How to be a good restaurant patron

Photo courtesy of IQBAL OSMAN

Zach Miller

Staff Writer

Let me just start out with pointing out that these are opinionated tips and tricks that restaurant workers appreciate. Following these tips and tricks helps allow the restaurant to work more effectively to every guest a pleasurable experience.
First off, making a solid first impression will set you up for success at any food service building. Being optimistic, inviting and cooperative go a long way with your hosts and servers. A warm hello or small conversation (if the restaurant is not busy) take away the awkwardness of strangers meeting for the first time and asking you to follow us to a random table. In addition to that, most places take you to a table depending on a computer system telling us which server is next in the rotation. You are not put in the corner or a table when you preferred a booth because we want to ruin your experience, and your wanting to switch to another table only makes it harder for the restaurant. Nine times out of ten you are moving to a server who already has a full plate, or you are in an area that does not have a server assigned to it yet.
Secondly, after you are seated and have ordered your food, feel free to ask for something if you need it. Do not sit there and quietly complain to whomever you are with! Nobody is going to say, “No, you cannot have your check yet, you have to sit there longer.” Another suggestion: do not sit at a table for 3 hours (it has been done before). Not only are you probably making a mess, but you have now successfully taken away three hours-worth of tips a server would have earned with that table that more than likely could have seated three other families.
Finally, after your stomach is full, your check has arrived and your table is, more times than not, looking like it went through a tiny food superstorm, it is time for you to head home. One small TIP most overlook is the TIP itself. Servers and hosts make their earnings off your tip, not on how much you paid for your meal. While we do get a portion of that through our hourly wage, most of our wages come from that 12%-20% tip. What you choose to give your server depending on your experience is absolutely your decision, but if you are a large party or you find your server was talkative and helpful give a decent tip. Don’t go to a restaurant where you blow all your money on a $38.00 meal and leave the remaining $2.00 as the tip. Next, feel free to tidy up your dishes and trash, because I guarantee you tore up that straw paper into 4 million pieces. Seriously, clean up a little, especially if you have kids because you are only going to leave a good impression on the restaurant and be welcomed back next time!