When it comes to being a respectful restaurant customer, there is a lot to keep in mind. You’ll want to arrive on time for your reservation, practice your best table manners and, of course, tip appropriately. But perhaps the most important thing you can do is be nice to your server. And while “please” and “thank you” are always a must, there are a few requests to avoid. We scoured the internet and etiquette books to find the four questions you should never ask your server. Read on to find out which queries to keep to yourself.
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Sure, you could ask that question, but you might not get an honest answer. “Somewhere in the back of every server’s mind is their control average,” Daniel Libersona former server, told Washingtonian. “At the end of the day, upselling is key – it’s how we pay our rent.”
Translation: if you ask your server for their favorite dish, they may direct you to some of the more expensive options on the menu. That doesn’t mean they are dishonest. Although they really like both steak and burger, steak might have the most success. If you’re really interested in picking out the most creative or delicious item, do some research ahead of time for the restaurant’s specialties or their most popular dishes (a quick scan on Yelp should do the trick).
So this one is only true in certain situations. If you are given the wrong dish or something inedible, you have every right to send it back and have it removed from the bill. However, you should never send something back just because you don’t like it and there’s nothing wrong with the food.
“If a customer changes their mind after receiving a meal, it is essential to be upfront with the server and specific about exactly what they did not like, as the item description may need to -may be modified in the future”, Eric Marxco-owner of The Wayfarer, said USA today. Noting that something is too salty or too cold is okay. Complaining that you don’t like a seasoning mix is not.
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You probably already knew asking for this was frustrating, but we’re here to tell you to ignore it forever. “Be sure to speak with your server to see if the bill can be split,” Liz Bryant, president and founder of Liz Bryant Business Etiquette in Richmond, Va., told Apartment Therapy. “Some restaurants offer multiple vouchers for a table, some don’t.”
If you think splitting the bill might be a problem for your group, Bryant recommends calling ahead to ask what’s allowed. You can also choose a designated person to pay or bring money. In the event that you decide to split, make sure your calculations add up so your server receives the appropriate tip. You’d be surprised how often bad arithmetic ends up stiffening the staff.
Like splitting the bill, this question can be extremely annoying to your server, not to mention inappropriate. Just because they’re nice doesn’t mean they want to go on a date. For The Takeout, The Salty Waitress notes that you should ask yourself a few questions before leaving your number on a napkin: “What motivates you to ask her out in the first place? How much do you know about her? Has she shown anything (Note: being polite is not an indication of sexual desire.) If it’s just a passing physical attraction to her, there are plenty of pretty fish in the sea, including including the ones that don’t work at your usual lunch spot.”
Instead of dropping your numbers, leave something every waiter will appreciate: a good tip.
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