Proper dining etiquette can save you from looking bad at a restaurant. Of course, everyone makes some gaffes or minor blunders but learning what to avoid at a restaurant will make life easier for your servers. It may also improve your reputation, especially during business lunch or dinner meetings.
Rude behavior to avoid at a restaurant
Always keep your phone quiet while eating. It isn’t polite to a host when you keep checking your messages or emails or taking your calls at the dinner table. The same goes for social media snappers who take pictures of their food and then complain that it has gone cold. Try to silence your phone to avoid distractions. Also, avoid placing your phone on the table because phones carry many germs.
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It’s essential to avoid blocking paths at a restaurant because it leads to crowding. Knowing your surroundings is advisable because servers and other patrons need space. Do not be that person blocking a full restaurant because it annoys waiters who are probably carrying a full tray.
Overstaying your welcome
Restaurants have to make money. So if you linger after you pay your bill, you’re interfering with someone’s business. Most restaurants have no standard time for how long you can stay. But experts recommend about two hours for four diners. This time may vary from place to place, but two or three hours should be enough.
Snapping your fingers for service
Is it rude to wave your hand to catch the waiter’s attention? Yes, because waiters usually pick up on your non-verbal cues. Usually, eye contact and a smile are enough to show your waiter that you need something. So avoid snapping your fingers or making wild gestures to call the waiter.
Yes, you are paying for the restaurant’s service. But remember, the servers have some other customers to attend to. So don’t call the waiter several times to your table for some random items such as sauce. Also, don’t order food from a different server if you’ve already ordered your food. It may lead to confusion and erroneous billing.
Avoid loud conversations, laughing, and banging your table at a public restaurant. It will distract other customers who are there to have an excellent time and maybe a private chat. You are also probably talking with your mouth full, which is simply bad manners.
Chatting up your waiter
Small conversations may seem polite, but avoid chatting up your waiter. Even if the restaurant seems empty, follow your server’s nonverbal cues regarding small chats. They may try to put up with you to be polite, but maybe you are holding them back from their job. Waiters have to juggle several tasks, and calling them for a chat can be distracting.
Trying to help your waiter
Some people can be downright annoying, but most people are pretty decent. So you may try to stack your plates or help the waiter unload their full tray. Your servers know how to balance dishes on their trays. But if you try to help them unload, you may upset this balance leading to a mess. The same thing happens if you stack your dishes after finishing. You probably don’t know how they stack the plates up for easy carrying.
Letting your young child wander
Many families dine out, but nothing irritates other diners like an out-of-control young child. So avoid bringing them to restaurants that generally do not cater to young children. On the other hand, most young children are naturally energetic, and you can always find many family-friendly restaurants where they can enjoy themselves.
Arguing over the bill
Most people don’t want to appear as freeloaders. But it’s always advisable to agree on who will pay the bill beforehand. You should also avoid shoving your credit cards or money in the waiter’s face. Finally, remember, even if you get poor restaurant service, it’s essential not to take it out on your waiter. Sometimes poor restaurant service doesn’t fall squarely on their shoulders. And if you tip, tip generously.