If you have ever received less-than-quality service at a restaurant or other eatery, did you take a moment to consider that perhaps you may have had something to do with it? Of course it is true that some servers may not be as good as others at their job, but it is also possible that you actually influenced the service you received. Here are some key things to keep in mind that may influence your future restaurant experiences for the better.
Use body language and gestures to send signals to your server. Rather than frequently interrupting your meal, your server will most likely try to observe and read your body language and other gestures to see if you need anything and to ensure that you are content. For example, if you continue to hold and look at your menu after you have decided on a meal, most servers will assume that you have not yet decided and that you still need more time. They will probably wait to approach you, as to not make you feel rushed. Keeping this in mind, be sure to close your menu and set it down on the table in front of you when you are ready to order. Most likely, your server will take note of this and come right over to take your order.
There are other ways to use body language and gestures to signal to your server as well. If you need a refill of your beverage, place your glass toward the edge of the table so your server is more likely to spot it. If you are finished with your meal and would like your check, place your eating utensils down on the table and push your place away a bit. If you have an issue with your food, put your utensils down and look around for your server. Chances are, they will see you looking for them and will approach as soon as possible.
Make all of your requests at one time. If possible, ask for everything you need at once: condiments, drink refills, utensils, etc. The best time for this is either when you order your meal or when you first receive your meal. If you ask for something new every time your server comes back to your table, he or she will eventually have to put your requests on hold to tend to other customers. Therefore, if you want everything in a timely manner, and you’d like for your server to keep tending to your table, try to make all of your requests at one time.
Don’t forget your manners. Treat your server the way you would like to be treated if the roles were reversed. One of the major complaints among servers is that they are treated like servants, and they are certainly not servants. Do not whistle or snap at your server, refer to your server by their first name if that is how they introduce themselves, and always remember to say “please” and “thank you” when speaking to your server.
Don’t make jokes about docking from your server’s tip. Many people think that they are being funny when they openly state that they are going to dock from a server’s tip, but I can assure you that your server does not find working for very little money humorous in any way. In addition, if they cannot tell whether or not you are joking, they may feel that they shouldn’t even waste their time on your table anymore. Afterall, why give priority to a table that doesn’t appreciate it and may not tip anything at all?
Remain calm and objective if you need to make a complaint. You should feel free to make a complaint if you have a real issue with your food or service, but keep in mind that there are better and worse ways to do this. For example, do not point a finger at anyone for a mistake unless you are 100% certain that it was their fault, which is quite hard to be sure of in a restaurant or other eatery. If you receive your food and it is cold, your server is not necessarily the one to blame. There are other people who may have come into play in this situation, such as the cook or the food runner. Rather than becoming angry and upset about the issue, try to remain as calm and objective as possible. Calmly and clearly explain the issue, and perhaps a desired solution, to your server or a manger. Remember, the more polite you are with the staff, the more likely they are to respect you and work with you.
After reading through these tips, hopefully you can see and understand that much of your dining-out experience is actually in your control. A little kindness goes a long way. Keep these tips in mind the next time you dine out, and take note of how much better and more enjoyable your experience is!