Things you never want to hear in a restaurant
September 13th, 2011
05:00 PM ET
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5@5 is a daily, food-related list from chefs, writers, political pundits, musicians, actors, and all manner of opinionated people from around the globe.

Whether it's no one at the host stand to greet you, overly perky waiters wearing vests with 'flair,' or a mixologist sneering from behind the bar at your libation of choice, there are serious red flags when you walk into a restaurant that the meal ahead is going to be nothing but bad news bears.

Sure, there are a few exceptions where the food speaks louder than the curmudgeonly waitstaff - but don't say Sean Elder, editor in chief of the digital food magazine Real Eats, didn't warn you.

Five Things You Never Want to Hear in a Restaurant: Sean Elder

1. “It depends on what you like.”
"When you ask the waiter for a recommendation, it shouldn’t be a matter for the UN Security Council. As our columnist Michelle Wildgen says, 'I don’t expect them to know my taste but I do expect them to know what the kitchen does well.'”

2. “We have two orders of the [blank] left; if you’re thinking of that I’ll put the order in now.”
"As in comedy, timing is everything. If it’s 9:30 on a Saturday night and the rack of lamb is flying out of the kitchen, okay: thanks for the heads up. Otherwise, as my wife says, 'Why didn’t you make more?' She, like a lot of people I talked to, don’t like the pressure and want to study the menu in a calm, relaxed state of mind."

3. “We’ll bring the dishes out of the kitchen as they’re ready.”
"Barbara Fairchild, our 'Appetite for Life' columnist, submits this as a sign that you are in the wrong place, my friend. While it is expected at certain Italian trattorie, where the kitchen is smaller than your table, that food might arrive as finished, most American restaurants have mastered the art of bringing you food in the order you want it. Rocket science it isn’t."

4. “We can’t turn the air conditioning/heat/music down because the chef likes it like that.”
"Unless you are in the den of some famous autocrat, and forewarned before you arrive that the restaurant doesn’t care about your pleasure, expect accommodations. My wife always brings a sweater in case the AC is arctic, but earplugs seem like a bridge (and chorus and verse) too far."

5. “What are we talking about here?”
"The heyday of the overly familiar waiter ('Hi, I’m Mitch and I’ll be your server') is past, thank god, but over-sharing, TMI-prone service still pops up and is a sign of bad management. I once had a waitress try and look at pictures of my kids that I was showing to a dinner companion - 'I love photos!' she squealed. Go get your attention on the stage already. Don’t break the fourth wall here in the restaurant."

Be sure to come back tomorrow for Sean's list of signs you're in the right restaurant. 'Til then, what sayings should we add to the menu of red flags? Let us know in the comments below.

Is there someone you'd like to see in the hot seat? Let us know in the comments below and if we agree, we'll do our best to chase 'em down.

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Filed under: 5@5 • Restaurants • Service • Think


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  10. Phyliss In

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    November 17, 2011 at 1:04 am |
  11. Anjanette Dufault

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    November 15, 2011 at 4:20 pm |
  12. Unbelievable

    If I order something to be served "without x,y,z", did it ever occur to you that I may be allergic to "x,y,z" and that is why I ordered my meal without it? I do believe it is the responsibiilty of the server to check the order before it is brought to my table. Yes it may be the chef's fault, but it ultimately is the server's responsibility to check the order.

    An incident that happend to my husband and myself when we went out to eat one afternoon assuredly decreased the female waiter's tip. We escorted to a booth and she promptly leaned her behind into my side of the booth and proceeded to flirt with my husband while she was taking the order. I ordered spicy food but the only drink she refilled was my husband's. By the time we finished our meal, I was so angry. She assumed that my husband would be paying the bill – but she sure got a big surprise when I was the one paying it. A survey option printed out on the bottom of my ticket which she kept at the register. I requested the survey back after I paid my bill. I've not seen her at the restaurant on a couple of other occasions where other people in our party requested to go to that restaurant. It makes me wonder if other people complained and she was let go.

    I tip very well, most of the time upwards of 25% for great service. I also believe in treating people as you would want to be treated. I realize if the steak is overcooked it is not the server's fault and take up my complaint up with the manger. But the service we received that day, was totally incompetent and unbelievable. The restaurant wasn't busy and she only had 2 tables she was waiting on. I was getting out of the booth to get my own drink when she finally came to the table and asked if I wanted a refill of my tea – I also had to ask for the check.

    We were seated at a booth in another restaurant when they started prepping a table across from us with seating for 25. I asked if they had a group coming in and she told us that it was a little league football team. When they arrived it was so noisy we couldn't even hear each other over the noise. Thankfully the server asked if she could move us to a quieter table. Her thoughtfulness did NOT go unnoticed when we paid our check.

    Some of these people who have made such demanding statements shoudn't be eating out. I agree with the servers – it's not your home. I also agree with parents taking their children out to restaurants – however, they need to be teaching the appropriate way to act in a restaurant – not letting them disturb other patrons. I asked to be moved to another table when I encountered such loud noise coming from the table behind us – there were only 5 tables with guests seated at the time. Why she seated me behind the noisy table – I've yet to figure out. My husband had been working out of town and I wanted to visit with him as he was on his way back out of town and I told her this before she seated me. I asked if it would be too much trouble to move to another table – and she rolled her eyes. The table she chose was dirty-sticky. I asked for it to be wiped but she missed the sticky spot. When I asked to wipe it myself, again she rolled her eyes. Necessary? I think not. I didn't make an issue of it until she rolled her eyes at me the 2nd time. Again Unbelievable.

    October 12, 2011 at 1:41 pm |
  13. SJ

    If it is someplace I go often (at my income level that is usually a place like Denny's or Red lobster) I try to tip well most of the time. If it someplace I usually have the same server the server will in future visits usually go above and beyond for me in service because they know I will take care of them. At one place I had lunch a lot ( a VIllage In) the server said to me once "You take good care of me!" SHe always had my usual tea at my table as I was shown in by the hostess, and made sure it was always refilled when it was empty. I try always to tip between 15 to 20% unless the service is extremely poor.

    Yes I have asked servers for recomendations and I have on occassion tried and eaten what they recommended. If I ask then don't try what they suggested I feel like I am disrespecting their opinion. If I know there is something on the menu I do not want, I pick my own choice and don't ask for a recomendation.

    September 25, 2011 at 2:30 am |
  14. Jeff

    So you want the temp turned up... what about the other 90 guest that don't?? I guarantee that 90% of your food contains spit you jerk.

    September 22, 2011 at 11:00 am |
  15. Brenton

    Shut up already and bring me my food and be greatful that I came to your establishment.

    September 22, 2011 at 10:29 am |
  16. Nick

    This article is dumb. Dumb, dumb, dumb. I only found it because I was reading another blog that was laughing at how dumb it is.

    September 22, 2011 at 2:17 am |
  17. junkie

    About the whole pictures segment. What do you expect when you're in a public place? By your poignantly stingy article, it would seem you require no less than the sun and moon.
    People are going to see what you're doing, especially the waitstaff, because you're in PUBLIC. I scoff at your irritation with that waitress, who was only trying to show a little interest in her customer. You're rather self absorbed if you think she was really that interested in your pictures, because she wasn't. She was infanticizing you; appealing to the diner's need for instant gratification and attention, no less, from disinterested waitstaff.
    You simply can't expect absurd amounts of privacy like that. And as far as "expecting accomodations"- sure, within reason. But remember that you're not the only person eating in the restaurant; as you seem to believe. You're outlandish and petty little demands for dining make a mockery of you, sir. You've obviously never worked in a restaurant, Mr. Elder.

    September 19, 2011 at 3:16 pm |
    • ALMac12088

      Dont think you can be the editor of a food magazine and have no restaraunt experience.. Just saying..

      September 19, 2011 at 3:21 pm |
      • Rachel

        Well... a "digital" food magazine, also that doesn't mean he was never on the service staff even if he has worked in a restaraunt

        October 12, 2011 at 7:37 pm |
  18. Schmarticle

    I fully agree with the author. Eating out is usually both a joke and a major waste of money. And don't blame your waiter. They are designed that way. It's a symptom of a broken society with no sense of community. The general economic imbalance of the world makes restaurants suffer. Dim Sum makes sense. Indian chat houses make sense. Italian food? Stay at home at eat for hours with your friends and family.

    September 17, 2011 at 11:15 pm |
    • Steve

      Wow! Bitter much?? Sounds like you got a serious case of sour grapes.

      September 18, 2011 at 2:19 pm |
      • TommyVon

        Then, don't go out! If you can't afford to tip, don't go out.

        September 18, 2011 at 3:00 pm |
      • william jordan

        I prefer american lamb to new zealand lamb. I always ask before ordering. A fancy restaurant that charges 30 bucks for NZ lamb will not get my business. I'll leave a mexican restaurant that has no avocado on its menu. I question their authenticity.

        September 18, 2011 at 6:51 pm |
  19. Eetmi

    Both the article and the overwhelming majority of the comments are a a perfect example of what a dreadful place to live America has become in the 21st century. You're mostly whiny, pretentious, self-entitled douches.

    September 17, 2011 at 10:30 pm |
  20. M

    What you really don't want to hear: "Five!... Four!...Three!...Two!...Wow, that was a close one!"

    September 17, 2011 at 9:33 pm |
  21. Your Waiter

    #2 “We have two orders of the [blank] left; if you’re thinking of that I’ll put the order in now.”

    Simple business, we don't prepare 100 [blank] when we have 100 reservations, because it's rather unlikely 100 people will all order [blank]. If we did prepare for that eventuality, we wouldn't be in business for long. Never mind the fact that many people don't make reservations, so we should just guess how many of them will show up each evening?

    The #1 thing you REALLY never want to hear from your server is that EVERYTHING is good, it's a flat out lie. A server who tries to steer you away from a certain dish is usually doing so because it's been sent back to the kitchen on several occasions.

    September 17, 2011 at 7:15 pm |
    • Chris R

      The "we only have two orders left" routine is also used to push an item. There may be more than enough of that dish left but by creating a false sense of scarcity people are more likely to order it.

      September 18, 2011 at 10:09 am |
  22. britt

    *author. im done.....

    September 17, 2011 at 5:53 pm |
  23. britt

    this has been entertaining
    i think we should go back to what tips really stand for To. Insure. Proper. Service – TIPS. put out some cash at the beginning then add/ or take away depending on service. As some one who has worked in the industry for a long time and rocked it, people, we all have bad days. i actually found myself turning into the bitter bartender we all hate, so i quit.
    EARSCHPLITTENLOUDCOMPLAINER- YOUVE INVESTED A LOT OF TIME AND BITTER ENERGY ON THIS FORUM, YOUR EITHER THE OTHER TRYING TO SECRETLY DEFEND YOURSELF, OR YOU HAVE NO LIFE.
    dont bother replying cause its really not that important

    September 17, 2011 at 5:52 pm |
    • stephanie

      that would be a lovely idea if the laws then also required that servers get at least minimum wage. They do not...restaurants are allows to pay less (in Massachusetts, $2.63 an hour). Even with pooling, if you don't tip what amounts to about $5 per hour you occupy the table, you are responsible for endemic bad service (people who want to provide good service will simply not enter the service industry, going to other places where their talents can be used).

      September 19, 2011 at 7:44 am |
      • Actually...

        Actually the law does require that a restaurant make up the difference if a server doesn't receive enough tips to meet minimum wage when it is averaged out over the hours. I really wish more people knew this. Therefore, there is no reason to tip poor servers well at all. It isn't fair to the good ones. I waited tables for years. Good servers make descent money considering the lack of skill or education required for the job.

        September 22, 2011 at 10:44 pm |
  24. Awww, the poor servers...

    Every time an article comes out and the write has the audacity to criticize servers, people come out of the woodwork with their torches and pitchforks. Relax, people. Your not brain surgeons. You have a job because I don't feel like getting my own plate...

    September 17, 2011 at 5:51 pm |
  25. This is a stupid article by an out-of-touch person

    1. It actually *does* matter what you like. It is clear that Elder hasn't waited on anyone in years -if ever- but the fact of the matter is that a real waiter will gather details about your preferences in order to make a recommendation. The reason for this is that people constantly ask for what they should order, and then either dismiss the suggestions out of hand or change ingredients and/or preparation on the recommendation, which in effect makes it a different dish. So when someone asks me what I'd recommend, the answer is truthfully that it would be a different thing to each person (and never anything that the kitchen doesn't do well).

    2. "We can't turn the volume/AC down..." The reason we say this is because everyone who walks in thinks that they can treat the place like it's their home, and that they should have a say in the settings on the AC and stereo. The fact is, for every person who wants it louder, someone else wants it softer. Same for temperature control. So the actuality of the situation is that management has determined the temperature/volume that will make the most people happy, and that's what we're sticking with. And no, honestly, I just don't care what you think. I know you're a precious snowflake and that your temperature preferences are unimpeachable, but that's only in your own home. When you're out at a restaurant, behave like a grownup.

    3. You're confusing the "overly familiar waiterl" with the "waiter who follows protocol". It is true that overfamiliarity from waitstaff is entirely inappropriate. But your "fourth wall" line is pretty haughty, dontchathink? The fact of the matter is that the majority of patrons want to engage their servers for any variety of reasons. And we don't have any idea which ones it is until we approach them. From our standpoint, it is far less risky to start friendly and then read the customer's cues to back off than to appear aloof and risk being called unfriendly. No one has ever been fired for being too friendly in a restaurant. But it's easy to get a bad Yelp review and lose your job for being perceived as rude. So, sorry that someone did you the disservice of being too friendly to you- they were probably just trying to save their job from the whims of snooty magazine editor.

    One final note- the reason we ask if you're still working on it, is because every single table is different. It would be incredibly easy if everyone cleaned their plate, or if everyone pushed it away when they were done, or a combination of the two. But most of the time, people eat as much as they want and then sit there and wait for us to figure it out, despite giving no clue that they're finished. The result is that we have to ask that question. And to all you slow eaters out there- pay attention to the people you're dining with. Most of the time they're tired of waiting an extra 20 minutes for you to finish your meal. It doesn't offend me one bit when people want more time to work on their meals, but please don't expect me to read your mind.

    Folks, there's no excuse for bad service. I give good service, and I expect good service. But I also encourage you to understand that your server can't read your mind. We want you to be happy, because we want you to tip us well and we want you to return. Once we learn your preferences, we WILL read your mind. Til then, try having a little patience.

    September 17, 2011 at 5:57 am |
    • brandoninphoenix

      As a server for over twenty years, I have to say thank you. How about an article on the five things you never say to your server.

      September 17, 2011 at 10:43 am |
    • JamesD

      No, this is a long-overdue article, by someone who actually understands how a decent dining experience should be. If your excuse for a restaurant can't get these basic things right, that's ok because there are plenty of other restaurants that can, and we'll just take our business there instead.

      September 17, 2011 at 5:45 pm |
    • Joy

      If I go to a restaurant where a waiter asks me if I'm "working" on anything, the tip goes down fast (starting from a nice, solid 20%). I'm not a cow chewing my cud–I'm not eating at a restaurant to "work." Anyway, use your eyes. cutlery laid down, staying down, staying in the same place, no food being consumed for 5 minutes or so by EITHER PARTY? Fair game to say "may I take your plates," but I'd rather hear, "may I get you anything else?" or "how are you doing?" instead. But don't grab my plate while other people are eating, or vice versa. That's incredibly rude waitering in europe and a fair bit of Asia. Gratuitously ffending the people I'm with, even if they're not Americans, also doesn't get you the full tip.

      As for needing to know what I like to suggest some options, that's ludicrous. I'm not expecting you to pick the one item that is perfect for me. (What a control freak idea–and not at all something I'd tip extra for.) Just tell me what the kitchen does unusually well–maybe three items, plus the "best meat item" and the "best veg item" if you have not already included those–and I'll figure out what sounds tempting, that day. Why should I have to list everything that I like, and eat, for you to clue me in? When I'm the diner and you're the waiter, I'm the client, you're the employee. YOU do the work, not me. If we encounter each other somewhere else, and you're the client, and I'm the employee, I'd do no less for you.

      September 18, 2011 at 12:27 am |
      • jq

        I would hope someone with your attitude would never grace my restaurant or my life...go back to your ivory tower.

        September 18, 2011 at 5:25 am |
      • TommyVon

        Joy, don't go out to eat anymore. We don't want your business anyways.

        September 18, 2011 at 3:03 pm |
  26. theresa

    by placing your cutlery side by side in the center of your plate at 12 o'clock, you are signaling that your are through with the meal or course. SImple!

    September 16, 2011 at 11:22 pm |
    • MJ

      Not 12 o'clock – 4 o'clock

      September 17, 2011 at 5:07 pm |
      • lillllyyy

        no 330 pm

        September 19, 2011 at 1:47 pm |
  27. Russell Jeffords

    Any noise, whatsoever, from children. Children – young ones – should be fed at home.....and NOT in front of me, ever, unless the establishment is one where children are expected – McD, Denny's, etc.

    If you bring your children and they disturb my meal, I will get up, walk over to your table, and ask you to leave, and continue to harass you until you do.

    OF seven events, seven have left.

    children should stay seated; not be heard; not be smelled; not be sensed in ANY other medium than the visual. Period.

    September 16, 2011 at 7:46 pm |
    • A Realist

      LOL! Seems like someone forgot what the word public means. 7 of 7 have left, he says. You've just been running into timid people, I'm afraid. Come ask me and my family to leave a restaurant and you'll get told to f*#k yourself. Come up to us again and you'll get choked out.

      September 16, 2011 at 11:20 pm |
      • revolted1

        I couldn't agree more. This nutcase is so put off by annoying children then goes on to say he will harass you to no end. I'm sure that won't disrupt the other diners at all. To Russell, if you choose to do this to me pray I'm not using a steak knife.

        September 17, 2011 at 5:37 pm |
      • MS

        LOVE your response. Mmmm!!!

        September 18, 2011 at 11:11 am |
    • Lance

      I agree with Russel. How dare you come out with your loud children and disturb everyone else that doesn't have kids or that was smart enough to pay a baby sitter to come out nad enjoy a night. I hate loud kids, and often times I do point out that those individuals are selfish for coming out with their loud babies, especially in movie theaters.

      September 17, 2011 at 12:41 pm |
      • A Realist

        That same stupid logic could be used on anything loud. Do you ask people to leave if their girlfriend has an annoyingly loud cackle and laughs at everything? Do you ask people to leave if they have an obnoxious ringtone on their phone that rings over and over again? Do you ask people to leave when they talk too loud at the library? These are the things that happen in public. If you want a quiet dinner, make it at home.

        September 17, 2011 at 4:20 pm |
      • Awww, the poor servers...

        @ Lance: You're are right. I mean, there I am, trying to watch "Cars 2" and all these insensitive a-holes bring their kids! When are they gonna learn that just because it's public doesn't mean it's public for everyone! Stupid poor people who can't afford babysitters...

        September 17, 2011 at 6:03 pm |
      • Missy

        Loud – if I can't hold a conversation with the people at my table it is too loud.
        Children – I believe we can coexist, but wouldn't it be nice if the hostess/host noticed that this is a couple and this is a family, and didn't seat us side by side? I know in busy restaurants that would be difficult – but it would be worth an extra wait for me to have a quite meal with my mate.
        Too friendly servers – some have actually sat with us at our table and chatted! Please keep replenishables going, but don't stop by every third bite to ask us how things are. Once is enough. I've eaten in places where the server stopped by 2-3 times just to ask how we were doing, the manager came by to chat and a chef was also circulating the room. I know – it is friendly service, it may flatter some people, but in our case, we go out to spend time with each other, so let us enjoy it?

        September 17, 2011 at 8:49 pm |
    • Awww, the poor servers...

      Of course, Russell. When our Lord, Russell Jeffords, enters the room, of course our children will stop speaking. In fact, all cell phones will immediately shut down and table conversation will be lowered to a subtle whisper! One quick question: How far is your head up your arse?

      September 17, 2011 at 5:58 pm |
    • Your Waiter

      A little harsh there Russell, you harass another table in my restaurant, you'll be the one leaving. The only thing I ask of parents is to keep their children in their seats. This is a safety issue and a server carrying a large tray of food has a blind spot beneath the tray, where children love to play.

      September 17, 2011 at 6:09 pm |
    • PBJ

      I agree with Russell about the loud, rude, and rambunctious children (ditto for similar adults). They do not belong in the kind of restaurants where people expect to be able to enjoy a meal without hearing kids scream-talking, entertaining adults who are not paying attention to them by banging on the table, sword fighting with the cutlery, etc. I do not agree with Russell's approach, which is also rude. There must be a better way to deal with these clueless parents. I told a manager of an otherwise pleasant place that I had avoided it for months after several bad experiences enduring kids ramming my table, toy race cars landing on my table, and watching yupsters beam at their kid while he played a kazoo. Whatever happened to "inside voices?"

      September 17, 2011 at 8:40 pm |
      • A Realist

        THIS, I can somewhat agree with. Inattentive parenting is one thing, but to say that you should hear no noise from any patron (child or otherwise) in a restaurant is just stupid. If you want absolute silence with your dinner, public dinning is probably not the place for you. Some people seem to think that just because they decided to grace a certain restaurant with their presence that the atmosphere should be exactly to their liking, and anything else is completely unacceptable. This is the exact thinking of a pompous, spoiled twit, and should that pompous, spoiled twit ever interrupt my dinner because they aren't happy with the noise level of my child, they can expect to be quickly responded to in an aggressive nature.

        September 17, 2011 at 9:39 pm |
    • lillllyyy

      what do you do when someone pulls out a gun?like i would

      September 19, 2011 at 1:52 pm |
  28. Jimbob

    We were in a famous restaurant in Mallorca, Spain. It was famous because every hotel and rental car said to go there. We go. It has seating for 200 or more people, but it was mostly empty. We waited for 20 mins, before I walked into the kitchen to get a waitress and menus. She DROPPED them on the table, and stood glaring at us with her notepad ready to order. I told her we neededed a few minutes. I struck up a conversation with an other American who said this was undercooked, that was overcooked, etc. When the waitress came back, I asked her if there was another restaurant nearby. She even gave us directions! We left as soon as the kitcchen door closed and had one of the best meals I've had in years!! Las Guz(sic) was terrific, hasepfeffer, and a pork tenderloin to die for!

    September 16, 2011 at 2:11 pm |
  29. rosie

    It might be rude to ask "Are you still working on that?" but I am also getting tired of my plate being whisked out from under me when I wasn't finished with my food. What are my options? Run after the waiter and tackle him before he reaches the kitchen? Yell "HEY! I WASN'T DONE WITH THAT!!" Pay for food I was not allowed to eat? Last night I simply demanded my money back, which is what I will do from now on.

    September 16, 2011 at 1:52 pm |
    • Wouldn't you love to?

      Next time, when they start to whisk your plate off to oblivion, stab them in the hand with your fork – then ask for a new one.

      September 16, 2011 at 3:11 pm |
  30. Carrie

    The sure sign of a poorly trained imbecile who is serving you is if the ask, "Are you still working on that?" It completely degrades the client as well as the meal being served. Who decided this was protocal for asking if you are finished with your meal?

    September 16, 2011 at 1:13 pm |
    • wtfindy

      Is it the wording of it or just the fact that they are asking at all that offends you so much? Just curious.

      September 16, 2011 at 2:57 pm |
    • Rachel

      How would someone who is not an imbecile ensure that the dinner was finished before taking the plate?

      September 16, 2011 at 3:38 pm |
      • Sensible

        How about "May I take your plate?"

        September 17, 2011 at 5:34 pm |
      • Jacqueline (rhymes with beauty queen)

        simple. wait until cutlery is down on all of the diners plates. watch for a few seconds, then ask the diner with the most food left, "may i take your plate?" easy peasy.

        September 17, 2011 at 5:34 pm |
    • Amy

      I agree that "Are you still working on that" is a horrible phrase. I am not working on it, I was never "working" on it. It's not work, it's my meal. I came for a change of pace, to have someone serve me for a change and I am enjoying my meal thank you very much. Of course there are going to be circumstances where it is not clear if the guest has finished their plate. More appropriate question might be "Sir, may I remove you plate or are you still enjoying your entree?".

      September 17, 2011 at 2:52 pm |
  31. Origamigryphon

    There was one time I was in a restaurant and ordered a meal that was pretty much an asian style wrap – lettuce leaves that you can put the other ingredients like shrimp into and dip into peanut sauce. My husband had ordered a steak. The waitperson came back with our meals, and they gave him the steak, and as they were placing my plate before me, they said "and, of course, the asian wrap is for you!"

    Listen, just because I am a skinny white chick and I happened to order what was pretty much a salad doesn't give you the right to assume anything about me. While it might not seem offensive to a lot of people, it really put me off the rest of the night.

    September 16, 2011 at 12:28 pm |
    • Your Waiter

      The server wasn't assuming the wrap was for you because you're a woman, they already knew where it went on the table because we use seat numbers. We announce the food as a way of ensuring it IS the item you ordered, and often we assist in running food to other servers tables and want to be sure you haven't moved from one seat to another, it does occur occasionally. Why take offense to something we do for your benefit?

      September 17, 2011 at 6:15 pm |
      • Steve

        I like your response. It sounds like Origa has some problem/issue with food to be that sensitive to the comment (that was misinterpreted anyway).

        September 18, 2011 at 2:28 pm |
    • lillllyyy

      you must be very ashamed of your body

      September 19, 2011 at 1:56 pm |
    • wyznhymer

      If there were only two of you at the table, and your husband had already been served his entree, who the heck else WOULD the wrap have been for?! Sheesh.

      October 12, 2011 at 8:08 am |
  32. recheckfacts

    I always tip 20% and I tip extra if they know my name, are friendly etc. Next time I come in I always get good service. You give a little, you get a little.

    September 16, 2011 at 12:00 pm |
    • lillllyyy

      i dont want to know ur name

      September 19, 2011 at 1:57 pm |
  33. timmy

    i put snot rokets in you water!lol!

    September 16, 2011 at 11:21 am |
  34. Lester

    You don't want the fish because the the Captain just had it and he's sick.

    September 16, 2011 at 11:16 am |
  35. Marlboro Man

    I respect hardworking servers and bartenders...tough job, man. Stupid airhead hostesses, on the other hand...

    September 16, 2011 at 10:55 am |
  36. Tom

    Get a life author! Feel sorry for the waiters that have to wait on you.

    September 16, 2011 at 10:31 am |
  37. Aeromechanic.

    These are the 5 worse things a waitor can say to you!?

    Grow and get a life.

    1)You're a snob
    2)I bet you're a PITA to wait on.

    September 16, 2011 at 9:20 am |
  38. Sarah

    We ate a popular local chinese restaurant and the waitress said to us, "I used to like chinese food before I started working here." Ruh roh.

    September 16, 2011 at 9:06 am |
    • Wow@Sarah

      You ate a whole restaurant? Was it a Man vs. Food challenge? ;)))

      September 16, 2011 at 9:11 am |
    • Sarah

      at a popular local restaurant.

      September 16, 2011 at 9:14 am |
  39. Olive

    Went with my husband and 4 years old son to Olive Garden. The kid doesn't eat almost anything, he is happy with only one bread stick. But the server had to say that we cannot share. I had a soup and a salad, and my husband had a separate meal with a separate salad and all. But still, the sharing was the problem for the waiter. He was also mad why there is no tip for him at the end. Hardly ever going back to that restaurant again.

    September 16, 2011 at 7:50 am |
    • MalaDee@Olive

      Are you freaking kidding me?! The waiter told you you can't share?! The next words outta my mouth are "I'd like to speak to your manager ... now." Fok the tip – the manager's getting an earful! And I'll get a new server as part of the fix, thankyouverymuch! They'll get, in cash, the tip the first server might have earned.

      Most places will charge you for splitting and I understand that. But to tell me I'm not "allowed" to do something that is that common in US restaurants is outrageous.

      September 16, 2011 at 7:59 am |
      • Your Waiter

        The only time any restaurant should charge a fee for sharing is when the item is split, in the kitchen and plated with an additional side of vegetables. At no time should there ever be a fee for splitting an ala carte item.

        As a server, I admit, we don't LIKE to see people share, it's basically a commission salaried position, but a professional server will not get upset over it. Just one question though, if you're not hungry, why are you in a restaurant?

        September 17, 2011 at 6:22 pm |
    • haOlive

      Was that the olive garden next to pine valley rainbow trailer park.I betyou you wore your black dress

      September 16, 2011 at 8:06 am |
      • Olive

        Yes, how did you know that??? Beside, what is your point?

        September 16, 2011 at 12:51 pm |
      • Relictus

        Awesome :)

        You win an internets.

        September 16, 2011 at 2:33 pm |
    • MIke

      Wow....you'll 'hardly ever' go back. That'll somewhat show them that your sort of displeased!

      September 16, 2011 at 8:41 am |
    • AmesIA

      I haven't returned to Olive Garden since 1995. After a 45 minute wait for our meal and empty water glasses our meals finally arrived...except the one for our young son. His patience was at its limit (as was ours). My son's mother went to the kitchen herself (no servers in the area) and they put up some chicken strips in 20 seconds. The manager, rather than being apologetic suggested that their level of service was the norm and rather than comping our meal gave us a coupon for 50% off a desert with the purchase of an entree at a future visit.

      September 16, 2011 at 11:44 am |
      • lillllyyy

        you drank the water at an olive garden??

        September 19, 2011 at 2:02 pm |
    • mitch

      Do you really think the waiter in a large chain restaurant gets to set these rules? you are essentially shooting the messenger. the guy who makes these idiotic policies never even steps foot in the restaurant, never mind has to look someone in the face and try to explain it to them with a straight face.

      note to author: stop eating in restaurants that cater to uneducated diner, and you will no longer be talked to like an uneducated person.

      September 17, 2011 at 8:06 pm |
  40. GetIt KillIt

    #1 Thing You Don't Want to Hear From Behind the Kitchen Door:
    "AAAAGGHHHHH! Get it! Kill it! Kill it now! Where'd it go? Find it! Kill it!"

    September 16, 2011 at 1:38 am |
    • RachelM

      You got my vote!

      September 18, 2011 at 11:03 am |
  41. JoeBoo

    .

    September 15, 2011 at 11:22 pm |
    • Howdy Dooty

      Huh, man of few words. I like you.

      September 16, 2011 at 8:02 am |
  42. gladi'mnotaserveranymore

    Reading these comments reminds me of the 80/20 rule. 20% of people are the type of people I would like to know. 80% are frakkin idiots!

    September 15, 2011 at 7:43 pm |
    • DinnerDemon

      I love the snobby diners. I have not been a waiter forever but it sometimes feels that way. For me it has been 11 years and I have waited on all of you, not all of YOU but each type of crazy diner and the ruder you are the more I love you. The money is good and I am going to keep doing it for a while anyway.

      I have worked in chains, outback,applebees,fridays. Dead end pubs with the cops in there every night, and two years of fine dining, so I can see most of you coming a mile away. Please whine and give me a sign early during your dining visit. I will peg you by the time I finish my required menu presentation and request your bev. or choice by then I got you. Maybe I make a quick trip to the back to scratch my b@lls and then grab your drinks by the top of your straws so the first thing you put in your mouth is sweat from a bad bad place.

      Or then you get your dinner boxed to go and you get the good ole saliva on your food. Sometimes I get several waiters to help garnish your food....hahahaha. Or if your dumb enough to make a second visit we have glasses that have been rinsed in toilet water, allowed to dry then served to you with a smile.

      I work in a fine dining steak house....one of the best. I have training in fine wines,cognacs,armagnacs, spirits and strict training in fine service. Usually I wait on about 1500 tables per year....my total is probably in the area 16000 tables I have served, and I have probably given "extra service" to at least 2000 of you...hahahaha. Most wait staff I know do these same things to you so keep it up.

      Keep this in mind the next time your so angry because its too hot/cold and the temp. is controlled 4 states away and I keep telling you how sorry I am that we can't call them and have them change it for you. Or your angry because the latino cook in the back of my fine french local can't read the damn words on the screen. Or your angry because I am required to use the same lines for every table per the management. Because they hire mystery shoppers and I will be fired if I don't spam you at the table. So please keep bringing you mood with you for dinner because I am basically bored and the only joy I get from this job is seeing how many gross things I can do to you.....LOL. You could say I need you.

      See you at dinner,
      Luv DinnerDemon

      September 15, 2011 at 10:05 pm |
      • ibrad

        I have your next tip...Don`t eat yellow snow you pillow bitting fudge packer!

        September 16, 2011 at 2:51 am |
      • Stew Pedassle@ibrad

        "pillow biting fudge packer" LMAO!!

        September 16, 2011 at 7:37 am |
      • Dude

        or I'm angry because you don't know the difference between "your" and "you're"...

        September 16, 2011 at 8:13 am |
      • Yes I do...

        Been a waitress for 20+ years...I see you coming too buddy so what comes aorund, goes around-

        September 16, 2011 at 3:44 pm |
      • Chuck

        I could never work at a corporate restaurant like that. The temperature controlled by somebody hundreds of miles away, Being told to plug certain items or your fired, and so on. I never eat at corporate places, and this is part of the reason why. I bet the staff all have to wear little uniforms, I bet the corporate people come in sometimes and treat everyone like crap or give fake smiles. When I go out to eat, I want to see the owner there, perhaps chatting with guest or helping out in some fashion. I want to see a clean restaurant with some of the owners personal affects decorating the place and not fake effects that come from decorators. I want the staff to wear things like black jeans and a dress shirt, not some stupid uniform with a name tag. The staff should be real people and appear to like their jobs, and not slaves forced to go by the corporate creed. Food should be unique yet comfortable. When I get all these things, I'll tip like its going out of style.

        September 17, 2011 at 7:57 am |
      • Your Waiter

        DinnerDemon, what is wrong with you? While, I admit, there are some problem guests we hope to never see again, IT IS NOT THE NORM that we endanger our guests or sully their food. I've often heard it said, in jest or frustration, but after 25 years in this career, I've NEVER seen it actually occur.

        Your skin isn't thick enough to handle this job.

        September 17, 2011 at 6:30 pm |
      • SushiSushi

        During culinary school, I heard some very gross stories. Unfortunately, there are people out there like DinnerDemon. One guy told a story about working in a breakfast diner that only served breakfast burritos. When a customer had the food sent back, the waiter would dump out the fixings and rub the tortilla in his bottom, then rewrap the burrito and serve it. I have many more of these stories. Needless to say, I NEVER complain at a restaurant, no matter what is wrong. I know what goes on behind the kitchen door.

        September 17, 2011 at 10:22 pm |
      • MS

        It's "you're", not "your". Go back to school.

        September 18, 2011 at 11:20 am |
      • lillllyyy

        and when u go out to eat the same thing happens to your food. ever heard of karma.your mother must have been a dirty ho to raise u like that.

        September 19, 2011 at 2:05 pm |
  43. Tammy

    How about this? When we were at a restaurant we noticed that one of the water glasses were dirty. I mentioned it to the waitress and she commented, "Oh, it was probably from my hands. The are always dirty." Yeah, she really said that.

    September 15, 2011 at 7:22 pm |
    • Bob

      How about this? In June, 6 of us went to Alaska. A waitress asked us if we needed anything before she went to the bathroom. We looked at each other and said...the check!

      September 15, 2011 at 8:45 pm |
      • Joy

        Because waitresses are supposed to have their bladders and kidneys surgically removed? And you guys don't ever whizz either, right, and when you do, it smells like perfume?

        Unless the place had no hot water and soap, you're the ones who were being idiotic. She was trying to save you from a delay, and let you know why there might be a delay.

        September 18, 2011 at 12:38 am |
  44. NannyG

    The thing that drives me the most crazy when out to eat is the server who brings the check without asking if I'd like coffee or dessert. You know... they clear the dinner plates and I think they'll be back with a dessert menu, or an offer of coffee... but, no! I am handed a totalled check instead! Honestly, I NEVER tip a server that does that, and I always tell them WHY I am not tipping them. They can get kind of cranky when it happens... telling me that they can add anything else I want on to the bill. But I think it is a rude and impatient thing to do. I think that my dining experience should be over when I decide it's over- not when the server does. By the way, I am not a "linger over dinner for 3 hours" person... I don't tie up a table all night. But I don't eat out as often as I would like to, and I want to enjoy it until I am ready to leave.

    September 15, 2011 at 6:36 pm |
    • Anon

      That is because (sometimes) it's the buss boy's job to serve dessert. The waiter's job is done with the main meal.

      September 16, 2011 at 7:30 am |
      • Aeromechanic.

        It is NEVER the buss boys job to serve anything.

        September 16, 2011 at 9:23 am |
      • Your Waiter

        The bus boy, or server's assistant serves bread and water, nothing else. Their help in invaluable to me, but I don't expect them to do my job. Dropping the check before offering dessert or coffee is NEVER acceptable.

        September 17, 2011 at 6:34 pm |
    • Howdy Dooty

      Jeezuz Krist on a skate board. NannyG, these people can't read your mind. Open that pie hole you have been feeding all night in the restaurant and ask for a freaking desert menu.

      September 16, 2011 at 8:00 am |
      • NannyG

        Howdy- I hear you.....but I'm saying the busboy clears the table and, the next time I see the server to ASK about dessert,or to be offered dessert, they have ALREADY totalled the check. I don't expect anyone to read my mind, but I expect to be given the option before having the check presented.

        September 18, 2011 at 11:26 am |
    • I Serve

      Many companies require a server to bring the check at a specific point in the meal. At our bar counter you get a check in front of you as soon as you order a drink and a new check in front of you every time you add something. It is good service to give you an early check. You can add anything to it any time. No one is trying to hurry you. Lighten up and stop sweating the small stuff. Not tipping someone because you didn't like the timing of the check drop is ridiculous.

      In this day and age with the internet a servers revenge will not end in the restaurant. All of you who pay with a card are warned. When you use petty excuses as reasons to not tip I have your name, and your card number. I can make you show me I.D. and then I've got your address and birthdate. Pay with cash and don't leave a decent tip around Christmas time and I'll get your license plate number and go from there. If unexplainable bad things are happening in your life it might be because revenge is too easy in this time.

      September 16, 2011 at 9:33 am |
      • TSRVT

        You are a petty moron.

        September 16, 2011 at 11:12 am |
      • Goes both ways

        I had a waiter jack with my credit card – cancelled it, didn't cost me anything.
        I didn't call management – I knew where he worked and what time they closed.
        This "be afraid cause I can get revenge" crap goes both ways dude.

        September 16, 2011 at 2:55 pm |
      • Your Waiter

        We, as servers, have a high stress job to do, that we've chosen to do and hopefully take some pride in doing well. Threatening a guest, in any manner, is not a good way to keep our favorite guest returning. We all abhor the cheap tippers, the overly finicky, the abusive and rude, but they are not the majority of our clientele. If they are, we need to look for another place to work. Learn the wines, the grammar and the etiquette of a more upscale environment and move up the ladder to fine dining.

        September 17, 2011 at 6:42 pm |
    • AmesIA

      Having dined in civilized countries I refuse to consider lingering in conversation at a fine restaurant to be bogarting a table. If I am in a chain, greasy spoon or fast food – sure – eat and get out. But if I am at a white table cloth chef run restaurant it is a night out with people I want to talk with and I won't be rushed. An Italian would be shocked if the wait staff or hosts in a restaurant rushed their guests in any way. Many restaurants in France plan on one seating per evening and close once all tables have been seated. Call me a snob if you like – I am a patient customer that appreciates good service, but if you treat me like I'm in McDonalds I will tip accordingly.

      September 16, 2011 at 11:56 am |
      • Sensible

        Service staff in those counties are paid livable wages by the restaurant, and therefore do not rely on tips for the bulk of their income. In the US, servers make as little as $2/hr. Your real beef should be with the owners, or the system... not the waiter who is losing potential income as you tell your bored friends about your brand new 2002 BMW 3-series.

        September 17, 2011 at 5:48 pm |
  45. Anonymous

    Hope this guys wife likes spit soup.

    September 15, 2011 at 6:35 pm |
    • Howdy Dooty

      Yeeehah! You got that right!

      September 16, 2011 at 7:45 am |
      • Butthead

        Heh-heh. He said dooty.

        September 16, 2011 at 7:49 am |
  46. Marjorie

    I don't like when servers come over to me while I'm eating, or have paused, and ask, usually pointing at my plate, "you done workin' on that?" Yikes. It hardly makes the dining experience feel relaxing to be told I've just been or still am 'working.' I was taught to place the relevant piece of flatware across the center of the plate when finished with the dish. The server, if properly taught, recognizes this indication and may remove the plate without interrupting.

    September 15, 2011 at 6:34 pm |
    • ProServer

      Not everyone was taught to "place flatware on the plate". I have had people who put actual trash on their plate and I ask them if they would like me to get that out of their way and they said, "No, I'm not done." You would think putting trash on your plate was an international sign of "I'm done" but people are fickle. And I always ask because I have had an old lady slap my hand before. So even if you're clearly done, I will ask you just to be sure.

      September 16, 2011 at 9:59 am |
      • Jo le pe pe@Pro Server

        "I have had an old lady slap my hand before." Really?? Or are you pulling out internet legs?

        September 16, 2011 at 10:01 am |
    • AmesIA

      That would only be worse if they said "Gonna eat that?"

      September 16, 2011 at 11:57 am |
  47. Adam

    Please walk into my restaurant and ask me to turn down the music!!!!!! Are you kidding me? These are things that create atmosphere in a place. They create character and keep clientele coming back. If you know what you want to eat and what you want to listen to, STAY AT HOME, and do it yourself. Go work in a restaurant before you think you know what you are talking about. Remember, it is not your house, it is a place of business, and unless you own it, you have no right to ask these things.

    September 15, 2011 at 6:12 pm |
    • katy Tampa, FLA

      A place of business I can forego in the future. You are there to PLEASE the customers. You my way or the highway is just unprofessional. We went to a restaurant Sat. night with four couples. The music was way too loud and the a/c was blasting. After having a drink, we all decided to go elsewhere.

      September 15, 2011 at 6:24 pm |
      • I Serve

        Right before you got there several people said " I love the music here and it's nice and cool. Waiter, can you make sure it's just this loud and just this cool every time all of us come here?"

        Why should any business turn down their music or ac for you? Why would they accommodate you and risk changing an atmosphere that others expect when they arrive?

        September 16, 2011 at 9:38 am |
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