Next Time You Eat Out, Make Sure You're NOT Doing These 21 Things Restaurant Workers Hate

We recently asked restaurant workers of the BuzzFeed Community to tell us the "small" things customers do that they may not realize are rude. Here are the eye-opening results:

1."Don't stay after you have finished eating. If you stay and are not ordering more food/drink, it makes it so we cannot get another table and make money. If you are going camp out for hours, tip your server EXTRA."


Waitress serving food to three smiling people at a restaurant table
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2."Don’t pretend to have an allergy just because you don’t like something. The kitchen has strict protocols on allergy tickets, and those extra steps take TIME. It can make a big difference if it’s slammed."

"The number of people that admit after the fact (or I overhear) that 'x is gross; I just don’t like it' is wild. Allergies are serious, so I will jump through hoops to keep people safe. You’re wasting my time, my other tables' time, and the kitchen's time if you lie about an allergy. It’s damn rude."


3."For the love of all that is good and holy: Please do NOT proposition your servers for a date at any given moment of your patronage. We’re nice to you because it’s our job to be. I’m not flirting. I’m not interested. I’m here for work, not for romance. There’s a time and a place for that, and it’s NOT my work place."

"Just leave your phone number/social media handle on a napkin like folks used to. Don’t put me on the spot as you’re paying out on my handheld, and then leave me $0 because I ~politely~ tell you I’m not interested. And I shouldn’t have to wear a fake ring to avoid this either."


Elegant table setting for a formal meal with clean plates, wine glasses, and cutlery on a white linen tablecloth
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4."Former restaurant worker here. A small thing that customers may not realize is rude is whenever another customer asks me something when they see that I am already working with a separate customer. I’m not the only employee; please either wait your turn to flag me down or talk to someone else."


5."Taking a long time to order their meal. For instance, when you've gone to the table three times to see if they're ready to order, and they tell you they haven't even looked at the menu. On a busy Saturday night, this could put us behind as reservations are timed out."

"Also, if you don't know what you want to order but tell the server you are, then you have them stand there as you casually look at the menu. Talk it over with the table then ask the server to come over when you're ready to order."

—34, New York

Gourmet plated meal with seasoned scallops, asparagus, and risotto, garnished with tomato on a wooden table
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6."Ignoring the operating hours. If we open at 12 p.m., please don’t try to come in at 11:45 a.m., and if we close at 10 p.m., please don’t stay until 11 p.m."

—36, California

"Coming in shortly before closing. Anything less than 15 minutes before closing is incredibly inconsiderate. The kitchen has likely already started packing up, the servers and bartenders are ready to go home, and you coming in that late will ruin our day. And for the love of God, at least have the intelligence and understanding of what you’re doing. If the host says, 'Yes, I can seat you but we close in five minutes' the correct response is NOT, 'OMG perfect! We made it just in time!' We already hated you when you walked in; don’t make it worse."


7."Don't ask for separate checks at the very end of the meal when your server has likely already put everything on one bill and printed it out. It's best to ask right upfront before you've even ordered to have separate checks, so your server is prepared and doesn't have to go back and fix it."


Group of customers handing credit cards to a server holding a card reader
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8."Also, it's not always helpful when guests stack their dishes. I appreciate you trying to be helpful, but every server has their own method of stacking dishes, and when guests try to do it for me, it usually just results in more work for me."

"I recommend either only stacking like dishes with like, or just making sure everything is easy for the server to reach."


9."You’d think this would be self-evident, but many people don’t know they have to clear a spot to put their food when the waiter is standing there with their hands full. I will literally wait there with four plates in my hands and nowhere to put them, and all six adults at the table will stare blankly at me. I’ve had to ask several grown adults after an awkward amount of time, 'Can you clear a space so I can put this down?'"

"Even better is when they see me arrive with several large platters and all move their phones about an inch closer to them to 'make space' for the three square feet of food I’m carrying."


Waiter serving food to customers at a restaurant table
Maskot / Getty Images/Maskot

10."Eye contact and tone — this may not seem like the biggest thing, but it really downs your server and marks you out to them as 'inconsiderate.' If you are looking down at your phone while ordering (this doesn’t usually count if the menu is digital) or speaking in a rude or mocking tone, you will immediately find your server reacting less 'happy.'"

"My suggestion: Always look at the server or menu while ordering, and make sure you aren’t being careless with your tone. You will find that staff and servers will respond better if you do these, and this will also most likely lighten your mood, too. Happy eating!"

—27, Georgia

11."If the place is busy and your server tries to do the walk away, STOP TALKING. We have other tables full of people who are also waiting for their dinner. Your 10-minute story about the increase in the cost of frozen French fries does not [mean anything to us] when we have a six-top with food in the window with a good chance we’ll make at least $20 off that table. Other people exist, and we have to move to keep everyone happy."

"Friendly small talk? Awesome. Longer than two minutes when the place is packed, and I’ve already edged away from the table twice? You guessed it, SHUT UP."


Group of people socializing at a bar
Thomas Barwick / Getty Images

12."I find it completely tacky when customers rearrange the furniture, mess with the blinds, lights, etc. It's not your house, so if you would like something moved or changed, you should ask. I especially hate it when people move around tables and chairs. I wonder how these people act when they go to a friend's house, if they even have any friends."

—45, Georgia

13."Former server here. It's been said time and time again in the kitchens of our restaurants: Clean up after yourselves, and be kind! No one wants to clean up confetti from Little Timmy's baby shower dinner that no one even knew was occurring."


Three children sitting at a table, enjoying slices of pizza together
Seventyfour / Getty Images

14."Do NOT reach for something out of a server or food runner’s hand or tray! NO NO! NO! If I would have a free hand, I’d want to have slapped people trying. We have things balanced a certain way on a tray; you trying to 'help' may cause the entire tray to tip over."

"If it’s several plates being carried, they may be balanced, up to four on an arm, same thing. Not to mention, some plates may be hot, even on one side, and someone will get burnt!"


15."Stop standing in the middle of the restaurant holding a conversation and blocking servers or bussers from doing their job. Learn to look around before getting up from your chair or booth before you knock the tray from the server's hands!"


Group of people socializing at a bar with a bartender serving drinks
Dglimages / Getty Images / iStockphoto

16."Interrupting my greet. When I approach the table, please refrain from trying to take the lead. I have a specific greeting that I am obligated to say, and you interrupting me and asking your guests what drinks they want, etc., throws off the entire groove because I STILL HAVE TO HIT ALL OF THOSE POINTS. This is typically mandated by the restaurant, and we are graded on it. Especially in an upscale place, please trust the process and allow me to introduce myself and ask about any water preferences, allergies, etc., before pretending you are the server."

"I swear that I will ask about drinks after I get the necessary greeting out of the way."

—29, Texas

17."I’ve worked as a server for almost seven years or so, and one thing people do that drive me absolutely nuts is shaking the glass they’re drinking out of in the air to signal they need a refill, almost always followed by the loud 'excuse me' or a second shake with the glass if you don’t see them the first time or you’re unable to acknowledge them due to being at another table helping other customers."

"I’ve always this was just as rude as snapping your fingers in the air at us."

—26, Michigan

Person holding a glass of water at a restaurant table with food and blurred background
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18."When people put the money on the counter. They should hand it to the worker."

—46, Texas

19."Please don’t come to the restaurant and immediately ask to be seated before the rest of your party arrives! You’re holding up a table, so a server may miss out on making money. I’ve had guests waiting for friends to arrive so they could all order together, only to find out said friends aren’t coming — 30 minutes later."

"Worse yet, your party of six took up a larger table or maybe multiple tables, and it then shrunk into a party of three. Unless the other members of your party are in the parking lot, wait for a table."

—39, Florida

Group of people dining at a table with various dishes, sharing a meal together
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20."If you're sat at a table, don't get up and move to another table because you aren't happy there. ASK. I've had tables of two people move to a table for six, and I've had to make them move back because, guess what, we have a table of six people booked on that table."

"This is super frustrating because on busy shifts, tables are allocated to specific bookings and to help section rotation."


And finally...

21."If you cannot control your kids, leave them at home. No one wants to hear kids playing on their tablets or screaming for whatever reason. Also, if your child makes a mess, clean it up! As servers, we are too busy to greet, serve, get drinks, have a winning personality…and there are times when we don’t have a busser!"


Toddler crying while sitting at a table in a restaurant
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WOW. We want to hear from other food service workers, too. If you work at a fast-food restaurant, bar, or coffee shop, what are some "small" things customers do that are actually rude? Let us know in the comments below.

Note: Some responses have been edited for length and/or clarity.