It may sound crazy that someone would dislike polite habits, but it’s absolutely true — especially when those habits are more disruptive than they are helpful. With that said, here are ten polite things restaurant patrons do that workers secretly hate.
10. Seating Yourself
There’s a reason why you see that sign near the front door that says “Please wait here to be seated.” Restaurants have a system for seating people that actually makes the restaurant run more smoothly and efficiently. Seating yourself will just make things difficult for both the host and the servers. So, if you don’t see the host upon arrival, just wait it out a few minutes. After that, you can try to get someone’s attention so you can be seated.
9. Cleaning Up After Yourself
While it’s perfectly normal (and expected) to do this in certain situations, it’s best to leave the cleaning to the staff when you’re in a restaurant. That’s because they have their own system for cleaning. And, when you stack all your used plates on top of each other at the end of your meal, it may seem to you like you’re being helpful, but it just makes for an icky, inconvenient mess for the staff.
Here’s something else you may not have known: Creating “clean-up” baskets/trays at fast food restaurants is considered rude. Instead, separate the wrappers and bags from the baskets and trays and throw them away.
Lastly, if you make a mess, leave it alone. Sounds crazy, right? But, instead of trying to clean it up yourself, let the staff do it. This is especially true if you knock over something breakable. The last thing the restaurant wants is for you to pick up broken glass. Just alert them to the mess and apologize for the mistake.
8. Not Correcting Mistakes in Your Order
If your order isn’t correct, make sure you tell the employee right away. This is especially important if you’re in a fast food restaurant drive-thru. That’s because it’s much harder to fix your order once you get to the window. With that said, make sure you speak as clearly as possible so they can understand you. Then, listen closely when the employee repeats your order back to you to make sure they got everything right. Also, check out the drive-thru screen to make sure everything is correct.
7. Being Overly Chatty with the Staff
You may blessed with the gift of gab, but chatting it up with your host or server — especially when the restaurant is packed — is not a good idea. Those folks are busy, and while they don’t mind your friendliness, they have other customers to get to. So, instead of being overly chatty, stick to just giving them a smile and a good tip. Or, if you feel you must say something, keep it short and sweet. A “hello, how are you” greeting will do just fine.
6. Ordering from Another Server
Sure, your server may look super busy, but deciding to order from another server will only bring chaos and confusion when it comes time to total your bill. So, instead of causing all that confusion, you can do one of two things: 1) sit there patiently and wait until your server makes his or her way around to your table, or 2) ask another server to flag down your waiter. Keep in mind that when you do that, the other server may sometimes volunteer to take your order and pass that information to your waiter. In situations such as this, it’s perfectly fine to order from a different server.
5. Not Wanting to Bother the Staff
If you need or want something, let your server know. After all, that’s what they are there for. Restaurants really do want you to enjoy your meal (that’s part of what keeps them in business), so if you want more water or if your meal isn’t quite up to par, let someone know. Just don’t get carried away. Rudeness and impatience will get you nowhere. Remember, they have other patrons to wait on, too. They can’t spend all their time getting you what you want.
4. Helping with the Tray
While it may be tempting to lend your server a hand when they’re bringing a tray full of food to your table, it’s best to just let them handle it on their own. After all, they’re trained to balance those heavy loads. And, if you try to stick a hand or two in there, you might actually throw them off and cause them to spill that hot food onto you or some other guest.
TIP: If you want to help, do so by moving your drinking glasses or your personal possessions out-of-the-way so they can easily put your plate down on the table.
3. Paying with Extra Money
No, we’re not talking about a tip. What we’re talking about here is giving the fast food cashier more than what’s needed to pay for your meal. For example, if your meal comes to $38 and you hand the cashier two $20 bills and a $10 bill, it actually makes it harder on the employee — especially if they’re in a hurry.
TIP: Don’t pay for your meal with a ton of change either. The cashier will have to fumble with counting it and giving you change back. If change is all you’ve got, make it as easy as possible by using only quarters.
2. Waiting at the Drive-Thru Window
Whether you’re waiting for your order or you are checking your order to make sure it’s correct, don’t wait at the drive-thru window. Pull into a nearby parking spot instead. This will make things much easier for not only the workers but also for the people in line behind you. In fact, some restaurants will ask you to pull to the side or into a designated parking spot if your order is taking longer than usual. So, instead of getting upset when they ask you to move out of the line, just follow their directions.
1. Splitting the Check at the End
While you may think it’s easier for your server to get all the orders in right away and worry about the check at the end, it’s not. In fact, waiting until the end can actually slow down the process. With that said, make sure you give them notice of who’s paying for what. And, if you’re not sure what the server prefers, you can always ask them when they come around to get your drink orders. Some will actually say that it’s okay to wait until the end to split the check. That seems to be the case a lot of the times when they’re swamped and have tons of orders to take from other customers.
Now that you know what “polite” habits to avoid, learn the signs of what a bad restaurant looks like. Plus, find out the items fast food workers say you should never order.