entitled to add salt if they so choose, but at least give the food a chance before making that request.
16. People Who Forget Their Orders
“I hate when as a food runner I’m holding very hot plates and the family of five has no idea what they ordered as I repeat ‘derp burger’ four times. Meanwhile my flesh is burning away,” said an exasperated Reddit user. Many customers don’t take into account that the waiter who takes your orders isn’t always the same person who actually brings the food — and that can create problems.
By not remembering your dish, you add considerable annoyance to this staff member’s day. It really shouldn’t be that hard to remember what you chose on the menu, and if you have some kind of special circumstance, maybe ask someone who doesn’t to help you out.
17. People Who Don’t ‘Make Room’ On The Table
You might think it’s no big deal to place your smartphone on the table, along with your wallet and keys. But in actuality, this can create a lot of stress for the waiter when he brings over the hot dishes. The last thing they would want is to spill hot gravy on your phone, or drop a meatball on your fancy Kindle. You’ve created an unnecessary obstacle course.
At the very least, if you’re going to put your valuables on the table, help the server clear some room so he can safely put down the food without any problems arising. According to many servers, regrettably, customers don’t often help out like this.
18. People Who Order What’s Not On The Menu
When you walk into a restaurant and sit down to order, do the waitress a favor: order something that’s actually on the menu. We know you might have cherished memories of eating a specific delectable entrée the last time you attended this restaurant, but that doesn’t mean they’re still making it.
You might be angry, and you might even ask yourself why the chef would ever get rid of such a delicious treat. But there are always factors behind the scenes that we don’t know about. Perhaps you’re the only one who likes it, and it was actually losing them money.
19. People Who Don’t Tip The Bartender
There are many fancy restaurants that have a bar in addition to fine dining. In these places, it’s common for customers to grab a drink or two while waiting for their table to open up. But people rarely give these bartenders the respect they deserve.
Think about it: when people order drinks at a club, do they tip the bartenders? They sure do. So why should it be any different at a restaurant? Perhaps customers feel that because they’re going to be paying a lot more money for their food later, they consider the bartending service an “added perk”. But these bartenders are the ones suffering as a result.
20. People Who Simply Ignore Them
“I hate when I go to a table and ask how everyone’s doing and NO ONE answers,” said Reddit user Radialomens. “If it’s good, everyone say it’s good. I don’t mind if you all speak at once. I can’t walk away without someone answering the question.”
Time for a wake-up call: waiters and waitresses are human beings with emotions too. While yes, they aren’t your friends, and you aren’t necessarily required to talk to them, they are probably required to check up on you. So why not just make their lives a bit easier by smiling back and letting them know how you like your food?
21. People Who Make Corny Jokes
We get it — you’re God’s gift to joke-telling, and you probably could’ve had your own HBO comedy special if you’d only gone all in on your dreams way back in college. But as funny as you probably are, it’s possible that the waiter isn’t in the laughing mood.
As one fed up Reddit user explained bluntly, “If I ask, ‘Is there anything else I can get you?’ And you say, ‘A million dollars.’ I will forever hate you.” Take it from this waiter who clearly has had to deal with more than one corny jokester on the job, and maybe just save your million dollar knee-slapper for later.
22. When Splitting The Bill For A Large Group Is Like Rocket Science
Servers are more than happy to split the bill for a group of friends who obviously would like to pay separately. But sometimes that “friendly split” can get complicated, and when it’s a massive group of people, the waiter’s patience is sure to be tested.
They have no desire to stand there and wait while you and your friends figure out who’s paying what, and how many credit cards will add an “X” percent tip to their order. Put quite simply: if the customers want to split their bill, they should figure everything out before the waiter comes — and not while he’s standing there waiting.
23. People Who Vandalize The Tables
A customer might think they’re being cute by standing up for themselves in this artful, inventive, albeit rude manner. They might even share their clever act on social media. But they’re just making things a whole lot worse. Although their cause might be justified, there are better ways to handle impatience.
Chances are the waiting staff are filled to the brim with tables to serve, orders to write down, and trays to balance. It sucks to wait forever to be served, but why not just inquire politely about what’s going on? Squirting ketchup all over the table you’re sitting in is just distasteful (no pun intended).
24. People Who Remove Things from the Tray
When the server approaches your table with a tray of multiple dishes, think twice before you help them out. While your intentions are good, apparently you might actually be doing more harm than you think — or so says Reddit user BeatBoxxEternal.
“If something is removed prematurely, and we are unprepared to make the adjustment, the whole tray can become off-center and topple over,” the waiter declared. “I’ve had it happen before, and it’s kind of a day ruiner when you dump 6 drinks on a 10 year old kid at his birthday party.” Who would have thought that trying to help can actually be counterproductive?
25. People Who Complain About Literally Everything
This might be one of the more obvious things that bothers waiters and waitresses everywhere, but that’s only because it happens so often. As paying customers, people are entitled to defend themselves, and complain to the establishment if they feel they’ve been wronged by the staff. After all, isn’t the customer always right?
But there are often times that a customer will take advantage of their privileged position and complain about everything under the sun, including the fact that the breadsticks aren’t whole wheat. Some battles just aren’t worth fighting, and customers need to be wary of that balance. Again, it’s always good to try and picture oneself in the server’s shoes before lashing out about something small.