Ever wonder what your waiter says about you when he goes back into the kitchen? Sure you have. Remember that night when one of your martini-soaked relatives complained to the restaurant about the size of the serving plates? In his mind, they were too small and he let the waiter, maître d', and just about everyone else in the establishment know about it in a boisterous voice. You've never left a restaurant feeling so embarrassed, right? And you can only imagine how the waitstaff retold the story over shift drinks later that night. But besides being drunk and loud, what other things are you doing that really make your waiter mad?
Click here for 11 Things That Make Your Waiter Really Mad Slideshow.
The restaurant is there to serve you, but as part of the social contract, the customer also has a certain responsibility to act as a gracious guest. They say there's truth behind every cliché. So it is with the line, "Everyone should have to wait tables at some point in life to know what it's like."
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The reality is that most of us haven't waited tables, heard the obnoxious remarks, felt the inappropriate slap on the behind, been called "honey," or known the countless other irritating things that customers do and that waiters see, hear, and experience firsthand every day.
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Because many of us have just never seen what it's like on the other side, we asked well-respected restaurateurs to weigh in with 11 things they absolutely hate that customers do. From making snide comments about the burger taking so long they must have had to butcher the cow to using vulgar language in the presence of other guests and the waitstaff, here is what they said really got under their skin.
Veer/Alexander ShalamovNot Ordering Apps and Entrées at the Same Time
"Many guests don't realize that the kitchen begins cooking their entrées as soon as the ticket comes in the kitchen," explained Tobias Peach, the general manager of Restaurant 1833 in Monterey, Calif. "In great restaurants, an entrée can take up to 30 minutes or more to cook. Everything is timed so that when you are finished with your appetizers, there is less than 10 minutes to wait before entrées are ready."
Guests that order appetizers to start and then order entrées after they get the first course, end up waiting much longer for their main dishes. This is called an "order fire," and chefs loathe them. "Guests that 'order fire' tend to complain about slow service, but really they don't understand how that order affects the kitchen," added Peach. "Or they are accustomed to dining at establishments that precook food that can be pumped out of the kitchen quickly, but sacrifices quality."
Many servers will take an appetizer order and hold on to it until they can come back and get the entrée order and put them in together. This will prevent the long wait in between courses.
Veer/Blend Images Photography"Running" Your Server
Waiters want to take care of you. Making you happy (usually) results in them making more money. But they have other guests to take care of, too. "You aren't doing anyone any favors if your companion asks for a straw and when the server returns with it, you ask for lemons," noted Dan Latimer of Husk. "This holds true with drink refills and coffee orders, too. If your guest is getting another glass of wine and you want one too, get them at the same time (if feasible, of course)."
When your server asks the table for coffee, everyone who wants coffee should get it then. "At Husk we serve French press coffee," Latimer explained. "Each one takes four minutes to bloom and steep. If you order them one by one, it's going to be breakfast time before you all get coffee."
iStock/R9_RoNaLdOStacking Your Empty Plates
"Don't be passive aggressive," advised Jeff Benjamin, a partner in the Vetri Restaurant Group in Philadelphia. "If your plates are there for a long time due to bad service, then say something. Otherwise, trust that the establishment you have entrusted your two hours of enjoyment to knows what they're doing and purposefully left the plates, perhaps while the rest of your party continues to enjoy. Nothing more uncomfortable as a guest than to have it pointed out that you're the only one eating."
Veer/Alloy PhotographyGive the Snide Remarks a Break
"Making snide comments about 'milking' or 'butchering' the cow when asking about where a dish is makes no one want to help," noted J.T. Stellmach, manager of Queen Anne's Revenge in Daniel Island, S.C.
Veer/iofotoEff Me? Eff You!
"There always will be a certain amount of human error," explained Robert Wailes, the general manager of Café Adelaide in New Orleans. "When this happens, please understand that we are doing everything within our power to rectify the situation."
"We are ladies and gentlemen serving ladies and gentlemen," noted Carl Walker, the general manager at Brennans of Houston. "Treat everyone as such. That should cover loud, vulgar language around our other guests and staff."
Wailes put things more forcefully: "The rare verbally abusive guest will not be tolerated. Most times we will correct the error in a big and grand way, so please allow us to do this without embarrassing yourself or your guests."
iStock/studiocasperBeing Nasty About Missing Items
"We usually pull the receipt and check the signature, as well as talk to the server," said Adam Fleischman, founder and owner of Umami Burger in California. "If the customer is still there, and claims they didn't receive something, we take it off the bill. The customer is not always right, but always needs to be heard."
- Matt McCue, The Daily Meal
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My after-school snack was a sacred ritual. I sat on the carpet in my parents' bedroom at a low table, the television turned to "I Dream of Jeannie," and ate a peanut butter and honey sandwich cut into neat squares. I wasn't fussy about crusts. I just loved the sticky pairing of creamy peanut butter with syrupy golden sweetness drizzled from a honey bear in diagonals across the soft white bread. Nothing else--save for maybe apples and peanut butter in a pinch--could have made for as sweet an